Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Say It Isn't So, Haagen Dazs!

Haagen Dasz is one of the creamiest ice-creams in the world (thanks to its high butterfat content!!) With flavors such as almond hazelnut swirl, baileys irish cream, butter pecan, chocolate peanut butter, cookies & cream, macadamia nut brittle etc. they have you salivating across their stores.

It’s a super-premium brand, a couple of scoops of which can set you back by a few hundred rupees but every single bite you take will be worth your money. I love Haagen Dasz ice-cream. Therefore, I was shocked to read that Indians were not allowed at their first retail store in Delhi!!!!!

The store in Saket, New Delhi put up a sign saying : “Exclusive Preview only for International Travelers. Access restricted only to holders of international passports.”

This is for real, people. And it’s shocking not to mention outrageous. I wonder which idiot advised the company to adopt such a ridiculous policy, or whether General Mills, the conglomerate that owns Haagen Dasz, knows of this in the first place!

This is a direct hark back to the British Raj when “Indians & dogs” weren’t allowed inside restaurants and other “white” places. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that the franchise owner is an Indian from Delhi. Since the news leaked out, he’s taken the sign off and even insists there was no such sign in the first place, but the picture above proves otherwise. The man who took it, an Indian & a friend of The Times of India’s Rajesh Kalra, wasn’t allowed to enter the store inspite of being an international passport holder because he’s an Indian. So essentially this store was denying entry to everyone of Indian origin!

I can’t fathom what exactly Haagen Dazs was trying to convey through such a policy – that Indians are not worthy enough to be the first patrons of their store in India? That we can’t afford their ice-creams? Well, in that case the company should take their business elsewhere, should they not? Or that Indians will blindly lap up any product that has been endorsed by foreigners?

What would be the correct response on our part as a nation? Would a public apology from Haagen Dasz be enough, or should the company not be allowed to do business in India at all? The second option would mean a loss for Indian consumers – because Haagen Dasz ice-creams ARE heavenly - but then the company HAS adopted a racist approach by looking down at Indians as people who can’t afford their products or people who are still reeling under slave mentality and think a product that is endorsed by foreigners will surely be good. Should we as Indians encourage such a company to flourish on our land?

It would be very comforting to know that it's not the company Haagen Dazs that came up with such a policy but a stray Indian who tried to play on the racial insecurities of an entire nation that was once a victim of racism.


The knife said...

Am shocked. hope its not a hoax. i thought they had opened a brach at Palladium here.

I am quite fond of H D and used to have it on international trips. I believe they had earlier said, quite snootily, that they won't enter India as people can't afford them.

Local shops are stocking H D now. K got me a cookies and cream cup from Regal Store at bandra. 200 bucks.

Quite phika and paled in comparison to baskin or Amore

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - I don't think it's a hoax or it wouldn't have been published in TOI. There's a branch in Mumbai as well - Opp. Mahalaxmi Temple on Bhulabhai Desai Road.

I too am quite fond of HD as I mentioned in the post. If they thought Indians can't afford their products, watch them eat their words now! Fact is, all consumer brands are making a beeline for India now b/c they've realized India has volumes & Indians have the money now.

Maybe HD's cookies & cream isn't good but whenever I've had any of their ice-creams, I've loved them.

bricks said...

This is shocking indeed. If there is anyone who can pay in cash for a product, it is an Indian. If at all it is a marketing ploy, it only is waiting for some political party to be picked up to create a ruckus.
I had heard of HD a lot and ended up trying all their chocolate combos on the last 3 years. They are absolutely not worth the hype. Our desi Amul chocolate is anytime better. Leave a half eaten HD tub in the freezer and it tastes even worse the next time.

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