Follow
Damodar Mall
Born to Be a Grocer

Shopkeeper-in-law : Are his days numbered?

One of the most interesting aspects of modern retail is its potential for social transformation. In the normal buzz about supermarkets in India, where the focus is usually on either their frequent sales or their impact on the friendly neighbourhood kirana stores, this role of modern retail is lost or blurred. We don’t think about how a different shopping habit can actually change the personality of the customer, and therefore, society at large, whereas we should. In point of fact, this angle will have a more far reaching effect on the desire for modern retail than any perceived bargains.

Yes, customers welcome bargains and the feeling of having triumphed over the shopkeeper. But what they value even more in an urban context is anonymity. Her preferences, her shopping habits, what she buys and how she buys it, all this is information that the customer would much prefer not telling anyone else about, especially her local grocer. She doesn’t wish to be assessed, merely served. And yet, across most neighbourhoods in India, that’s exactly what she is subjected to.

A large research project by the Universities of Surrey and Exeter in the UK studying shopping in post-war (1950-70) England, in the sunrise days of modern retail there, discovered that supermarkets were welcomed more by younger and middle-class women. “It was upper class matrons, the sort who dressed up to go shopping, who missed the personal attention shown by traditional grocers”. The project quotes a retired secretary recalling, as a young bride, asking the butcher for a small amount of “premium” mince meat. “Oh, having a dinner party, madam?” sneered the shopkeeper. This wasn’t uncommon. A woman buying anything expensive or unusual risked gossip spread by the shop assistant.

So how does grocery shopping in India look from the perspective of young and middle class women? A significant clue lies in the manner in which the the young bahu addresses the grocer. It is with the same respect that she would use with a senior member of the family. ‘Panditji, Guptaji, Anna, Gauru or Bhaisaheb’, are the norm! After all, the family grocer is friendly with the father-in-law and the mother-in-law. He is one of them, older, more knowledgeable, more moneyed and safely sitting behind the counter, while the ‘bahu’ customer is outside, often on the street. Most of the time, the fan is directed on him, and the customer has to sweat it out at the counter. She might be giving him her custom but he is the one patronising her. It is a position of disempowerment for the customer, especially the young, recently married woman who is still feeling her way about. Now imagine if she asks Panditji for an expensive conditioner that her family has never used, or even worse, for Whisper Ultra Heavy Flow! It’s not going to happen. She is supposed to be the customer, the queen, but she is in an awkward social position and in her eyes, and possibly in his as well, he is the powerful “Shopkeeper-in-Law”.

As a result, in most cities and even middle class localities in metros, women don’t buy their personal products form the neighbourhood grocery shops. They buy them when they go out of town or to other neighbourhoods. This is the only way they can retain their anonymity. It is not too far-fetched to suggest that the neighbourhood grocer, for whom confidentiality is an alien value, would be only too happy to discuss a young woman’s purchases, especially if they involve something new, with the rest of her family. And she knows that, and is uncomfortable with that.

In India, women have to buy all they need, all their life, from men, often men with a tendency and licence to intrude, comment, assess and advise. The new supermarkets zapp these men away from between the woman shopper and her choices. Let’s see how. A woman feels like trying out Dove soap, instead of her family’s normal Lux or Hamam. She picks up a bar of Dove, smells it, sees the price, is shocked at the premium and simply puts it back and chooses another soap. This process of discovering new products and their acceptance or rejection happens comfortably, without any social embarrassment or sneering by shop assistants. It is even more apparent when she is looking for personal hygiene products, items that are freely advertised on TV but then recede to the inner shelves of a grocery store, only to emerge if the customer asks for them, an uncomfortable and eyebrow raising moment. The woman’s comfort with her own sense of aspiration, and discomfort with someone else’s possible disapproval, propels her to the self-service format. That’s why young and middle class women are increasingly voting with their wallets in favour of supermarkets. The friendly, trusted family grocer is trusted only for the elders in the family. He doesn’t share the same camaraderie with the younger recruits. In fact, he suffers an emphatic setback every time a new daughter-in-law is added to this customer’s household.

This compelling angle of female empowerment is often missing in the supermarket vs kirana debate. In my view, the real trouble for the ‘counter service’ stores is going to be at the hands of young women, more than anything else.

No wonder the Surrey and Exeter study discovered press advertisements from the early days promoting not just the convenience of supermarkets but also their anonymity!

With growing household incomes, more awareness, widening aspirations, we are perpetually trying and buying new products, different from what we bought last month. This sense of freedom is hampered if there’s someone looking over our shoulder, constantly assessing our purchases, and through those, our social aspirations. We certainly don’t wish to be asked if we are having a party at home!

Post Your Comment
Name
Required
Email
Required, will not be published
Comment
All comments are moderated
 

Comment
Shopping at Modern retail stores is such a pain compared to the Neighborhood kirana store. On the way home , I normally stop to pick up stuff...there are two stores cheek by jowl to each other. One is a part of a chain of stores belonging to one of the leading industrial groups of India, the other is the kirana store. What takes me 2-3 minutes at the kirana store , takes me 15 minutes at the least in the chain store. The staff at the chain store dont know much about the products stocked. Secondly , their billing is so slow. Thirdly, during the late evening hours, they spend more time chatting. And most importantly, the SKUs stocked at the store are decided at their corporate office, and most of the products/ brands I require are not stocked by them. However, the kirana employees are swift, they know the brands to stock and are extremely quick in billing the items! It's very rare that I venture into the chain store!
Whizkid, you are comparing what you site as badly run self service retail vs a well run kirana. In India, self service retail and people working in those stores are all all freshers n well run kiranas will make sure they hold their customers. My point is, if woman is th primary shopper and incomes and aspirations are going up, self service retail has a large social advantage over counter service. My bet is, in 3 years from now a huge number of kiranas will move to self service. They are nimble, smart and learn fast....what do you think?
At least in Bangalore, most of the Kiranas are now self-service , with the staff to help you out if required. I would say that Modern Retail would rule in the Hypermarket Category-the "Big Box" stores , whereas the neighborhood stores would still be the kiranas. The advantages of the Kirana (self-service or not) are plenty-better service;better skus;faster service;etc. And it is not necessary that modern retail will succeed in every category they enter-a great example of this is the Electronics stores, where the local family run regional players have given such a tough competition to the National Chains that many large Retail chains are mulling exiting the Electronics business. And mind you , the days of easy money are over, so modern retail is going to be pretty choosy in where they open and what they open. So that means there are better days ahead for the Kiranas since the dust around modern retail has settled and the Kiranas too have upgraded themselves. :)
Dear Damodar, in a response to the 'Whisper Ultra Flow' point/ argument made in the 4th para of the article above, I would just like to point out that the same sentiment has been shown in the condom/ contraceptive ads of the 90s - where a boy/ girl gets embarrassed asking for a condom/ contraceptive in a chemist's shop/ pharmacy. So do you advocate making these categories also part of modern retail formats like supermarkets/ hypermarkets, ala the West? Also if there are places in India which do so, do mention them. In response to a comment by you below about the pharmacist's gender becoming irrelevant due to the 'knowledge' factor, why doesn't this 'knowledge' factor of the pharmacist triumph over the 'embarrassment' felt by the customer when he/s he asks for a condom/ contraceptive at the chemist? Other than these, am already an admirer of your writing and look forward to many more - cheers!
Sid, grocery buying has a strong gender facet to it, as we discussed in my post. The pharmacy buyer is equally likely to be a male or a female. Shridhar, in his comment also bring in the valid 'knowledge' angle in the pharmacy shopping interaction. Indeed, bringing contraceptives and 'sexual wellbeing' products into self service will lead to higher trials and upgrades. Stores like Health n Glow already have a bay dedicated to sexual health, actively being shaped by reputed branded goods companies. I for sure will be keeping a close watch on the 'mainstreaming' of these categories....
Dear Damodar, I truly support your view and very much clear that when we talk about retail then there are of 2 types, Self Service and Counter Service. Looking at the situation and new generation or awaken generation coming-in surely, Self Choice, freedom and Experience, Experiment and Entertainment will be preferred place rather than monotonous counter service. But, in connection and taking you as Industry Guru, I seek your help Can you pls. know how can go if I want to put one product in Super Stores? There is one new product which I find taker but, not finding big sellers.
nilesh partani
hi damodar,awaiting your article on how women can be great shopkeepers,we are a chain of home accessory boutique and have women managers at all our stores and this strategy has worked out well as we found them more responsible, innovative and with an empathy to touch the chords of the customers exactly! would love to see your observations!
Nilesh, I would be very keen to learn from your experience of women in charge of shops. Where are your stores located? At Future Group, our most premium food store is run by a woman, with an excellent travk record. Am happy to connect offline with you. Thanks.
nilesh partani
hi damodarji,great to recieve your comments,my stores are at amravati and nagpur in maharashtra by the neme pushpraj creations,we were among the four candidates kB selected during business reality show chhota business bade sapne on cnbc awaz and we are vendors to future group since then with our collection in home town,I consider kB as my guru and learnt a lot from him since then,i would infact be happy to connect with you,pl share your email id,infact I came to this blog becoz of the link forawarded by deepayanji. thanks again! warm regards, nilesh partani
sangeeta vernekar
Dear Damodar, You write so well..would love to see you write a book! The article was so insightful, I could identify with each word as a woman customer. Specially the way our sector has grown over last decade or so; people from those generations will certainly identify. Just as surely todays children; to whom a visit to market with mummy means swinging their legs in a hypermarket trolly zooming past alluringly laid out products will probably need to be explained what does the word 'kirana' means! Once again, a superbly written genuine genuine article! warm regards, sangeeta
Sangeeta, that smart women shoppers like you identify with the observations I make, is so nice to know. I wont put the kirana into history so soon, though. I see lots of self service stores in all neighbourhoods, branded, organised but run by entrepreneurs, within 3 years from now. THAT, would be the best combination of both the worlds, for the women shoppers.....more on that, in some other post :)!
Shared by Anu Moulee: An interesting doc on linking birth of shopping to rise of feminism, women in public places and in employment. All modern shopkeepers, take a bow....while working for our daily bread, we also make the world a better place for women...... :) http://www.sbs.com.au/documentary/program/788/Seduction-in-the-City-The-Birth-of-Shopping
Damodar, Very interesting perspective and I agree that from an anonymity standpoint the kirana wala stands to lose. However, there is another form of traditional retail - "the medical shop" which has been selling personal hygiene and other items for aeons and generally speaking, the folks who run these little pharmacies are educated etc and do not fit the profile of the shopkeeper-in-law. Women have always resorted to buying personal items from these shops. Also, the kiranwalas also have handed over control to their next generation, who are much more educated and "liberal". Having said that, my problem with modern retail stores is still not getting the fundamentals right. Last week, I was in a modern retail chain looking to buy pani puri masala, paper napkins and paper plates (all things that you would normally associate with a modern store) but guess what, the modern retailer did not have any of these but the kiranawala opposite the street had all of them. And I was done shopping in less than 5 mins there!
Sridhar, you bring out the superb angle of 'knowledge' in the pharmacy context, which makes the shopkeeper's gender irrelevant. That's why the most popular tailors, hair dressers serving women, are men. Women are fine with expertise, not inrusion, I believe. On your other point, an ill stocked retailer is just that, irrespective of counter service or self service. In an apple to apple comparison, that customers find much more product choice in a self service store, is an emphatic reality.
Agreed! In fact, one of my favorite retailing examples is the pharmacy store-walla pulling out a little notebook and writing down the name of the drug not available along with your phone number and promising to deliver or call once the drug arrives at the store. That's customer-centricity!!!
Such insights sets one into a thinking mode.. Looking forward to more of these kinds..
The article talks about an insight which is usually experienced by all of us but is not discussed openly. One's “space” is defined in best words like FREEDOM, RIGHT TO CHOSE. Certainly Modern Retail respects that hence is attracting more customers.
Shruti, what's experienced and acted upon by women shapes many consumer sectors in the world. Now we know the way this phenomenon shapes self-service retail. Those consumer businesses that start by being obsessed with manly stuff like technology, capital, and supply chain, and under-invest in forming their consumer point of view, start with a huge, avoidable handicap IMHO.....
Great Insights of reasons for buying in modern retail formats,further this can provide a more clear merchandising picture to modern retailers about where to place and how to stack to maintain freedom and privacy. This will lead to a revolution in way of living of indian households as use of new products will even shape the way and standard of living of next gen
Tushar, self service retail is just 1 of th modern empowering things around the changing urban woman. And as you correctly point out, the share of more modern, new and upgrade items in self service stores is more that double that in shopkeeper in law type traditional trade. So, the choice engine actually works better without the patroniding influence of the well meaning kirana uncle...
Great Articulation of the necessity, psychology and great understanding on WHY SHE BUY. The success of neighborhood kirana wala is not due to the price, location, relationship but, its convenience. Available Time window: They open 5am in morning till late in 11:30 pm. Easy credit: If one short of money then also one will not compromise on their need. Quick close of transactions: You can finish your shopping in 5-10 min. where as you have to struggle at billing counter where unskilled person will kill your time by 15min more. Less price difference: Everyone is selling at MRP, so there is very less difference in saving. So, now grocery shopping has got divided in 2 form, 1. Experimental and Anonymity: People who are looking for new products and experimenting with new brands or line of product prefers super markets. 2. Routine: People shopping their routine stuff prefer to buy at convenience point.
Very valid points Sanjeev. You compare today's modern retail and kirana retail options in India. In my debate, I compare self service vs counter service behaviours completely from the customers' perspective. That we dont have neighbourhood self service stores that open long hours is a retail sector and business model problem. Indeed, I assert, when that happens, the young bahu's will all happily march away from the shopkeeper in law, in full force. From customer psychlogy point of view, there is no hope for counter service, in a rapidly aspiring market. Do you see that point of view?
There is no doubt that a shift to supermarket formats allows consumers greater anonymity and a lot more freedom to choose. At the kirana-wala, you're making a transaction with a face, an individual. You're buying something that is owned by the person behind that counter. The supermarket dehumanizes that side of the transaction, doesn't it? (The cashier being just another cog in the machine you're buying from). In fact, all forms of monetary transactions seem to move towards the faceless- from online shopping to ATMs. Even the currency itself seems more disposable when one uses plastic as opposed to a piece of paper with a face on it! Is this merely a matter of convenience or, like the baniya-bahu equation, there is a deeper cultural trend at work here? After all, this is a progression that has occurred all over the world.
Correct point Harsh. Totally 'drhumanised' self checkout stores have not succeeded in even Scandenevian or Japanese markets, from what I know. I am a fan of 'Bazaar Conversations', myself. However, in my view, our urban Indian young woman, who is as educated and aware as her most global peer, is grossly over intruded, over typecast and over advised all the time. She'll assert and improve her privacy context. Shopkeeper in Law is only a small part of things around her, which are marked for a serious bashing, IMHO!
Very interesting perspective on consumer behavior… May be this is one reason why the home delivery business out of kirana stores is increasingly going up especially in middle class neighborhoods with a higher percentage of young couples. One of the reasons may be that the awkwardness a women shopper feels in visiting the kirana for purchase of select items gets negated or reduced when she orders on the phone. On the other hand, home deliveries in modern retail are neither encouraged nor becoming popular, as the format provides a discreet environment to the shopper to exercise her right of choice freedom and privacy. In essence, agree that modern retail gives the shopper an environment which is inclusive and not intrusive…
Mayank, indeed between 25 to 60% of business for kirana stores in Mumbai is done on phone orders. Their fulfillment model and the famed 'home deliver even a loaf of bread', is often based on child and exploitative labour practices. In has to change form, as income and labour costs grow. At certain per capita income levels our bread, milk, newspaper delivery models will morph or evaporate. In metros, my sense is, in 3 years....but all that, is another subject of discussion...
Ruchita Samdani
Extremely insightful. Amazed to read how just a shopping format aids in women empowerment. The supermarket is not only enabling better choice but also at every step boosting confidence of these women to experiment and make their own choice. Tool to attain self-confidence.
Other way round, Ruchita! Women customers let supermarket live and grow because we live upto their increasing empowerment expectations. Aspiring customers sey hum hain, humsey woh nahi. (we are because we serve them). I always remember that the Indian customer punishes hard. The folks who have been given a thrashing just trying to sell the humble atta to her include who's who of the global food giants....General Mills, Cargill, Unilever, etc etc...
Great article!! Will be sure to follow it from now on. I'll tell Harsh to keep me posted about new posts in the future! But I would also add that the neighbourhood shop also has its pros- (if you remove the need for anonymity, which, let's face it, for a male isn't that big a factor...except when its time to go condom shopping of course), which are namely the personal touch and familiarity that the kirana offer that a 24/7 can rarely aspire to match, taking employee churn and their stringent rules into consideration. Take for example the odd time when I've wanted to buy my usual 'multigrain bread, 10 eggs and a packet of double toned-preferably-mother-dairy-milk, but walking into the shop I realise that I'm not carrying my wallet. Because of my acquaintance with the uncle/ aunty at the shop I can pick up my provisions with the promise I'll pay them tomorrow. (I've even borrowed money from them to pay for my auto ride once). They keep things aside for you, after a point you feel genuinely welcomed in their precincts and there have been numerous times when I've resorted to asking them for advice about procuring things in the near vicinity that aren't available with them. My over-reliance on them aside, I'd be the first to admit that a) in a city like Delhi, this isn't always possible and b) our local shop uncle-aunty combo are a genuinely nice duo... Just as a side note- I do pass by a 24/7 on my way back...
Agree with you, Gaurav. The point of this article is that we often 'over romance' the charm of the uncle baniya. The insight is that there is a distict thread of resentment amngst women, unstated in most narratives. Resident and economically settled folks build relationship roots that you so nicely illustrate. Migrants and upwardly mobile people seek service on their own terms without 'advise or comment'. And the biggest migrant species is never acknowledged as migrant.....the nayi bahu. Traditionally, she was expected to extinguish her old identity and just conform to the sasural ways. Now, many bahu's may tend to say, "uncle ji hoga teraa, mera to nosey baniya sasur hai" :)!
Sweta, thanks for your thoughts. I know of some people who don't take their kids to supermarkets, with the fear of overspending! But we all know, for most people, these overspending fears are mock, 'good to express' fears. Most modern store customers are not really on a budget. When I ran the D Mart waale stores, we used to say, well to do people use 'savings and discounts' as a fig leaf to actually enjoy spending more on all the new choices for their families.....
......and don't forget the very real life example we lived through - when a well know MNC launched a soap that failed because no housewife wanted to go to the kirana store and say "Bhaiyaji, ek Caress dena......!"
.... LoL! Some brand names can cause funny situations. With self service stores, there wont be any hassle buying Hersheys 'Kisses'..!
Loved the observation of fan's direction..It is hugely significant to build the argument for against modern retail i.e. which way the wind is blowing ! Recently came back from Dhanbad, Jharia, Patna, Jamshedpur and Ranchi. She is waiting for this 'Shopping Freedom and Anonymity' within her social eco system wherein she happily cocoons herself & family 'comfort with everyone knows everyone in my small town' As small towns evolve in India, the idea of anonymity itself undergoes a shift. In Patna's new eco park, Yo! China, Revolving Restaurant Pind Baluchi, and P&M Mall ( Big Bazaar) girls finds anonymity with boys. No need to go 'behind temple' or 'Ganga Ghat' anymore Love and shopping meet on this interesting corridor of anonymity. We can liberally include brand and SKU promiscuity and almost orgasmic pleasure in shopping by women in this interaction. In a country wherein women freedom is still accepted with light heaviness and heavy anxiousness ; wherein shopping freedom is growing financial freedom, malls and modern retail are undoubtedly new symbols and catalyst of social change.
Atulit, with so much aspiration and temptation around, one would have to be deaf and blind, in love or otherwise, to resist some purchase even when one primarily goes there for walking hand in hand. Remember, even on normal walks or temple visits, commerce nicely charms you with chana, bhel, kulfi or prasad ke laddoo. All leisure has consumption entwined into it. That topic some other day....
Excellent read. Very pertinent argument. Waiting for the next.
Thanks Deepa. Am glad you liked the argument. Yes, more posts to follow.
a great read
Interesting perspective on privacy that Supermarkets offer. They also offer more variety and freedom to choose. Who wants to wait for the local grocer to show a bar each of all the soaps available in the shop so that I can choose one? It's just plain irritating... But... ultimately with the growing pinches and punches of inflation, a lot of this boils down to money and value for money. Having said that, I and a lot of other single, working, and independent (hopefully empowered) women in a metro like Mumbai will not give up on a the local grocers and sabzi/fish market. Here is a case in point - for my weekly grocery shopping, if I go to the local market/grocery shops behind my home, for a single person, all meals at home, I spend 350-400 bucks on veggies/fruits/fish/chicken. If I enter for example, a D-Mart, I have never came out spending anything less than a 1000 bucks ever. And this is true for a lot of people I have spoken to. Then what is it that we are buying in a supermarket that's any different? We tend to buy stuff we can easily do without but buy since a product, accessible, in shelves, right where we can pick it and see it, is its own biggest advertisement. We tend to buy more stuff and in larger quantities that we don't need in supermarkets. Also, the veggies and meats in local markets are fresh, unpackaged. A lot of packaged, clean veggies in plastic packets we see at supermarkets, may have been there for days and we will not know because of the miracles of technology! So when it comes to fresh stuff, I for one have stopped visiting the supermarkets. Having said that, when it comes to detergents, soaps, any other home needs, I visit the supermarkets coz' they do have a lot of offers and discounts going on most of the time which the local grocers do not offer.
Shweta, thanks for your thoughts. I know of some people who don't take their kids to supermarkets, with the fear of overspending! But we all know, for most people, these overspending fears are mock, 'good to express' fears. Most modern store customers are not really on a budget. When I ran the D Mart waale stores, we used to say, "well-to-do people use 'savings and discounts' as a fig leaf to actually enjoy spending more on all the new choices for their families"
I completely agree with the view of Damodar Mall. Apart from empowering the young modern women, socially modern retail is also helping the newly we'd to acclimatize with the new environment.
Goutam, in another in another upcoming post, we'll talk about how women can also be great shopkeepers, if we take out the shady and clunky practices out of micro retail. That, is another completely new facet of empowerment. You don't need to be "son of a dukaandar" to be a smart grocer, in times to come. Women, migrants, lower social strata people are the next wave of shopkeepers, beyond the current era of entrenched shopkeepers-in-law, in my speculation.
 
 
Damodar Mall
‘Born to be a grocer’ has a different meaning for me. After the traditional career track of IIT, IIM and Hindustan Unilever, I was going to be a grocer, much to my family’s disbelief. Selling ‘daal-chawal’ as a chosen vocation for the educated son was not their idea of smart choices. I wasn’t alone. I walked down the path with R K Damani of D Mart and Kishore Biyani of Big Bazaar, both avid customer observers and business creators by betting on the Indian consumer. Customer observation and insight hunting is now an instinct with me, after over a decade of consistent aisle running in all parts of the world.

To my wife’s delight I love visiting stores, but much to her chagrin, I equally love chasing women customers to see what they are buying!

Food, brands and retail, my vocation, catches everyone’s fancy. I’ve stirred up some recent excitement for myself shaping food stores for different ends of the market spectrum including upmarket Foodhall and now Fresh produce led neighbourhood store RelianceFresh, etc.

I’m excited by various cuisines, languages and recently, learning to play music. But through all my adventures, one thing has stood by me always, a good cup of masala chai! Meet me @SupermarketWala
 
 
 
Most Popular
Damodar Mall's Activity Feed
July 14, 2012 14:49 pm by Whizkid_no1
At least in Bangalore, most of the Kiranas are now self-service , with the staff to help you out if required. I would say that Modern Retail would rule in the Hypermarket Category-the "Big Box" stores , whereas the neighborhood stores would still be the kiranas. The advantages of the Kirana (self-s...
July 13, 2012 20:27 pm by @damodarmall
Whizkid, you are comparing what you site as badly run self service retail vs a well run kirana. In India, self service retail and people working in those stores are all all freshers n well run kiranas will make sure they hold their customers. My point is, if woman is th primary shopper and income...
July 13, 2012 13:57 pm by Whizkid_no1
Shopping at Modern retail stores is such a pain compared to the Neighborhood kirana store. On the way home , I normally stop to pick up stuff...there are two stores cheek by jowl to each other. One is a part of a chain of stores belonging to one of the leading industrial groups of India, the other ...
July 11, 2012 11:02 am by @damodarmall
Sid, grocery buying has a strong gender facet to it, as we discussed in my post. The pharmacy buyer is equally likely to be a male or a female. Shridhar, in his comment also bring in the valid 'knowledge' angle in the pharmacy shopping interaction. Indeed, bringing contraceptives and 'sexual well...
July 10, 2012 14:48 pm by Sid
Dear Damodar, in a response to the 'Whisper Ultra Flow' point/ argument made in the 4th para of the article above, I would just like to point out that the same sentiment has been shown in the condom/ contraceptive ads of the 90s - where a boy/ girl gets embarrassed asking for a condom/ contraceptive...