I don’t know much about the markets in other hill regions like Kalimpong, Kurseong, Sikkim etc, but I am astounded and shocked to hear the prices of apparels in Darjeeling nowadays, as we say in our lingo “Tarsiney daam”.
Many writers have referred Darjeeling as the fashion capital of Bengal, and I strongly believe that the shop owners in Darjeeling have made a fortune selling fashion items.
Let’s come to the point, recently I wanted to buy a Jacket and a Track Pant so I went to a shop (I don’t want to defame any shop owner so I won’t mention the name of the shop) actually I went to a couple of shops and I was shocked to hear the prices, the Jacket cost me around Rs. 8000 to Rs. 9000 and the track pant around Rs. 2200.
By now everyone must be thinking ” tyo at normal ho/ thikai ho”. I would have considered the price reasonable if I was standing in a branded shop, looking at the regulated price tag and expecting a bill in return for my purchase, but there is a big BUT in this case, these items are neither branded nor they have any tag on them and as always they won’t provide us with a bill for the item, by bill I mean an original bill not just an estimate voucher, there is a huge difference. And I believe if we ask them to show their purchase slip they won’t have any.
In my village, I have seen a poor dad trying to meet the want of his daughter as she wanted a boot for the winter coaching class, but again the price of a boot cost him around Rs. 3000. This kind of people is becoming victims of the scam of false pricing that is going on around in Darjeeling.
So who is to be blamed?
I’m afraid we all are, I don’t know why we are so lazy, afraid or ignorant to ask for a bill of purchase? We might see it as a piece of paper but this small thing is a very important document, it can verify the proper price of an article, force a shopkeeper to show the sale in his books of accounts, pay proper tax to the government, and also guarantee us to return the article if found damaged.
But as we fail to do our part they can practice monopoly and charge us with any price they want.
If we become proactive against asking a bill in return and change our habits, I believe this simple act of asking for an original bill can change the course of the shopping culture in Darjeeling and I believe the prices will be reasonable again.
Writes: Ningma Tamang