Saturday, October 07, 2006

The glorified flea market

I visited the much-glorified Saravana stores for the first time. It’s the shop, or rather, the middle class mall that generates footfalls which could easily be one of highest in India. And what can I say about my visit? Its nothing like any store that I've ever visited. No, I'm neither glorifying nor pulling it down. All I say is its very, very different.

Swarming with people - crying babies, shouting men, ogling boys and curious women, the shop is full of buzz that never seems to die down. Every section is full of 'hot' selling items suited to the mass. The implicit message seemed to be: If something isn't attracting crowds, and that in hundreds, or perhaps thousands, it’s off the shelf. Ten minutes into the shop, I was tired of being pushed around and constantly bombarding into people. It really is a flea market with marbled floor, Air Conditioning and lots of decks containing merchandise.

For all the volume of the crowd that throngs the place, it’s surprising to see not much of checks anywhere. Except for sparsely positioned personnel who scan the crowd, probably with the intention of finding people with a mischievous, impish face, there was no sign of metal detectors, frisking, or even video cameras [I might be mistaken here coz I didn't really going around searching for cameras]. Wonder how the whole security apparatus works. It would've been a totally different story had it been in some other city.

With so much going against it, how does the business tick? It didn't take me long to figure it out. Prices. I had obviously heard you get things at a low price here, but the reality is you get things very cheap. This store seems to have taken 'Everyday low prices' to a level that would wake up Sam Walton from his lumber. A sample check. The price of a Sony Ericsson Walkman mobile w550i was quoted as Rs. 10,800 whereabouts in a Viveks store that was around the corner. An online store listing gives a Rs. 10,600 quote. And Saravana stores quoted Rs. 9,900 whereabouts.

But then, after all this, there isn't anything remotely close to a shopping experience inside. You might have to squeeze through people, shout on top of your volume to reach the store guy, and if you are at the front of the queue, and surviving, you might get something at a low price. A very low price, mind you. There is no doubt I'd go there once in a while to check the prices and the market pulse and retailer margins and perhaps buy things cheap, but shopping certainly wouldn't be the word I'd use to describe the experience.

11 Comments:

At Sunday, October 08, 2006 10:12:00 PM, Anonymous Kanagu said...

True buddy. U can't call that as shopping. It is just a buying. That is the same case for all the shops in that street, Pothys, chennai silks, etc etc...The peak season of Diwali shopping is going to come. Try once going in to that street arounnd Diwali...u cant even walk in the street...:-)

 
At Monday, October 09, 2006 9:11:00 AM, Anonymous Govar said...

Yeah.. thats part of my plans. Would visit the place around Diwali...

 
At Monday, October 09, 2006 4:36:00 PM, Blogger Jam said...

Hey Govar,

Welcome to the wonderful world of shopping in Chennai. Man, any place worth its salt in Chennai where people shop, you are gonna get mobbed. Forget the whole shopping experience, customer friendliness. All you can expect is a good price and .. and .. well, that's pretty much all you can expect.

Cheers.........Jam

 
At Tuesday, October 10, 2006 9:47:00 AM, Blogger Jammy said...

Let me know of the next time when you plan to visit that place. I would also love to check out the experience.

 
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At Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:13:00 PM, Blogger Bharat Jhurani said...

Well.. welcome 2 the world of MALLS in INDIA.. its jus the ename tht sticks otherwise, its all the same.. Ofcourse in an air-conditioned, marble-floored building....!!!

 
At Friday, October 13, 2006 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

saravana's will give Walmart a run for their money ;)

 
At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Karuna said...

Go,

Forget the phone you bought. Think of something people buy every Month. If you get most of those at half rates wont you travel to Saravana once every month, buy monthly needs and go back? Its a perfect Vegetable market startergy? Comfort or cost?

And about security, Iam not sure of the new saravana... But go to the old saravana, pick something and walk out without paying... and you'll See what happens. There aren't any RF-ID tags... But those guys aren't looking for obvious theifs... They are extremely well trained spotters.

And one more inside info. The Value of stolen goods every month at saravana stores doesn't demand any other security implementation. Its a difference of paise's and crore's...

 
At Friday, October 20, 2006 12:31:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

@Bharat: I beg to differ. I've been to some good malls in Mumbai... where you can actually like the shopping experience.

@Karuna: Im not questioning their business model. Not at all. I'm just observing. :)

 
At Friday, October 20, 2006 12:31:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

@Bharat: I beg to differ. I've been to some good malls in Mumbai... where you can actually like the shopping experience.

@Karuna: Im not questioning their business model. Not at all. I'm just observing. :)

 
At Saturday, May 12, 2007 9:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey friends,
i went to saranana stores,wat a fascinatng experience i had, no wecoming attitude, treated rudely by the sales person and this shop spoils the

 

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