Your Local Raddiwala Is Fooling You!

by Tejas Nair

That day the whole family looks happy. The day you sell off your scrap & old newspapers for an average 10 rupees a kilogram. The amount probably ends up in the family piggy bank, the only day when it is used. But, every time you give away your old, read newspapers to any raddiwala in Mumbai, have you noticed the consistent value in the weight of the pile? It revolves around 8-10 kgs for smaller heaps and 17-20 kgs for bigger ones. If so, then, my friend, you are being fooled.

Few months back, The Times of India carried a reader’s article of an incident where a household got hold of an iron rod scale of the same type these raddiwalas (or scrap dealers) use. They had already weighed their pile to 26 kilograms and when the dealer weighed it in parts, the meter ticked at 8 kgs each; 16 kilograms in total. Immediately, the housewife came out with her scale & provided proof to their claim. The raddiwala, eventually, shelled out 250 rupees, a rounded off amount & left with a gloom on his face. After two months, when the same household happened to call him, the call was disconnected to never have connected again. The whole colony followed suit & now not a single scrap dealer in the locale agrees to come over.

Apparently, the weighing scales used by these raddivalas are tampered with to a considerable extent so as to reduce the total weight by around 30%. And, have you also noticed that every single one of them have the same type of scale? Probably the easiest one to rig. And all these years I was getting paid in 2 digits for my precious bundle of paper. But this morning, the table turned and I bought myself a weighing machine. The initially jovial dealer coughed up 300 rupees for my pile of 30 kilograms of old newspaper and old magazines and left with dejection. Ah, that pleasure! But, later I felt bad for the guy. I am sitting here blogging on my notebook in a seemingly lavish apartment and there he is dealing in scraps to make ends meet. He may not come back, but I do know a dozen raddiwalas in my locale. Enough for a year or two till few new dealers open shop; they always show up, don’t they? Near that grocery store or that fast food eatery.

So next time you call a raddivala home, be prepared with a scale of any make. At least, you will get a satisfied deal and won’t have to absorb a loss. There is a chance that the guy may not accept your claim, so it is better to have contacts of different scrap dealers in your neighbourhood. Technically speaking, a 2 feet pile will weigh around 20 kilograms, enough to buy those two sticks of Kwality Wall’s latest attempt at daylight robbery which also pretends to be a symbol of exaggerated luxury – the Magnum ice-cream priced at a whopping Rs. 85 per stick.