Saturday, January 07, 2012

Can't There Be a Middle Path between Foreign Retail and the Kirana Stores?

A day spent hunting for medicines in the boondocks of New Bombay. In Belapur there aren't any good chemists who have all the medicines I need. So I came to Vashi and there, too, I faced defeat. Hm. None of the shops have a policy of stocking on essential medicines unless someone comes and asks for it. They say, "if it doesn't sell, we don't stock, you go to hell." They write in a small notebook when a medicine's stock is finished and then order them if they see that demand is good enough. This is unacceptable and unkind. I think this is also very selfish. It has killed many an enterprise. What if a bookshop stocks only books that sell? What if a kirana store stock only grocery that sells?

Talking of kirana stores, my next visit was to a kirana store. I needed refill for my mobile phone, some shaving blades, and some spices that wifey ordered. It's a miracle I could get all of these in the kirana shop and the man (with whom we have a checking account, and he doesn't charge interest) was friendly and offered suggestions about prices and usage. Try getting this in a mall. The boys and girls there hardly know the product, they don't stock on spices or other groceries, which are sporadically required, like, say, asafoetida. Where will we go if the kirana stores go out of business? 

Why can't there be a middle ground between FDI in retail and these kirana stores? As a country we are known to be very bad in drafting rules. If foreign retailers want to come they should come on our terms, not theirs. We made a mistake when we invited all those BPO units to set shop. The youth of the country is being exploited by the BPO units and they can't do a thing about it. There are no leaves, they work six days a week, there are no breaks in work, autocratic HR departments foist their antideluvian rules on them. I know because I worked in them.

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Hersh Bhardwaj said...


This is my first comment and I want to sound as polite as possible.(not that I am not
You are right about your remark about the good old kirana shops. I have lived in UK for years and only recently returned. They have all the big brands but still when you are out of booze, or, ciggies you rush down to your nearest 'corner' shop. Malls might have made some impact on the 'kirana'/local stores but only for good. Our fears that the FDI will spell death for the local retailers is a well orchestrated hype. You know the beneficiaries, I hope!

John P Matthew said...

Hi, actually I was voicing a concern that exists in most Indian minds that kirana shops will go out of business. However, they might survive, but without the sort of patronage it has right now. For example, you may not be able to find all the products you get now in them.