Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Shopping not yet done? Don't panic!

Eid is a festival that has become synonymous with new 'stuff' whether that may be clothes, the latest gadgets, footwear and what not. Muslims seem to forget that the main point of Eid is not be the best dressed, the flashiest or the richest - it's to celebrate the end of Ramadan with relatives and friends and with good food. However we won't go into that here. Since most of us do look forward to Eid to mainly buy new clothes, sometimes you end up not having bought any with Eid just a few days or even(shudder!) a few hours away. What do you do then?

Here are a few tips you could follow to help lower your trials and tribulations 'cause believe me shopping at this time will be no less than hell: -

1. Go where the good stuff is: Most of you already know that cheaper (not necessarily bad quality) can be found at places of a haggler's paradise like Chandi Chawk and Gausia. However during Eid, the shopkeepers try not to maintain that much of a difference and you can reduce the price by a significant amount if you're a strong haggler. Although this Eid, I'm not seeing much of a difference between areas like Chandi Chawk and shopping malls like Rapa and Bashundhara City 'because they both seemed to filled with voracious shoppers at all times, haggling is needed to be done and the same type of clothes may be found. However many say that at Chandi Chawk and Elephant Road there are much more choices whereas less tolerant advocates say malls are better cause they have an air-conditioning system. It's really your preference.

2. Try to avoid as much traffic as possible: Now that Ramadan is coming to an end and shoppers are starting to reveal their hideous faces, roads seems to be jammed all the time. However, try to take advantage of that beautiful time right after Iftar when the roads seem clear or early morning on Friday and Saturday. Other than that take a lot of time on your hands when you do go shopping 'because you'll probably have to spend 25% of your time on the roads.

3. Be accommodating: You have your heart set out on a gorgeous red shalwar kameez that you saw in this shop the other day. You can't get it out of your mind and you know that's what you want. You go back a few days before Eid and you find it gone. Completely vamoosed. And there's no other stock of that outfit. Shops will obviously run out of some clothes during this time; one thing to do (If you have time) is to look around more, perhaps go to another mall. But if you are pressed for time then it's just better to pick something from what the shops are carrying. Clothes that are the latest trend tend to sell like hot cakes and the most popular ones are priced the highest. Try to find something else that catches your eye.

4. Tune your haggling and acting skills: It's not possible to avoid being skinned of your money if you don't know how to haggle. Shopkeepers are the epitome of cunning and they just how to extract that last 500 taka from you pocket. When you like something in your mind, don't Ever express it. Pretend it's something smelly out of the dustbin. Casually ask the price. Look around some more. Come back to that one piece as if you can't believe you're considering that 'thing' again but are being forced to. The salesman will probably have figured out by now that you have a penchant for that clothe. Fire away a price that's half of what he asked for at first. He'll obviously fall from the sky and make a lot of dissenting noises saying how this outfit is the most popular and how it's exported from here and there and the material is unpurchasable anywhere else etc. Pretend not to listen and say the same price again. He'll raise it. You lower it. He'll raise it again. The cycle continues until you think you pretend to be leaving and then he'll finally give you his last price. If you think it's satisfactory buy it! And always make sure that you check the clothes completely to see that there are no hidden holes or stains. Prices tend to remain fixed the day before Eid but that's just a generalization. Usually shops at big malls don't bargain at the last minute but if a shop has seen bad sales then it may reduce the price by a lot.

5. Be aware of pickpockets, 'butt pinchers', chest grabbers' and chronic pushing Regardless of whether you're male or female, you have to be very very careful of the above groups. Put your wallet in the front pocket of your jeans and purse on your shoulder hug it at all times. Unfortunately there's no protection against the butt pinchers or chest grabber because you will be moving in a crowd the whole day. It's a tragic hazard that comes along with shopping and it's not only limited to girls. Guys are harassed as well. You will also be pushed and elbowed a lot so take it in your stride and push them back as well. Leave your manners behind and don't be afraid to protect yourself and your clothes by elbowing others. That's it for now. Be wary of terrifying, ruthless shoppers, wily greedy salesmen and agile, perverted persons. Go and find that dream outfit for Eid!

By Nisma Elias
Photo Munem Wasif

It's a battlefield out there

Ramadan is supposed to be the holy month during which we practice tolerance, resist temptation and exercise patience when dealing with others. Finally after a month of successfully carrying out these challenging practices we are to be rewarded with one joyous day of celebrations...EID! Ironically we get so obsessed with our preparations (which basically consist of ostentatious shopping) of Eid that we forget all about the virtuous practices for which Eid is the final reward.... count on us self indulgent, shallow 'intelligent beings' to miss the point entirely.

The places where people's absolute disregard for humanity becomes most evident are the market places. The degrees of offence that people tend to throw at you ranges from minor to seriously major. However, there is no use crying over spilt milk (in this case spilt milk being people's conscience), rather we should learn to come to terms with the hard facts of the 'spirit of Eid' (mainly the fact that there is no such thing) and plan out personal survival strategies accordingly.

The Invisible Mass- This is the collective force consisting of all the other shoppers who are in perpetual haste to buy everything there is, and hence will obliterate all those who dare obstruct its way. It is also under the ridiculous impression that its components (the shoppers) can push you from behind in order to make you go faster! Almost all those who are not a part of The Mass find themselves victimized by its belligerence. So Defense Tactic #1- If you cant beat 'em join 'em. While walking position your hands so that the hands face outwards, as if to block, while elbows are bent and pointed outwards so that any sort of attack results in a well deserved injury of the external force.

The Spit Master- If you thought that the scene of people spitting right and left when looked at from a distance is disgusting, wait till you get a look up close and personal! In crowded markets, where people are exhausted and thirsty from their exertions of buying themselves luxuries, some find solace in..... spitting. After looking around for a good spot they come and conveniently spit two inches away from your foot causing icky spit globules to rebound from the ground onto your precious pedicured feet. Defense Tactic #2 - as soon as you see a person bent over, don't let your curiosity get the better of you, just run in the opposite direction.

Rip-off- The shop keepers all look like very amiable trustworthy people who would look out for your best interest. Well they HAVE to seem like that otherwise they'd fail their EDS (Exam of Deception for Salesmen). In reality none of their words can be trusted. What they term as 'kena dam' now might as well have been the asking price before Eid. They give fifty percent discounts on prices that have been marked up three times their original price thus resulting is a final 'discounted' price that is actually twice the old price. So what does one do in this market where producers are sovereign? Try and get the best bargain. Financial Defense Tactics (save that wallet)- The 'walk away' technique is the an all time tried and tested technique with desirable results. Another technique is talking about other markets (usually non-existent) where prices are lower. Due to prevailing information asymmetry between markets and the hurting of sensitive salesmen pride, you might just come out of it with a good deal. Going on an off peak hour has its rewards as well, but to make the best of the opportunity it's important to go through the shopping list quickly, and the first step to that is... make out a shopping list.

These are a few tips and pointers that may help you live through the last minute shopping this Eid. A better understanding of people and situation around you will help you to better deal with them. The concept that must be understood here is that there is not no such thing as an 'Eid spirit', at least not when you're in a shopping area.

By Aniqa Moinuddin

The Night Watch

Do you ever wish you could go back?”

The rhetorical question sent ripples through the assorted cliques hanging in the campus lounge; most of us in our senior year, standing on the bring of graduation.

“If you could, would you change anything?”

Oh boy. Wouldn't I…

The piles of assignments and exam review material stared accusingly at me, and I wished I had Hermione's little time-shifter that'd let me go back and forth between the past and present just to get through my workload. Finally giving up, I decided to steal some me-time with a book and clear my head. Who better to curl up with than my darling Vimes?

Night Watch is the 29th Discworld novel, and the 7th in the City Watch series, taking up where Fifth Elephant left off. An anxious Samuel Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, is expecting the birth of his firstborn on the anniversary of the Revolution, when a freak accident involving a psychopath, a knife and a bolt of lightning, Vimes is transported back into the past, where he is thrown in the slammer by a younger and more inexperienced version of himself.

As it happens every time someone goes back in time (right, like it happens everyday), Vimes has disrupted the pattern of history, and John Keel, his mentor and hero is now dead. The older Vimes must now take on Keel's identity, teach his younger self how to be a good copper, lick an ailing Night Watch into shape, and catch the criminally insane John Carcer who has travelled back in time with him.

Slightly grittier than many of the other Discworld novels, this one looks at what corruption and mismanagement can do to an institution. Pratchett captures the mood of the storm gathering as the Revolution approaches, and also goes over the grim bits as he talks about police brutality. There's an unbeatable coolness about Vimes that makes this novel such an interesting read. As he gets comfortable in the shoes of John Keel, we see him beginning to relish his role, having missed all the action of a copper's life when he became the Duke of Ankh Morpokh. We also get a glimpse of the young Havelock “Dog-botherer” Vetinari before he became the Patrician. An interesting thriller, it gathers pace as it goes along, and ends with an explosive finish, and since this is Pratchett after all, he manages to shock you into laughter when you're least expecting.

I started off by being jealous of Vimes because he got a chance to go back, to try and change things, but I was left wondering whether or not things aren't fine the way they are. Intelligent, witty, and thought-provoking, this is the perfect way to spice up a lazy afternoon.

By Sabrina F Ahmad




home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star