Shopping Shock

 26 Jul 2014 - 3:14


If you think the discounts and special offers being made by shops ahead of Eid Al Fitr will help you save money, think again. Shops are using the pre-Eid excitement to fool customers by manipulating prices.

Some customers say that the pricing is not transparent while others say the offers and discounts are misleading. A heated argument was heard yesterday between a customer and a cashier at a prominent shopping centre. The customer got angry on discovering that the printed price on the label was different from the price displayed at the cash counter. He said he had bought the product based on the sticker price, but when he reached the cash counter the cashier demanded a higher price, which was a clear case of cheating, the customer told Al Raya Arabic daily. The shopping centre was offering discounts before Eid.
The argument attracted many people, who supported the customer and alleged that price manipulation was becoming common during Eid. Many people cited examples of other items in which there was a difference between the sticker price and the price demanded by the cashier.
“They (shopkeepers) exploit high demand during Eid to cheat customers. For example, one of the offers said that prices start from QR49, but when people come, they find the prices of products starting from QR100. This has become a permanent feature during Eid,” said Awadiya Mohamed, a customer out for Eid shopping. 
“After seeing different offers and discounts we think that we can save a little money, but the reality is different. Products under offers and discounts are overpriced and are usually old. Shopkeepers use Eid to clear old stocks,” said Mohamed.
Customers want the Consumer Protection Department to monitor offers and discounts and ensure that shopkeepers don’t demand more than the announced prices.
“On special occasions, prices are increased by traders in a tricky way. They do it in a way that customers do not realise. They do it for some types of sweets when Garangao is nearing. They use attractive wrapping and take more money. This happens ahead of Eid as well,” said an Arab expatriate.
People say that shopkeepers adopt this is strategy to attract customers into the shop, and once inside, they hope the customers will be persuaded or pressed by their family members to buy something.
“It is very disappointing to see the exploitation of customers by shopkeepers during Eid. The authorities should take some strong steps to end the greediness of shopkeepers,” said Mariam Al Marri, a customer.