I have started my gardening after shifting to Mysore. I was looking for raw materials like cow-dung and sugarcane bagasse. I will write about my gardening experiments separately but restrict this post to my attempts at procuring sugarcane bagasse. I went to a sugarcane juice vendor who said somebody had already taken it and I could come the next day; he would keep it for me. Accordingly I went the next day and he had a cement bag of bagasse. I took it and asked him what he was expecting for the same. He answered that I could give him whatever I was giving earlier. I could not elicit a figure from him and finally gave him Rs 5 which was what I was paying to the vendor at Bangalore. At this point he seem to be "ashamed" to receive such a low amount. Finally he said that the other person (who takes it to feed his buffaloes) pays Rs 20 independent of the quantity! So finally I handed him Rs 15 (which was the change I had) but with some reservations in my mind. Somehow it became a business transaction without goodwill and my mind was already thinking of looking up an alternate source. Perhaps he did have a customer who paid him Rs 20; I had no means to verify but I felt he was overcharging me for what is essentially a waste product of his main business - vending sugarcane juice.
I always felt that whoever is recycling waste is doing a service to the society and hence should be encouraged. We did the same with my old newspapers. We always gave away freely to the raddiwala who came by since I felt that we are paying to read the news content of the newspaper. If the raddiwala can make living out of it we should not cut into his meager profits. But this had the side effect that each raddiwala wanted newspapers to be exclusively reserved for himself while we did not have any preferences! This created a goodwill that even now when we visit our old house if a raddiwala is passing by he recognizes and has a conversation.
Now back to the sugarcane bagasse story...
I located another vendor and asked him about the bagasse. He said he just puts it in the vacant site behind and whoever is interested can pick it up. I handed him a bag and requested him to fill it up which I would pick up in the evening. When I went in the evening he pointed to the bag and was about to leave. When I tried to pay him he refused and rode off on his two wheeler! So I was left standing there with a sense of gratitude or goodwill and respect for this person.
Now from an economics point of view it seems foolish on his part to not seize this "business opportunity" to create monetary value out of his waste. But in terms of human values and goodwill generate I feel he has gained a lot more.