An innovative bribe!

Some years back, the company I worked with represented a manufacturer of industrial automation systems. A reputed private sector company was extremely keen to buy 48 units of one of our newly introduced products, but since the product was being used for the first time in India, they decided to place a trial order for 2 units, and buy the remaining 46 units only after the first 2 units had worked well for a few months. All terms of the trial order had been finalised over a day-long meeting at the customer’s factory, and we were requested to return the next day to collect the Purchase Order and to discuss the pre-installation preparations.

As we drove back to our hotel, the manufacturer’s Sales Director told me he was certain that the Facilities Manager expected a kickback. When I pointed out that the Facilities Manager had not asked us for a kickback even though there had been numerous occasions when he had been alone with us, he insisted it was very clear from the Facilities Manager’s body language that he expected a kickback. In any case, the Sales Director insisted that we should leave no stone unturned to ensure that we finally got the order for the remaining 46 units. He took pains to assure me that the 2% kickback would be borne entirely by his company. When I continued to express my opposition, he said that he would handle the matter himself.

The next day, soon after we entered the Facilities Manager’s room, the following conversation took place:
Sales Director: Sir, I am sorry we did not discuss earlier about your cut.
Facilities Manager: How much can you offer?
Sales Director: 2% on the ex-factory price.
Facilities Manager: That’s too little. Make it 10%.
Sales Director: 5% is the maximum.
Facilities Manager: Make it 7.5%.
Sales Director: Sir, 6%, no more.
Facilities Manager: OK. There’s no need for any ‘cut’. However, thank you very much for the 6% additional discount! We will prepare the Purchase Order accordingly.

The Facilities Manager had handled the situation extremely well. He had demonstrated that honesty and street-smartness can go hand in hand!


12 thoughts on “An innovative bribe!

  1. Maybe the Facilities Manager actually gave “signals” to the Sales Manager about wanting a bribe just so that he could get a good discount!

  2. Person who wants to be honest is denied justice. If you want justice you have to do so called cheating. We have to break this jinx in society.

  3. Congratulations on an inspiring blog. I think such thinking and inspiration is an urgent need, if India is to achieve the greatness the country is capable of. People like you give India reason for hope.

  4. Great initiative! India has, for too long, learnt to live with and accept corruption as an unavoidable part of our daily routines. Starting from bribery at the Dairy department to “secure” milk cards right upto being over charged at liquor outlets ….no walk of life in India is spared and we as a nation don’t even feel the need to speak up / act. Initiatives of well meaning individuals can be the catalyst for change that our country so badly needs. The thought should shift from “Why should I?” to “Why shouldn’t I?”!!

  5. Would have appreciated if the representative rejected the sale. But it is not the case, they went ahead with the sale and then complain through the social media

  6. LOL. In all seriousness, I sometimes wonder if corruption is the problem or the fact that we are not a nation of law

  7. The case is very rare & unique. In my career, I have seen people have made their future taking bribe or favoring supply established big businesses of their own. The clout is so strong even the powerful employer is not able to sack the employee.

  8. Pingback: Honest under all circumstances? | Proactive Indian

  9. Pingback: No bribe, no business! | Proactive Indian

  10. Pingback: Honesty | Proactive Indian

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