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‘Stop donating. Start buying.’

Shivaji Dasgupta, Managing Director, Inexgro Brand Advisory, writes why people should start believing that buying goods and services is a smarter form of donation

Shivaji Dasgupta

Most folks with means and intent have donated handsomely to the corona cause and helped improve the lives of those seriously affected. While this pattern must continue, it is now important to vigorously renew the consumption of goods and services halted by the crisis. This will empower the economy and secure livelihoods, which in turn make the future more comfortable for all.

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According to an XLRI assessment, more than 30% of India’s white collar workforce could be at risk adding up to a staggering 20 million people. Which also means that more than half of this community are still enjoying the status quo driven largely by the performance of the sectors and the policies of their employers. Most remarkably, many organisations like Asian Paints and more recently ICICI Bank have actually issued increments while others have quietly slipped in their promised bonuses. This privileged and fortunate set of people have a definite responsibility to their fellows who are affected and indeed the large sections of blue collar workers whose wages depend squarely on the continued generation of demand. Instead of simply saving selfishly, they must start spending, not recklessly of course, but reasonably selflessly, goaded by their employers.

The tourism sector is badly affected in India and has already lost more than Rs 10 lakh crore with no definite end in sight. Many hotel chains are depending desperately on the ‘Drive’ segment to bail them out, especially in states like Rajasthan where the health situation is considerably better. Which is exactly why WFH must extend to ‘Work From Holiday’, where the parents continue their online engagement and the children can enjoy the swimming pool, the family uniting several times during the day. Even Business centres can be rejigged to create these workstations and HR departments can offer a newer version of LTA to encourage this pattern wherever the pandemic situation permits. If this becomes a disruptive pattern, the tourism sector can be enthused and valuable jobs can be saved.

Equally traumatised by the events is the F&B sector, especially restaurants, and the home delivery model is yearning for a lifeline. Once again, those not affected must start celebrating again, within the restrictions of course. This means regular outsourced meals and uniting with friends on birthdays and anniversaries, shared food ordered individually from Swiggy, which is easy logistics at this point. Even offices must encourage the distribution of goodies to employee homes, especially during calendared lunch meetings, while the milestones must be similarly acknowledged. Equally, aided by licensed delivery, liquor is now easily accessible and it is unnecessary to stick to Coca Cola, thank goodness for that.  If you like gourmet pork and organic avocados, then please go ahead and make your dish and do not forget to motivate others by sharing on Instagram. Some may think it is in poor taste but believe me, the revenues and jobs matter a lot more than decadent posturing.

Laptops and other online working accessories are now much in demand, courtesy home school and office, but you must not sacrifice your indulgent electronics as well. So, do go ahead and purchase that HD TV, which will make Sushmita Sen look even more appealing in Arya Season 2 and compensate for missing out watching the IPL live. If a new car is what you dearly seek and are suitably funded, then follow your muse and there can be no reason to stop looking fashionable. Zoom parties appreciate the glamour quotient and the discounts are so alluring that your wardrobes can be reconstructed. It is also a great time to upgrade your health and term insurance policies while enrolling in a vast host of online tutorials that will develop your already honed skills. If your home needs upgrading, the turnaround times for great furniture are now quite spectacular while the coat of paint prior to Diwali should not be missed. In every case, taking the proper precautions are compulsory and obviously, nobody's health must be endangered.

The simple point I wish to make is that transactional consumption is way more important than munificent donation, at this stage of our lives. In each of the instances mentioned earlier, a steady pattern of purchases will save jobs, rescue families and indeed stabilise organisations. Not just for today but from a sustainable long-term perspective, which will render yeoman service to shaky economies. So if you are lucky to belong to the 70% not tangibly affected by the virus shakeout then please, for heaven’s sake, divert a reasonable part of your earnings to indulgent and conspicuous consumptions. Then equally proudly, flaunt such acquisitions on social media or WOM if that is your style, the moralistic dissidence of naysayers do not matter as it will encourage others to take a plunge. Going for a holiday, buying a phone, ordering a single malt, installing a brand new study table and so much more,

While charitable donations come across as sincere empathy, their impact is short term and not future building. You must continue doing so but equally start believing that buying goods and services is a smarter form of donation, which helps organisations look after people in a long-term view as opposed to one-off impact. To save the poor it's time to act rich and this twain does finally meet.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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