Unmanned Shop

Imagine walking into a stationery store, buying and making payments all this without a shopkeeper. This may sound strange, but an MBA student has implemented this model of 'trust' and 'good faith' to start a business venture, a shop that sells pens but is not manned by anyone.

Located in a room on the fourth floor of a 11 storeyed hostel building, the venture was started by Narayanan Palani, a student of executive MBA programme at the K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (SIMSR), last month.

"When I got selected for the MBA programme, I knew I wanted to do something different. It was while learning concepts like business ethics and entrepreneurship that I decided to implement principles of trust and faith in business. I came up with the idea of starting a small shop without a shopkeeper that sells pens on trial basis before expanding it. The aim is to make students understand the values of truth and honesty and promote the concept of 'swadeshi' among them," said Palani, who has named his venture as 'Gandhigiri shop'. And true to its name, the shop will sell only 'swadeshi' or Indian-made products.

"No one is watching whether you are paying or not. But whenever you pay the exact amount, you are increasing the trust in you. You are finding Gandhi in you," reads the motto of the venture.

Customers or students can walk into the room anytime, pick up a pen and drop Rs 10 in the payment box, which mentions the amount to be paid. "This shop runs by zero human intervention and no one monitors the payment. Yet no one has stolen any product, which goes on to display honesty, something that may not be seen even in highly manned shops," he said.

Palani said while it has only been a month-and-a-half since its launch, the shop is quite 'popular' among the students. "We end up selling two packs, of 10 pens each, weekly. However, during exams, the two packs get sold within two days," he said.

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