Superstore fever

Superstores are an integral part of modern life in developed countries and even in developing nations. The trend of going to superstores is a relatively new phenomenon in our country.

Going to the kitchen market to get everything fresh has been an age-old tradition. But with the hectic pace of modern life not to mention the impossible traffic jams have left many bazaar goers no choice but to opt for more convenient shopping.

To come to their rescue are the well lit, clean, well organised superstores that offer everything under one roof.

“ I do all my shopping from Agora,” gushes an animated Ayesha, a self confessed enthusiast of the new 'under one roof' shopping system. “It's all part of being modern. And it's very useful too especially with so much traffic clogging up the streets these days,” adds the newly married Ayesha.

Agora is just one of the shops in Bangladesh that has integrated the system of buy everything under one roof. And it has evolved into being more and more popular by the day as customers flock to the different centres buying everything from batteries to their groceries.

The super store is highly convenient. Because most customers can buy everything they want from there it saves them the cost of travelling to and fro from one place to another looking for places to buy what they are looking for. Almost all the products available at super stores are packed, processed and go through stringent quality control methods (or so they say!). This does a lot to convince the simple folk who still harbour the belief that anything that's packed has to be good! Also apart from the packed manufactured products, there are many home-made items that are found in packets.

Aside that however, even the slightly higher prices, rarely deter the average person from shopping in superstores. As Ayesha so ingeniously pointed out, what with the traffic jams these days it is almost guaranteed that getting everything from one place would be much cheaper than travelling to other places. The regular customers to the superstores include the expatriates who probably prefer the superstores where prices are fixed and so there is no need to haggle.

The service is very good most times and the staff is helpful. Add to that the fact that the shopping experience is carried out under an air-conditioned climate.

Customers also have the chance to browse through a wide range of products before choosing to buy something. In many cases you can even sample it. There is also a wide array of products on display, which means that you can look through five or six different brands before choosing to buy one.

There are however, a lot of people who still harbour the mentality of “stuff bought from the bazaar is the best” and also agree that there is ample difference in the prices too.The personal rapport between a customer and the salespeople at the local mudir dokan (small shop) cannot be replicated in the impersonal superstore. Many superstores goers have complained that the quality of fresh items such as fish meat and vegetables are not as good as what they get at the open markets.

Even so, the convenience of sashaying through the aisles and picking out the days, week's or month's groceries without a sweaty, smelly, grimy kacha bazaar experience is certainly luring many grocery shoppers to the superstores.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Photo: Munem Wasif

It's a convenience contest

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