Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hawkers and their wares

I was walking near about the Bangalore railway station area a few days back. As usual it was crowded with a lot of hawkers near the bus stand. There is a significant difference between what they sold a few years back to what they sell these days. I had observed a similar difference in the Bombay local train hawkers and to a smaller extent on long distance trains as well.

Earlier they used to sell plastic items, small steel items, curios and stuff like that - mostly made locally. Today it is mobile phone covers, electronic earphones, headsets, small use and throw electronic thingamajigs that beep when you get a call on the mobile and suchlike - and most of these are not of local make.

Wonder who supplies these items? At what cost? What must be production cost of these items if they can make their way to India through multiple agents and finally be sold by a hawker who earns his living out of it?

2 comments:

Prasanth said...

I think most of these items (especially the fancy blinking variety) are made in China though 1 have seen some of the stuff branded "Made As China" which basically are Indian made stuff masquerading as Chinese stuff !!

I have also wondered about their actual cost of production - after all, if it has to be sold say for 5 or 10 Rs here, it should be very low in the first place. I'm almost certain that these are smuggled into India without paying any duties or charges which helps to keep the prices low.

Regards,

Prasanth

Neelakantan said...

Smuggling is of course a possibility, but I was thinking who would go through the trouble of smuggling cheap earphones and stuff like that?

And then, of course, a lot of stuff does get counterfeited in India itself. A lot of Made in China stuff is actually made in India itself. More on that some other time!