STREET SHOPPING- a fading tradition
Street shopping has been an integral part of a Mumbaikar’s life. Youngsters, especially college-going students would hang around streets that have hawkers selling clothes and check the latest collection that has come, some in fashion and some starting a fashion statement. It was during those times when there was no Palladium or VAMA would be too expensive, that street shopping would be the best and only alternative. Some street stalls that still exist and are hotspots for many shoppers are Colaba Causeway and Andheri Lokhandwala. Fashion Street is another shopper’s paradise, which is among the places one must visit, when on a Mumbai trip. The products that are sold by these hawkers are those that are rejected by conscious importers. No wonder, hawkers try selling it to us, like it is the original product, because the fact is that it is the original, which is just rejected (we act aloof to it at most times).
This form of Retail Therapy is considered to be an enthralling one. The excitement of reaching the destination to shop would be almost like an adrenaline rush. Looking for things that you want to buy, especially when you have something in your mind and finally getting it would make you feel like an achiever. At times when you find something, that you didn’t have in mind and that makes you go ‘WOW, I can’t believe I found it!’ would make you feel like an archaeologist who stumbles upon an artifact. Street Shopping has its beauty that can only be experienced.
The excitement, searching, bargaining, bulk buying and spending less (which makes you feel like the Ultimate Winner!) seems like a tradition , a tradition that has been there for long and is now gradually fading away. With places such as Pantaloons, High Street Phoenix and various other malls coming up with various sales and methods to attract customers from all classes, many prefer to buy clothes and accessories from shops, where they can try clothes and buy them off sales. With people getting more and more brand conscious, clothes are not the important factor, but it is the brand that has more value. Unfortunately, people also have this misconception that if one buys from a shop or a mall their standard of living or life style may get boosted.
People have been dealing with certain inconveniences caused by hawkers and their stalls, because of which, action has been taken against them. A few months back, Bandra Linking road stalls were removed, due to construction work. Due to the residents complaining about hawkers causing inconvenience, many street stalls were removed as well. In another incident, the entire Colaba Causeway stalls were cleared, during Pratibha Patil’s Mumbai visit, as many of these stalls were illegal and also they wanted the streets to look ‘hawker-free’. Reasons like these crops up every now and then, making hawkers move away. One of the reasons why these stalls are surviving yet, are by bribing the policemen.
Few places such as Fashion Street, where hawkers have licenses are the reasons for the existence of street shopping in Mumbai. An activity that was more like a tradition that people- rich or poor; high class, middle class or low class, everyone has done it, is currently on a tete-o- totter. In order to get these available and organised, measures should be taken by hawkers, starting off with getting a license. All the necessary document work should be done and required permission taken. With the constant appearance and disappearance act by hawkers, it doesn’t seem like it will be long, when all of it would be rare sight to see.