Last night, at the stroke of midnight, the ‘one nation, one tax – GST’ regime was introduced in India. Based on my past mistakes (= experiences) of gaining knowledge about government policies, I learned only the basics of GST. This is because from experience, I knew, learning too much would result in unnecessary arguments/high blood pressure as service providers would do as they please. And how things unfolded during the course of the first day of GST implementation would somewhat prove my point.
I made three billed purchases during the course of the day.
1. Breakfast: I was meeting a very good friend after 2 years. We always end up meeting on days of historical significance (or blunder?!). Last time we met, Delhi was voting to give Aam Aadmi Party an overwhelming majority to form government in the state, and today, it was the first day of GST coming into effect.
We met for breakfast at American Diner, Indian Habitat Center, New Delhi. The waiter messed up our order (leaving us listening to the rumbling of our empty stomach), thus spoiling our mood early in the morning. When we were presented with the following bill:
I noticed two things were wrong: we were not billed for our entire order and there was a service charge (which was supposedly subsumed under the GST).
As I uttered “something is wrong with the bill”, the waiter said that the food was on the house as they botched up. We were only charged for our coffee. Now, in this scenario, I chose to see the bigger picture and let the service charge thing slide. Bigger picture being, they TRIED to salvage the situation without being asked.
I’m not returning to American Diner anytime soon. Waiving off bill does not turn my experience into a better one. I don’t like to sit hungry for an hour in the morning. The complain was never for free food. And I couldn’t gauge the impact of GST on the bill. It was more less same as it used to be for coffee.
2. Munching stop: I made my next purchase at Khadiline (for papad and moisturizer). It was not as dramatic as the previous one. They had not figured out/implemented GST as of yet, and I paid as per the MRP. One strange thing though was that they didn’t accept card, and I had to pay cash. The explanation was fuzzy involving keywords such as “closing” and “auditing”. They did give a bill. Again, no impact of GST was felt.
3. Cab Fare: At last, I ordered a cab to head home. The cab fare was same as earlier – the flat carpool rate for a certain distance.
The first bill has its comic and moral side. If I have to prove my point before service providers, I should not only understand the information on the following site, but also save relevant screenshots:
And as Plan A, of the essential ‘luxury’ items like soaps to sanitary pads, I had bought a packet or so extra to last till the speculative environment settles down.
Do you know of any better or reliable source to understand GST? How was your experience on the first day?