Prime the pump
February 15, 2022
Feeling exposed as a consumer

I am home grown, born and bred, but I am often told that I have an aura about me. Some people say I look foreign, others say I look rich. It could be because of 15 years of influence on the land of the rich and famous and the few subsequent years I spent abroad; nevertheless I am paying dearly for that “aura.” The overwhelming feedback on last week’s article reiterates that many people like me, experience price discrimination because of their perceived wealth. One reader describes the actions of some entrepreneurs as a “don’t come back mentality.”

In a CNN Business article titled “Income inequality: Hunger down the block from wealth.” A pair of economists point out that charging the same amount no matter the shopper’s income only increases the wealth gap and represents lost revenue for the store as shoppers in wealthier neighbourhoods might pay more for items on their grocery list, while poorer customers might be able to afford more items if prices decreased. However, to defraud people based on their accent, attire, the vehicle they drive or where they live/work is wrong.

Do you remember long ago how a pair of shoes used to last us years? Some of you are guilty of secretly destroying your shoes because you were fed-up of wearing them. These days the life expectancy of the products being offered is disgracefully short. I was elated when I learnt that a certain franchise was in St. Vincent. It was one that I patronised overseas so I was pleased that finally their products were available locally. They started out with a bang, but their service and products have waned. A couple years ago, I realised that certain designers stiletto heels were disintegrating within a few months right at the area where the material joined. The sole of the shoes would be in good condition but the thread at the joint will loosen. Last year I had two pairs of shoes same designer, same colour, same style only about three months old but unwearable. In late November, I visited the establishment, voiced my observation and bought another pair and by mid-December the thread had loosen and my $119 investment had to be discarded.

It got me thinking about the role of the Consumer Affairs Department and what right if any did I the consumer have. So, I googled “Consumers Affairs Department SVG.” I did not find a department’s website, instead, I found a post under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs titled “Consumers Responsibilities.” Here’s an excerpt:

  • Along with knowing their rights, it is the responsibility of each and every consumer to ensure that they are protected.
  • The RESPONSIBILITY of carrying out transactions in a businesslike way, such as reporting unsatisfactory products to retailers and manufacturers in order that they may be removed from shelves and future production.
  • The RESPONSIBILITY of demanding the best value for money.
  • Want value for money? Join an Action Group and let your voice be heard.

I felt exposed as a consumer. Subsequently, I tried contacting the department via telephone, but the call went unanswered.

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