Markets and incentives

I am an ardent hater of shopping in general and hence, an ardent fan of Bigbasket.com. Due to limited knowledge, patience, etc for sight seeing, Karthik and I went into the central market at Budapest which was on our walking radar. I was very happy to find vegetables that I never find in Barcelona and was contemplating smuggling a few of them back on my RyanAir flight, but eventually didn’t. But, I noticed something interesting. The shops at the entrance of the market had lousy veggies while the ones bang in the middle had way better (fresher and more variety) stock, but surprisingly, the fresher vegetables were marginally cheaper. After some thought I realised that the market was incentivising people for making the extra effort in going deeper into the market by offering them a discount.

Today, I want to talk about an entirely different market. The arranged marriage market. I came across this video –

. I couldn’t make up my mind about what was worse – a job interview or an arranged marriage interview. Nevertheless, being in the market sucks, especially if you’ve always hated shopping and always secretly prayed that you’d fall in love with the first thing you laid your eyes upon in the store. But, why aren’t markets designed to get you out at the earliest? They keep wanting you to stay on while your chances of succeeding only get slimmer until the priest says “Moovath varshad mudukruge yell sigthare hudugeeru, adu Engineeru alla avanu” (How can a 30 yr old grandpa (oldie) find a bride, and that too he’s not even an engineer).

How many times have you applied for jobs on Linkedin and received a response in a week or two (actually, do you even get a response??!!). But in the hope of getting one you stay on. There are thousands if not millions of people on shaadi.com and all, who’ve been on it for years with very little success. This is not because these people are ugly or dumb, it’s simply because this market is not designed to get you out quickly. They lack efficiency, they deliver poor customer service and they secretly want you to stay on forever. Even if the market conjures negative feedback, so be it but I’d like to get it over with like most people who’re in the market today. Even if you’re a shop-oholic, you’re bound to get tired after a 100 chow-chow baths!

If you think you can escape the wrath of trying to land a job by flying solo, being an entrepreneur and if all goes well, you could have far higher returns (both satisfaction and monetary wise). However, the same rule may not apply to being single, unless you are Barney Stinson (but really, how long can you possibly pull that off?!). So, if we’re all bound to be stuck in a market because we need networking for dummies or picking up women on the fly training, I’d want to create this market that thrives on getting us out of it at the earliest but having made got the best while in it. Sounds too optimistic, but doable. You’ll see.

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