Sunday, 07 October 2007
By Adel Al-Malki and Mohammed Al-Kinani
JEDDAH'S branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has set up a plan to monitor prices during Eid, responding to shoppers' complaints that stores are taking advantage of both Ramadan and Eid to raise prices, and even sell them products that are not genuine. The office has even started sending out inspectors to make sure prices are in their usual ranges.
Mohammed Al-Harbi, director of the branch, said that they want to make sure that items are available for people at a fair price, adding that a main objective is to check expiry dates.
"We also tour factories and warehouses to ensure consumers get safe products," he said.
Despite the rise in prices during Ramadan, Harbi expected that prices of Eid staples - confections, dates, beverages and even clothes - would be normal.
"We have more than 15 inspectors to watch markets beginning the last 10 days of Ramadan running through Eid," Harbi said.
He added that his inspection group works 24 hours a day, and that inspectors are authorized to seize any expired products.
Abdullah Mohammed, a shopper in Al-Bawadi Market, said he believed that the postponement of shopping until the last 10 days of Ramadan makes shoppers easy prey.
Umm Hani, 35, also complained that the majority of goods sold were supposedly brands but weren't.
"Many of the pieces we bought changed color as soon as the first washing ... in addition to the big differences in price this time of year, this "holiday season" is a game and a sham and a lie and propaganda to get rich off the backs of us shoppers," she said.