Least Interested Party

‘He is not answering your calls because he is a least interested party,’ said Bhatnagar with a cockiness that had over the years become his most prominent trait at office.

‘What the hell do you mean,’ Sunderlal roared contemptuously, ‘least inserted party! For Gods sake till a fortnight ago this man used to call me up five times daily.’

‘That was before you paid him the full amount for installing the multi-level computer system in office. Correct me sir, if I am wrong.’

Sunderlal’s eyes flashed with anger. ‘You mean to say that he is not calling because he has already received the full payment.’

‘Precisely, sir, precisely,’ Bhatnagar smiled, as if he was delivering a good news, ‘because he has received the payment, he has now moved a notch higher in his relationship with you. Now he has become the least interested party, or LIP in short form, as far as his dealings with you are concerned.’

‘Oh cut that crap about least interested party or LIP. Try his number again.’

‘As you say sir,’ said Bhatnagar and grabbing the phone lying on the table, he started dialing.
‘AV Infotech,’ the receptionist said from the other end of the wire.

‘I am calling from Everest Traders, I have to speak to Mr. Saxena,’ said Bhatnagar into the mouthpiece.

‘Mr. Saxena is busy in a meeting with a client, can you call an hour later?’ replied the receptionist.

Bhatnagar replaced the phone back on the cradle. ‘He is holed up with a client,’ he snickered.

‘Who the hell is going to attend to the fault in the computer system while Saxena remains busy in a meeting?’ Sunderlal angrily muttered, as beads of frustration popped up on his forehead.

‘Situation is not that bad. Only one of the computer cables have developed a faultâÂ?¦’

‘It is not a question of one cable or two cables,’ Sunderlal snapped, ‘it is a question of propriety. Saxena has to attend to any fault immediately.’

‘Yes he should. But Saxena is behaving like a typical- LIP.’

‘LIP, LIP,’ Sunderlal echoed furiously, ‘Are you trying to make fun of my problems?’
‘I won’t dare do that sir,’ Bhatnagar replied with calm confidence.

‘Then explain to me what this damn- LIP is.’

‘Most gladly sir,’ obsequiously said Bhatnagar. ‘I evolved the concept of least interested party few months ago. Lets say you have to buy a new car. You make some preliminary inquires from two-three dealers. What happens after that? The dealers will hammer you with repeated phone calls importuning you to buy the car from them, they will bombard you with the usual sales gimmick, come forth with an amazing lists the benefits, they will try to spice up the offer with some attractive freebies, to demonstrate their genuine concern they may even inquire about your health, and that of your family. But it is surprising how soon their interest in you fades, once you have actually bought their car.’ Bhatnagar paused for Sunderlal’s response.

‘Go on, I am listening,’ Sunderlal said, his face inscrutable.

‘The dealer’s interest in you fades because you have already given him what he wants. Money for the car! There is nothing more he can get out of you, unless you want to buy another car form him. If your new car develops some kind of mechanical trouble, to get the problem fixed, you will have to make ten calls to the same dealer, who earlier was at your beck and call. The dealer is in fact no longer interested in you or your problems, he has now moved on to other customers. So the bottom line is once the car has been sold the dealer acquires the glorified status of a LIP, or least interested party.’

‘I find it strange that someone as young as you are should view normal human interactions so cynically.’

‘It is not cynicism sir. The concept of least interested party is a fact of life. I mean, the effects of the LIP syndrome are visible everywhere, even inside your office.’

‘Inside my office! Tell me who is the LIP in my office. I will fire that rogue immediately,’ Sunderlal thundered.

‘You will have to fire just about everyone, barring one or two guys.’


‘I can prove it to you.’

‘I will give you a ten percent pay increase if you can prove that my office is full of LIP types.’

Bhatnagar’s eyes lit up as he anticipated a ten percent rise. ‘You are running a trading firm, which employs around twenty-five people. Right!’ he said glibly.

‘Of course.’

‘Do you think all your employees are working to their full capacity?’

‘Some of them are plain goddamned lazy, but that can’t be blamed to your so-called, LIP syndrome. Laziness is just a trait that most men have built into their DNA.’

‘My theory says that laziness is a sheer manifestation of the LIP syndrome.’

‘Lip Syndrome! My foot.’

‘Why aren’t your employees giving their fullest to their job, they did give their fullest in getting employed. I am sure you remember how anyone of your employees might have tried to impress you when he came to seek employment. He would have sounded over-eager, and pretended to be a workhorse capable of accomplishing single-handedly any task that normally would take three or four guys to do. After getting employed he would still be over-eager at his work for at least a couple of months, but once he becomes sure that his job in the company is safe, his output level starts to plateau. The same employee who was earlier doing the work of three or four people will start doing the work of one person, and in another couple of months his output might fall further, till he is doing the absolute minimum that is required from him. Why does his output fail? Because he is now sure of his position in the company and from this surety there comes a feeling of complacency. The complacent employee will do only the minimum that he is required of him. This is the stage where he has acquired the supreme status of a LIP. If you give to a LIP any work even slightly out of line with what he is generally required to do, the LIP won’t like it. He will feel that he is being burdened unnecessary. He will fret, he will grumble, he will bicker with his colleagues and if he eventually does finish the task, it will be done late and in a shoddy manner. And for that late and shoddy task he will still expect you to feel grateful.’

The look of concentration on Sunderlal’s face, made it obvious that he was finally beginning to be impressed by what Bhatnagar was saying. ‘What about you, are you also a LIP,’ said Sunderlal.

‘No sir, not yet,’ Bhatnagar grinned.


‘Because I didn’t join the company just for the job, I am here for something more than a job.’

‘What are you here for?’

‘To learn the ropes of trading, so that someday I can do something on my own.’

Sunderlal nodded his head in understanding.

‘My experience says,’ Bhatnagar continued, ‘that the best way to avoid getting stuck with a LIP is to deal with people who want something more than just the job at hand. When hiring an employee, you can look for someone whose interest is not just snagging a place in the company, but of growing in it. When buying a car, or for that matter, any household appliance like freeze, TV etc, try to buy from a salesman or a dealer who isn’t a sell it and forget it type.

‘And how do we avoid getting trapped by a LIP while getting a computer system installed in the office?’ Sunderlal’s obvious reference was to Saxena, who had installed the computer system in his office and whom he had been trying to call since morning.

‘Well, Saxena has got paid for installing the computer system. But he still has some dues remaining- the service charges that we have to pay him every month.’ With a mocking smile Bhatnagar added, ‘a small warning that his service charges may get delayed could go a long way in getting rid of Saxena’s LIP status.’

‘Call him.’

Bhatnagar dialed the number. When the receptionist came on line, he told her, ‘I am calling on behalf of Mr. Sunderlal. Please inform Mr. Saxena that it won’t be possible for us to pay him for the service work on the computer system.’

Barely ten seconds passed after he had hanged up when the phone started ringing. ‘I am sure it is Saxena calling,’ Bhatnagar said.
‘Tell him I am busy in a meeting,’ Sunderlal said.

Bhatnagar told Saxena to call later as Mr. Sunderlal was busy in a meeting and replaced the phone back on the cradle.

‘Now I am the least interested party.’

‘Isn’t it a great feeling, being a LIP,’ Bhatnagar smiled.

‘It sure is. And your 10% pay raise is done from this month.’

To that Bhatnagar’s grin only got wider.

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