Fes­ti­val on the Mind

Consumer Voice - - Editor's Voice -

So, the fes­tive sea­son is here again and soon the mar­kets will be flooded with at­trac­tive of­fers. All mar­ket­ing books say that the best time to sell any­thing in In­dia is the fes­tive sea­son that be­gins be­fore Di­wali. This is the time for brands and re­tail­ers to float spe­cial schemes, of­fer at­trac­tive dis­counts and lure as many cus­tomers as they can. Ap­par­ently, this is also the time when some un­scrupu­lous business minds see an op­por­tu­nity to in­dulge in mal­prac­tices to cash in on the de­mand. Su­per­fi­cial dis­counts

Not all dis­counts are real. If you pre­pare a list of what you in­tend to buy and check their prices right now and com­pare the same dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, you will re­al­ize that some of­fers are bo­gus, some are a bit too hyped, and only a very few are gen­uine. Even the gen­uine dis­counts are not al­ways on fresh stocks – th­ese are on stuff that the store wants to get rid of. Spu­ri­ous sweets

Ev­ery Di­wali, the de­mand for sweets grows man­i­fold and so does the de­mand for khoa (a milk prod­uct sim­i­lar to ri­cotta cheese), which is the base in­gre­di­ent for the majority of sweets. You may be sur­prised to know how many tonnes of spu­ri­ous khoa – made of grease and pota­toes – reach mar­kets through il­le­gal chan­nels dur­ing the sea­son. So, dou­ble-check the qual­ity of the sweets you buy; where pos­si­ble, buy from your trusted sweet­meat shops only. Fakes/repli­cas/smug­gled goods

Hun­dreds of un­graded, il­le­gally man­u­fac­tured or smug­gled goods reach re­tail­ers and road­side ven­dors. Th­ese prod­ucts are sold at rock-bot­tom prices, and while all of them dis­turb the mar­ket deco­rum, some can be dan­ger­ous too. For ex­am­ple, most of those cheap dec­o­ra­tive lights have poor-qual­ity wiring that can catch fire any mo­ment, while cheap can­dles burn out in seconds and emit hazardous fumes while burn­ing. Fire­works

While we at Con­sumer Voice dis­cour­age buy­ing and light­ing of fire­crack­ers for var­i­ous rea­sons in­clud­ing child labour and pol­lu­tion, if you still want to buy some, do that from li­censed re­tail­ers. Hun­dreds of hoard­ers stock fire­crack­ers in risky and vul­ner­a­ble con­di­tions with­out le­gal per­mis­sions. All those in­ci­dents of fire at mar­kets and res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods hap­pen be­cause of th­ese crim­i­nal hoard­ers, who ap­par­ently evade ex­cise and taxes and are able to sell at much cheaper rates. Some low-grade crack­ers are risky as they may not burst in right proportion­s, caus­ing burn­ing haz­ards. Gift­ing

Year after year, large cor­po­rate houses to the poor­est of fam­i­lies to­gether spend mil­lions on Di­wali gifts. While the prac­tice of gift­ing opens up brand­ing and mar­ket­ing av­enues for brands, it comes as a so­cial obli­ga­tion on mid­dle­class fam­i­lies and they end up spend­ing not just on buy­ing gifts but also on com­mut­ing to de­liver those gifts. Is that re­ally needed? Is it our so­cial cus­tom or is it a per­cep­tion cre­ated by mar­keters, should be food for thought for all of us. Padma Joint ed­i­tor

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