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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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How to Handle Request Stampede Durable Link to this BLOG
How to Handle More Customers than You Can

I have been swamped with projects. Each demanding top priority and great diligence. There's no way I can handle 'em all.

So, I'm performing what is known as the Tirupati Haircut.

Tirupati is a place of Hindu pilgrimage in Southern India, where the devotees tonsure their heads in sacrifice to the deity. On certain days there's so much rush and stampede at the barbers' that the barbers just cannot handle the demand. Each devotee loudly demands that their head be shaven immediately, lest they go to a different barber.

So the barber has a trick. He shaves off only a part of the head and moves on to the next customer. Every customer thinks that his turn has come, but has to wait a long time before the shaving is complete. At the same time, the barber has effectively garnered the business because you won't go to another barber with half your head shaven!

That's exactly what you should do when you have ten top priority tasks. Begin one, don't finish it, but move on to next. That way you have engaged the customer (rather than losing him), while denying the opportunity to the competition.

• Business Wisdom from the Streets of India

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, June 14, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

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