Eid clothes for the elites

It isn’t surprising to see the word ‘sale’ stamped across stores during religious festivals. The world over from the West to the Middle East, retailers put their products on sale right before religious festivals are about to commence. In the US, Black Friday sale kick-starts the holiday season with weeks of sales leading up to Christmas and New Year’s eve. In India with huge Delhi-based retail outlets, weeks of sales as high as 70% before festivals, such as Navratri, is the norm.
But in Pakistan the retail industry distances itself from the word ‘sale’ during the last two weeks of Ramazan leading up to Eid. Recently, I asked a cashier at a leading clothing brand about their pre-Eid sale schedule, to which he calmly replied that the brand only goes on sale after Eid. But what really is the point then? How many of us would want to buy goods on sale after having already spent hefty amounts on Eid shopping? Almost all brands along with the small street vendors selling goods double the price just before Eid to earn profit from the increase in demand. Some retailers make as much as their annual revenue in just a few weeks before Eid.
In a country where the underprivileged are already unable to buy new clothes during Eid, increased prices on products make it difficult to shop for even the middle-class segment of society. Since clothes are sold to the upper class and profits are made, retailers don’t even think twice before applying this strategy. So while a few, handful of the population, will be able to flaunt their new clothes this Eid, many will resort to wearing their old clothes with their heads bowing in embarrassment without any fault of their own.
FAHEEM AHMED
Karachi

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