Very often you would have visited markets around the area where you live. People go to the market to buy household items groceries or items like fruits and vegetables. Markets are places which are visited almost by everybody to buy goods of daily use. But have you ever observed there are a whole variety of markets around us?
Some are weekly markets, some are retail markets or big shopping complexes and some are wholesale markets. In this chapter, we will look at how the goods reach the buyer through these markets, who are the buyers and who are the sellers, and the problems encountered by them.
In almost all the cities, big and small, the weekly bazaars or weekly markets are a common feature. They are called so because they are held every week on a fixed day. So there might be a Budh bazaar or a shani bazaar meaning a weekly market held every Wednesday or Saturday.
Thousands of such markets magically spring up every week by the roadside in many neighborhoods of various cities. Delhi, for example, is a city that becomes the buzzing center of such markets every week in different areas.
Huddled together, these markets are makeshift markets where the traders set up their shops around the afternoon and close them by the late evening. These shops offer just about anything from vegetables to clothes, utensils, groceries, and household items.
At some places, you would also find hawkers selling food items. These food items are generally prepared with the help of their family members. So they save the money they would otherwise spend on hiring people to help them in preparation.
Hugely popular, these markets are frequented not only by the working class and lower-middle-class but also by the upper-middle class. Let’s see what different buyers have to say about these markets.
Some buyers in weekly markets of Delhi
Mrs. Sharma, a housewife visits the nearby Wednesday weekly market of Rohini every now and then. She says she gets a good bargain over there. In fact, she feels going to a mall and buying a product that is early available in the weekly market would not be wise. ‘For instance, she says,’ a 1 kg onion cost just Rs 30”.
Mrs. Gupta, a homemaker feels that if one has an eye for quality and the ability to bargain, then weekly markets are the best place to go shopping. She frequents the Monday weekly market near Dwarka.
College students are regular buyers at the Thursday Dhaka market. The market offers all that is needed by a college-going student like accessories, shirts, tops, etc. They feel it suits their tight budgets.
The Sunday fish market at Howrah West Bengal is a fish lover’s paradise. People old and young flock to the market to buy a variety of fish as low as Rs 10 per fish.
Why do you think, the buyers are able to get a good bargain in the weekly markets?
Let us explore the answer.
As seen above, in the weekly markets, goods are available at very low rates. This is because the shops of traders are temporary arrangements for the day. A permanent shop on the other hand requires a lot of expense in the form of rent, salaries of the employees, taxes to the government, bills for electricity and phone. The weekly traders keep the good that they sell in the market at their homes and employ the labor of their own family members in selling them. Hence, they are able to sell at lower prices.
Competition in the weekly market also helps in bargaining as there are several shops selling the same items. If one trader does not settle a bargain, the buyer can always buy the same product elsewhere in the market possibly at a lower rate.
Markets Around Us: Shops in the Neighborhood
The local shops from where you buy things whenever needed are the most useful ones. They are located near your homes and are open throughout the week. Seldom will you find these shops closed? These shops may be of different types.
Some are permanent while others are roadside stalls like those of fruit and vegetable vendors, fish sellers,s, etc. The shops stock a variety of goods including things of everyday use like grains, cosmetics, eatables, stationery, etc.
Let us take a look at one such small store in a locality
Purchasing at the Mahavir store
The Mahavir Store is one of the three big stores in the locality of Dwarka. The customers come from the neighborhood houses. The shop is generally crowded because it has a variety of goods to offer.
The goods at his shop include household day-to-day use items. The shop sells goods to the people at prices less than the market price. People buy these goods from his shop either by paying cash or on credit. Those who wish to buy on credit maintain a record with themselves and also the shop owner keeps updating his credit register with the latest purchases of his customers after calculating it from his credit register.
The customers pay the bill in the first week of every month. Recently, he has also introduced a system of home delivery. Is the system of purchase and credit at the Mahavir store similar to the shops in your own locality? So, now as a class activity think about the benefits or drawbacks of such an arrangement between the shopkeeper and the customer?
Shopping complexes and malls
Besides the weekly markets and the shops in the neighborhood, there are also shopping complexes in the urban area. The shopping complexes are a cluster of shops within a defined area. In recent times, the urban areas have also seen a rise in multi-storeyed air-conditioned buildings where shops are found on each floor called malls. The shops in the shopping complexes and malls sell both branded and non-branded goods.
However, you will find that the malls as compared to shopping complexes are selling more branded items. In fact, the malls house a number of big showrooms of companies selling all kinds of goods. The branded goods are often priced much higher than the non-branded goods because of the money invested in setting up such big showrooms and in advertisements. Bargaining in these shops is not possible as they are fixed-price shops.