LAHORE – Compared with previous years, Eid shopping has so far not gained momentum this year because of unaffordable prices of garments, which have forced most citizens to put on hold their shopping plans and instead manage other expenses, a survey conducted by TheNation reveals.

Although families are visiting City markets for shopping purposes as the Eid draws near, the majority of them are returning home after window-shopping because the high rates of displayed items are so scary that many on them do not even dare enter the shops.

This scribe observed many consumers returning empty-handed because they failed to bargain with the shopkeepers. However, some shoppers were trying to buy affordable products – particularly garment and footwear – only for their children because, understandably, they could not see displeasure on their innocent faces. For this purpose, the low-income people preferred visiting roadsides and footpath stalls.

The citizens blamed the government for the uncontrolled skyrocketing prices of even daily-use commodities, besides criticising the shopkeepers and traders who, they said, were fleecing the consumers on the eve of the religious festival.

Mehmmod Ahmad, a resident of Garhi Shahu, said he came with his children for shopping keeping in mind that shopkeepers usually raise prices near Eid and by visiting the market about two weeks before the festival he would be able to buy them clothes and shoes at reasonable prices. “But I am going back empty-handed because the prices have already soared too high,” he said with disappointment.

Ahmand said the government neither have any effective policy nor a mechanism to control the prices. He demanded the authorities focus on this important issue so that low-income segment of the society could also celebrate this religious festival with dignity.

Most of the consumers complained that the shopkeepers had increased prices of almost all products in violation of the rules and regulations and by ignoring all moral and social norms they were charging more than double the original price on different products, especially garments and shoes.

Another consumer, Malik Tayyab said he purchased a dress pent and shirt from Panorama Centre at Rs1,200 after bargaining while the shopkeeper was initially demanding Rs1,800 from him. He said this makes it clear that shopkeepers were trying to fleece masses; they squeeze the consumers’ pockets as much as they can.

One Falak Sher said he came for shopping for his whole family but due to high prices he could only buy shoes and clothes for his children. Consumer Imran said the shopkeepers, particularly those dealing in children garments, were deceiving the shoppers in the name of Eid Sale as they were actually selling the articles at prices much higher than the usual.

Some poor children were seen watching the colourful toys, shoes, garments and other showcased items. They would halt at a display cabin, watch at the luring articles and then move on with hopeless faces. Perhaps, they would learn soon that in this land of opportunists and corrupt such products were only for the children of the well-off.