Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Smooching Great Deal

Way back in the late 1980’s, my dad opened a grocery shop using proceeds from his golden handshake a few years earlier. Nothing fanciful; the shop was just an extension of the single-storey house we were living in.

He’d stock up every few weeks or so the dry stuffs, and two-days once or less for the perishable items like fish, chicken, veges etc.

I helped out a bit whilst waiting for my SPM results. Cashier, cooking gas deliverer, afternoon shift shopkeeper – it was a family business after all.

The business never did prospered; not helped by my irresponsible eating of the snacks and what not during my shifts, amongst many, many grocery-shops sins (sorry, Dad!).

Then again, though, profit margins for grocery shops are never that big anyway. If I can remember, dad got his extra to cover costs etc not only from the cheaper bulk buying price but also the extra items for every purchase. Buy 40 get 5 extra, so the additional covers my, ahem, siphoning.

Anyway, the shop died a natural death soon after both mom and dad went for their Haj. I think dad just got tired over the whole serving the folks thing as he was afterwards so active with his congregation.

Thoughts of the family’s once grocery store came back when I read of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia’s supposed ability to sell at 30-40% lower than market prices, while having a spanky setup complete with bar coding cash register, smiling uniformed-attired shop assistants and QUALITY stuffs to boot.

Wow. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this is ever possible.

Huge margins are usual for high end items as these goes on brand names unlike groceries. Even the much vaunted hypermarkets which a Parliamentarian claim as hastening the death of small Pa Ma (Mom Dad?) shops could only cut so much from their pricing.

30 to 40% for ALL items is…. I don’t know what it is.

All well and fine for the Rakyat, perhaps, to be able to buy a RM6.20 can of sardine for RM2.99 (round it up to RM3 la) and I suppose, yeah, bulk-buying, no-frills-simple packaging could REALLY shed the difference while providing a decent profit to cater for the overheads.

Either that or someone’s operating a charity.

No comments: