Monday, September 08, 2008

From Shopping Frenzy To Burning Malls

Those living in Chennai would be very familiar with Ranganathan Street and its outrageous shopping crowds. I don't know about the others, but i simply hate those crowds over there...! I have never gone there to buy anything for myself. The only reason i go there is to buy some gift for some one's brother's or sister's wedding...!! Ah well... so its tough to move inch by inch in the swarming crowds, and then occasionally someone will shout in your ear, or step on your foot or brush their sweaty body against you... eeeww. I am always sacred of the possibility of someone sneezing at such close proximity to me..!! And if this wasn't enough, you have to be careful of your wallet, phone and other stuff in your pockets too...! Anyway, when i tell this to people, they say that I am being too snobby and that i should try to go along with the flow...! yeah right... Say what you want, but all this just sickens me..!!

Though i didn't want to raise this, fearing some protests from certain quarters of the society, i believe ( just by mere observation ) that its usually the women-folk who are more keen towards shopping. Well, at least the ads seem to be targeting them more than men. I suppose its the women who are their potential gold mines for them. Apparently men are mostly there for company or to carry the shopping bags and for using their credit cards maybe. Or shopping for the wife, or for the anniversary last week which he forgot. And maybe occasionally shop for a few stuff for himself too. Anyway, I could be wrong too, and being a bit too harsh on women. But this is not what i want to discuss in this post....

As it may seem, with people's increased purchasing capacity, shopping is sort of a ritual. Any festival or occasion is a good excuse to draw in people. Each and every festival is seen as a marketing opportunity. Announcing discounts seems to get their attention and it most certainly drives in huge hordes of people. Excellent Bait..! Oh and the amount of money they spend on the making of the ads is phenomenal too..! A great way to influence simple minds: use small cute kids, good looking models, a few old people, and a reluctant man ( husband ) if required ( who later agrees what a great deal it was ). 

Well then quite obviously the shops have to make room for the horde, to accommodate whom they go on to build multi storied shopping complex which blatantly defy building norms. An approval would be obtained for building 6 floors which will be openly violated by building an additional two floors. No proper safety rules are observed, which are supposed to be mandatory in all public buildings.

These are potential death traps with accidents just waiting to happen. Unfortunately we wake up only after the alarm bells ring ( purely a metaphor, as most of these shops don't have alarms ). The recent incident was just a minor one compared to how big a catastrophe that it could have led to. If the fire had happened during the afternoon or evenings on a weekend, then who knows how much carnage it could have led too. It wouldn't even be the fire which would have killed many, but rather the impending chaos and stampede. Its being told that the shop lacked even basic fire safety mechanisms. And such mechanisms are to be formulated during the approval of the plan itself, and then implemented in the building. That obviously didn't happen. 

Blaming the shop owner for it seems to be most appropriate, but is it? Why not some of the municipal and corporation officials who let the sub standard building come up under their noses, share a part of the blame too. After all it was built in one of the main centres of the city and not in some isolated jungle where no one could see it. Who knows how much money was stuffed into the pocket of an official, or how many silk Saree or jewellery their wives would have got as a "gift".

I guess its the fierce competition amongst so many shop owners that they just see their profits as the lone goal, forgoing issues such as safety and precautions. I do hope that people take the recent incident as a lesson and take steps to prevent any such incidents to reoccur. Umm... well lets all hope this happens soon, because there have been really horrific incidents in public buildings in the past, but very little was done about it later on. Anyway, i bet people have a very good reason for such a frantic shopping exercise.  So safety or no safety, people will still throng to these places and worship them. All it would take is the announcement of an X% sale..!

In a country where there are millions who don't get even one square meal a day, a few people spending thousands or lakhs shopping on just one day, seems a bit too discomforting. Now you might say that by buying the goods they are providing food for the poor artisans. But seriously, if the artisans  get a good margin of the profits then i will be most happy. The reality is that in spite of the huge demand, the artisans continue to be poor because these shop owners keep a good margin of profits for themselves. I know charity is not a natural behaviour, but still its worth a thought, that the price of one silk saree is probably what a poor fellow somewhere may earn in an entire year. So, think about it...


Visu said...

Ah yes, I couldn't even imagine the debris, if it had happened on a day time. Oh man!
And why is that no one wonders how saravana sells goods for such a cheap price? One of my dad's friend who is a reported said that most of them are fake! And also, there is a lot of fake currency notes circulation. The worst place in the whole of tamilnadu!
Still he manages to escape the law, money again!! As you said, these ppl will realise only after some loss. Ah hell, the place is worse than a fish market. (Remember when we went there once? Eeeewk.) :(

srinivasan said...

Yeah its for getting some money via insurance da. Don't belive all these things. But the sad news is that 2 of them died in this. Don't know what's plan.

Aslam said...

Well.. i think they have lost a good number of customers because of this.. i dont think they would have pulled off this for insurance..

also i think this is the Onam shopping time...! This would have certainly made a dent in their reputation... at least for a short time... people however will soon forget..

Visu said...

NO bloody insurance for an illegally raised structure !!! People will get arrested soon !

Aslam said...

Yes i remember the day we went there. Just about 100m and it took us nearly half an hour to go through... phew. :(

Oh and yeah.. i dont know if these illegal buildings have insurance in the first place... i certainly wont give them..!

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