The Law of Reciprocity

There were many evening eateries in that small lane but one of them was always overcrowded. This puzzled Sunil, being an entrepreneur himself he was very curious to know the secret behind it.

For next the few days in the evenings he just stood in front of that eatery and started to observe the happenings keenly. He couldn’t make out anything other than seeing the constant flow of customers in and out of that small eatery.

He then, reached out to some of its customers and asked them why they prefer that  eatery?

He got many responses such as

I like it.

I don’t know.

I have been doing this for a long time.

It gives me satisfaction.

Despite getting several responses still he couldn’t make out anything meaningful. As the next step he tasted the food stuff in all the eateries in that lane only to find out that there wasn’t any big difference in the taste and quality – all were of same standard including that of the overcrowded eatery.

Finally, he decided to ask that overcrowded eatery’s business owner himself the secret.

At about 11.00 p.m. one night ,he could see the Owner of that eatery coming out of the eatery closing the business for that day. 

He rushed, introduced himself and directly asked him – What is the secret of your success ? That business owner saw a real urge in Sunil’s eye to succeed. He liked his straight approach and decided to help him.

He said ” If you really want to know my secret, please meet at the railway station there at the end of this lane tomorrow morning any time between 7.30 and 9.00a.m.

Sunil thanked as the business owner left that place.

Next day Sunil reached that Railway station at seven in the morning and waited patiently. At 7.25 a.m. he could see the business owner there with a load of newspapers next to him standing at the entrance of that railway station.

As Sunil approached, he told him to stand at a distance and observe what he was doing.

As the people were coming out of the Railway Station, the business owner wished them a good day and gave the newspaper.

Sunil observing him and took the below notes.

1. He was punctual.

2. He gives people, the newspaper free of charge.

3. He greets everyone with smiles, which looked genuine.

4. There was happiness in the face of people who received the newspaper.

5. He seems to understand the people’
    preference , for some people he gave different newspapers.

6. There was always a smile in his face.

7. Most of his evening customers received his greetings and the newspaper.

Sharp at 9.30 am that business owner finished his newspaper distribution and signalled Sunil to come. They sat under a shady tree nearby . Sunil shared his observations.

The business owner reviewed it and started to talk  ” What I did now is based on what the Social Psychologists call as The Law of Reciprocity .

This law basically says that if someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. And from my experience, I have seen most of the time, such reciprocal gesture is far more generous than the original good deed.

This is the Secret. I do some good thing for my customers as they go to their work everyday in the morning and in the evening, they reciprocate by visiting my eatery giving me business” he concluded.

Sunil understood that secret well, and he thanked the business owner for sharing it. As he prepared himself to take leave, the business owner gave him a newspaper with all smiles.

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