Monday, December 4, 2023

Herd mentality

We humans are fallible. Sometimes, we go with the wind and sometimes wind takes us. Like many other animal species, we humans tend to be gregarious; we like to be where other humans are. We like to be in the company of others, almost everywhere. If you go to a restaurant with your friends or family and find that you are the only customers, the chances are that you might leave the place telling yourself it must be deserted for a reason. Maybe the food isn’t good or the service is bad, or the price perhaps is too high or something else. If on the other hand, the restaurant is packed to capacity, we feel reassured and try to get a table at any cost, even if it means settling for one on the passage to the hall or near the fuming humid pantry. And never mind if the food turns out to be not particularly good, and the service mediocre, and prices steep. At least the place is very popular, isn’t it? It must have something going for it, otherwise why would so many people frequent it. The same is true about almost everything, the schools we choose to study, the brands we wear, the hotels we visit, the holiday destinations we go to. We follow examples out of others. If a lot of people send their wards to that school, go to that destination for a holiday, wear that kind of dress, then that’s an endorsement for us to follow suit. We are influenced by ads and propaganda so we don’t feel necessary to know the details and examine the consequences. Sometimes the propaganda is so strong that we feel it blasphemous to give it a repeat thought. And those advertising agencies have a huge understanding of our mind, they know our tastes, they feel our pulse, they manipulate our intrinsic weakness to their best benefit and commercial gain. There is no wrong as long as the brand they endorse is good to health of the society and has some constructional value for the society. Simply saying we are an institution or a brand, who serves the best cuisine, who did the catering at that grand two-day party of such and such claiming our recipes are unique and exotic and are famous in every nook and corner of the population or that we are the best event management company/organization, etc. What is wrong is that boasting without actually passing any quality standard tests. As consumers we need to prepare a balance sheet and audit to see whether the events which were held under this auspicious organization did gain us some profit or we were at loss. We need to cross check the claims laid by these marketing agencies as we are qualified enough to do the sums of how much we invested in the feast and how much we gained. These marketing agencies have strong organizations backing them which we should understandably keep vigil of, for they may be fishing in troubled waters. As kids we were fond of new school dresses but once we wore the new school dress, we were never allowed to leave studies then after. Today our people are all praise for KFC, McDonald’s, Dominos. They maintain quality through and through in all the places they operate at, because they understand the demand and deliver accordingly and use brains. We here have a routine menu with no innovation and timely proper blending according to new market demands. We can use these learned people and others too for preparing some world class dishes that will invite world attention and give us recognition through the art and skill we are good at. Here what someone does, we follow that. Take the night food cart business, for example. Almost every food cart sellers are selling chow, momo, chickens, etc. In fact this herd mentality will rot us and will consume us like it does today. We are all programmed to follow a herd mentality. Sadly we are not fed up of tried, tested and failed recipes.