By Ahmet Abdulaziz…..
The year end is approaching, and everyone is thinking of buying New Year’s gifts etc. In fact New Year is one special opportunity when people do exchange gifts, and a wholesale social activity engulfs the overall social structure.
Thus the month of December especially, becomes the most awaited period of bumper sales by the traders.
In the capitalistic society, the traders make the best out of this period of the year. In fact the whole season starts in November, where they start advertising campaigns to catch the attention of the ultimate buyers. The competition of traders through their advertising campaigns helps the buyers to form their opinion about the items that they would buy.
However, the most important and decisive factor from the point of view of a common man is the price of the item that he would buy. Yes price is very important as, at times, it becomes more important than the quality of the item, because the price does directly affect the budget of the people.
The month of December, is known as the month of discounts in prices. A large number of people usually wait for the month of December to avail the opportunity of buying the essentials.
This year too the month of December is the month of discounts, and traders are coming up with discounted sales campaigns. But just hold it for a minute there.
Remember a couple of months back the prices of everything had shot up due to a sudden increase in the exchange rates. The prices of everything had gone up. Even the price of bread, meat, vegetables etc etc had risen. But now the exchange rates have gone down, the foreign currencies are now much cheaper than they were two or three months back.
But where are the prices now? I would like to quote here just one example. The price of bread (ekmek) that used to be 1 Turkish Lira, is now 1,50 and 2 TL. They have not gone down. There are fractional reductions in the prices of petrol and gas, but how far have the prices of other items of daily use gone down? Unfortunately, very few items recorded a fractional reduction in price, otherwise most of the prices have stuck at a higher value.
In this background, we enter the month of December, and the traders have come up with discount and introduced price sale schemes. In fact I consider it as a joke with the consumers. The traders have come up with a temporary reduction in the prices which were already very high. They have not reduced the prices. Rather they have offered a limited opportunity to the consumer to buy goods at the prices which they had been two months back.
So the original prices stand at the inflated level, which is not realistic. The traders who had made a good price increase earlier are once again increasing their sales by offering discount on the already inflated price. So where is the real discount to the customers? I do not see any discount to the buyers and consumers.
Once we enter the year 2019, and the discounted sale offers expire, the prices will return back to their inflated level, whereas in fact they should have been taken back to their original level (original price level prior to the rise in exchange rates in the month of August).
But apart from all this, we all are busy going out for shopping daily, where we have come up with a totally new procedure. Yes, as you can guess, now we have to pay for the plastic bags in the markets. The government has taken this decision to reduce the consumption of plastic bags. I fully agree with this decision, as these plastic bags are the cause of too many problems . The more small and simple items these plastic bags look, the more and bigger problems they create.
It is good to see people slowly returning back to use of cotton canvas bags, which as a teenager I used to carry, during 1960s and 1970s when going out to markets.
My personal opinion is that the campaign against the plastic bags should be taken as the very first step towards a very long and difficult anti-plastic campaign. Plastic, which on one side has brought much ease in our daily lives, has also created many problems too. I personally believe that the use of plastic in the kitchen must be avoided. Glass and steel can easily replace the plastic boxes in our refrigerators, for securing the eatables. We must avoid heating our food in microwaves, in plastic containers.
There are too many fields where plastic has become a part of our daily lives. We must try to reduce that.
It is a long way to go, however the initial step to reduce use of plastic bags is one worthy commending step of the TRNC government.