र र र र र Costs / prices in India

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र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:19 pm

Visited India after many years (specifically, after the outburst of "outsourcing" operations in the last decade).

Found the shift in prices & costs of items / services to be quite interesting. (Though I kind of knew it from many sources, to experience it personally was funny in every scenario).

Would like to discuss about it here Smile

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:34 pm

Some blA-blA before starting the specifics...

Most Indian people (i.e. including me) tend to convert to र when they visit abroad / start living abroad - each time they visit a store or pay for something.

For e.g. when I tried to get tea at a cafe (means a glass of hot water and a tea bag Laughing) in 1995 when visiting USA, the typical response was "Ah, oru tee 35 roobAyA?" Smile
(Remember, the "completed tea, with milk & sugar" was sold in a typical Indian tea shop for ~ र 1 those days, so an American "tea" of $1 costed 35 times higher, in one's mind).

However, when people live abroad for a number of years, such "converting-to-र" mentality goes away and they simply stop caring. Their mind starts telling them that a coffee or a tea typically costs "one buck". They no longer convert into र and wonder how much more expensive it is in Indian terms etc.

Regardless, a typical Indian living abroad, still considers prices / costs of items each time they make a purchase or get a service paying a lot more attention than a typical local fellow. This can be easily observed during the conversations among people of Indian origin abroad as to frequent occurence of terms such as "sale" "deals" "discount" etc.

That being the background, it has to be in the back of the mind of any NRI visiting India, to do some kind of "conversion / comparison" etc.


Last edited by app_engine on Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:54 pm

Many people warned me about how worthless र 100 is in India today.

Regardless, I wanted to find out myself if that is so.

So, at the first stop - Mumbai Intl Airport - I wanted to try, when tipping the bus fellow (who transported me and bags from there to the Domestic terminal).

Unfortunately, the "$ to र conversion" fellow gave me all र 500 notes Embarassed

So, I had to use an alternative of two $1 bills ($1 is around र 60 and $2 should be approx. equivalent of र 100).

The guy who threw my two heavy bags into the stomach of the bus very happily accepted $2. Hmmm, looks like र 100 is not too bad after all.

Repeated the same $2 for the other guy who wanted some money when taking the bags out of the bus at domestic termnial. He smiled and thanked - not sure if it was simply politeness or he was really happy with the money or whatever.

Well, while it was not very conclusive about the value of र 100, at the minimum, $2 is still appreciated in India Wink

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:33 pm

Price of bottled water
---------------------
Everyone advised me not to be adventurous...and stick to ONLY bottled water.

"You've lived away from home for too long, your immunity is at its worst and don't even try tap water" was one advice. Another was "Not even locals drink tap water, so don't think you can survive".

Well, even here in USA, ever since we moved to a house from apt, we're mostly on bottled water (which is inexpensive - costs less than 10 cents for a 500 ml bottle if bought in Sam's - 40 pack for less than $4...in other words, half litre costs as low as र 6 in USA, if purchased in bulk). Of course, convenience stores sell it for as high as a $ and it is not unreasonable to assume that half litre water costs between र6 & र60 in the USA.

So, how was it in India? Well, I was so thirsty right at the airport, when arriving at domestic terminal of Mumbai (possibly the effect of alcohol on Etihad flight Laughing ) and was looking to get a bottle.

One store advertised र20 and the fellow promptly refused to give me, telling "no change for र500 note" Smile

WOW, I was getting elated - that र500 note is after all not too low, there are still outlets that cannot give you change for that note!




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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:23 am

I've decided to check-in my huge bags to the domestic flight before attempting to get that bottled water Embarassed(Too much of a burden to keep dragging them around).

There came the jolt - of an "excess baggage" thingy of 30 kg (domestic airline allows only 15 kg it seems) for which IndiGo asked for र7500 ( र250 per kilo).

The girl anticipated my irritation and had already written down the "call-center number" for me call and get a lower cost Shocked

That means I had to get a "calling card" to use the pay phone.

There awaited a pleasant surprise for me Smile

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:16 pm

The book store guy (at Mumbai airport, book stores sell calling cards that can be used in public phones) told me that I need not consider buying a र 50 card as that is "too much" and should just get a र 20 card Shocked

Here I was thinking that every cost in India had shot up and I should be spending र 500 notes like flood (and the domestic airliner reinforced that belief) is experiencing something totally different! 

Somebody tells me not to bother getting a र 50 calling card but instead settle for र 20 card!
(That I ignored his advice and got the र 50 one anyways proved to be good for me as the call center guy had me on the call for simply too long).

In the whole deal, I found out the sweet truth that PHONE COSTS IN INDIA HAVE DROPPED LIKE ANYTHING in the last decade.

For example, after getting a र 150 / kg "deal" for the domestic air travel and paying र 4500 for the 30 kg "excess baggage" I brought (because I had international travel within 24 hours prior, IndiGo cut down the cost from र 250 to र 150 I was told...thus saving me र 3000), and after drinking that र 20 bottled water, I decided to call family at USA using that calling card.

From the Mumbai airport pay phone, it costed me ONLY र 1.99 per minute for an USA call! (During ancient times, we paid र1 per each second for any international call!).

Interestingly, I later used a cell phone given by my sis from which I could make calls to USA for just र 1 per minute!

So, while many costs have gone up in India, PHONE CALL costs have COME DOWN sharply! (Thanks to tech, thanks to policies, thanks to competition - whatever)!

People can have cell phones for र 2000, get them subscribed for abnormally low costs each month and on top of it, use cards to call abroad for as low as र 1 per minute!

Under such conditions, I found it really funny to think of the "1.8 lac crore oozhal" being the major talk of the country in the last few years...

Coming from telecom roots, I was proud to have worked in that segment from 1986-2002 in various capacities - that have resulted in phone service being so inexpensive & reliable in the country! Collar lift Smile

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  Usha on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:49 pm

app,
romba azhaga analysis seidhu irukeenga.. Really NIce........ pl contine........

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:21 pm

nanRi Usha chEchi!

Phone costs (I mean not skype or magic jack or some other IP device stuff but simple cell phone / pay phone / calling card kind of calling) are so low in India that I never bothered to use my regular Verizon CDMA phone!

(Interestingly, the Verizon CDMA iPhone had roaming working in India, though I used it only for taking some unusual incoming ones. It didn't work in Netherlands - a GSM phone would have helped there).

So, it is safe to conclude that phone costs in India have come down drastically in the last decade!

From what it was so high at र60 per minute...to so low - as low as र1 per minute!

Less by 50 times or better, even accounting for subscription charges!

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:01 pm

Perhaps the most significant INCREASE in prices in India during the last decade (besides real estate) must be on "prepared food items"! (Sold in restaurants and other outlets).

Of course, I should not purely cite airport / airline experience to come to this conclusion and I did not Smile

However, to maintain chronological order (and thus to make my recall easy), let me start it with the Mumbai domestic terminal.

While airports used to be traditionally more expensive in selling coffee / tea (i.e. typically at 3 star hotel levels), it was quite irritating to get served hot water for र 120, calling it "coffee" Shocked
(On top of this, the outlet had some multinational name as well Embarassed)

Well, my objective was to get some typical "Indian chAi" but that being not available (the fellow offered me hot water and tea bag that I promptly refused), I had switched to coffee and was irritated with the quality and the westernised way - asking me to add cream / sugar etc.

Unfortunately, there was not a single outlet that sells the traditional Indian coffee or tea, in an Indian airport - where 99.9% of the passengers I saw were agmark Indians.

Sad and outrageous!

Well, let me switch to something on the +ve side - there was this Thamizh speaking vendor who was selling uruLaikkizhangu bOndA with chutney!

Those two bOndAs for र 60 were great & filling! Based on my otherwise experiences of food prices in the trip, I think that र 60 was very reasonable!

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:26 pm

Hospitality in domestic airline
----------------------------
This is strictly not र $ stuff, but closely linked to it and hence needs to be placed in this thread.

I've earlier posted about how IndiGo's luggage cost was phenomenal (the charge they first asked for 30 kg of luggage was higher than the passenger fare itself - र 7500 and later they revised to र 4500 which was still significant).

I thought that was probably the only way the domestic airline tries to mimick kuppai U.S. airline companies (like Spirit airlines for e.g.).

Well, it proved otherwise - that in every way, it either meets or exceeds the kuppai levels of U.S. domestic carriers Embarassed

Obviously, I was not expecting the "mahArAjA" treatment of a decade before - when there was only Indian Airlines and Jet airways, who served lunch even for a 30 min flight between Bangalore-Chennai and were pampering passengers like anything.

However, to be not given EVEN WATER or a PEPSI exceeds all the kuppai standards set by U.S. domestic airlines!

Essentially, the Indian "air-hostess" has become merely a sales girl, trying to sell coffee / tea / biscuits Laughing
(i.e. besides being a matron - asking people to buckle up, sit straight etc.)

What a fall in the hospitality standards of the country Sad

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:56 pm

Petrol prices in India have relatively COME DOWN!

Some may get irritated with my statement above (especially if they have gas-guzzler cars in India) but I have to call a spade a spade Smile

Though I kind of knew it, I was pleasantly surprised when the driver filled in petrol for our car in Kovai. It was just around र 70 for one litre!

Often people blame the price increase of petrol / diesal for ALL OTHER prices increases in India - right from vengAyam to thakkALi, because all these are supposedly getting transported.

Today, in India, the petrol price is pretty much in line with everywhere else in the world but prices of food items have skyrocketed.

Now, when I say COME DOWN, I don't mean in absoulte terms. I'll be a fool to say so. It's pretty obvious that prices were around र 35 for a litre ten years back and now it is roughly DOUBLE.

But, it has ONLY DOUBLED while it has  almost TRIPLED  in USA! i.e. When I came to Atlanta in April 2003, it was around $1.3 per gallon and now it is close to $4 per gallon. (1 gallon = 3.78541 litres)

That too, while trade for crude happens internationally in $ and र had got heavily devalued in these years w.r.t $ and one has to dish out double र र to get the same one $!

That way, the petrol price increase is ONLY due to $ rate and nothing much to inflation at all! Practically zero inflation of petrol prices for 10 years in India - despite jump in economy, increase in petrol consumption, increase in population, increase in cars, no new peroleum resources in country etc!

That is a miracle!!!

Let me look at the Michigan petrol price of today - $3.5 a gallon which when converted into litres is $0.924 per litre, means र 56.88 in today's $-र conversion rate of 61.52!

WOW, Detroit sells petrol at ALMOST Coimbatore prices! Huge price increase in USA during the last decade - 3 times - while hardly any change in India (except import price change due to $ conversion rate)!

I am going to hit any Chennai or Kovai guy if he complains about petrol price hike in India Smile

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:47 pm

Because it was a short trip and I had to meet 100's of relatives / friends and many of them wanted to treat with virundhu, there was hardly any opportunity to visit restaurants Embarassed

However, I was fortunate to have just 3 opportunities.

First one, on the way from airport to home of sis, at Annapoorna Gowrishankar Smile

I was surprised to see that the old place near KG Hospital is EXACTLY the same - with absolutely no change for a decade, including the carved wooden partition that hides the kitchen door Shocked

(Of course, they have opened a new place on the same road a few buildings away but I didn't bother to check - before entering and eating at the old place).

Like I mentioned before, the restaurant food is among the top-price-increase items during the last few years in India and this place is no exception.

Around 10 times increase over 10 years. That seems to be the standard norm for most items!

Accordingly, the "tip"ping norms too seem to have proportionately increased. However, they are still below the expected 15% norm of USA. (Actually, they automatically add it to the bill in USA in many restaurants if the #of guests of the group being served exceed a threshold. "Tip" is a major part of salary in case of restaurant workers here).

That it is still not 15% in India must be because of the fact that labor continues to be cheaper there (though not at the same levels during the beginning of the new millennium obviously, it is still much lower than countries abroad).

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  Nerd on Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:47 pm

Appji, please quantify the 'many' years in your first post?

In order to put things in perspective I want to see if you are an Autograph Cheran or a mozhi M.S. Baskar (Don't bother if you don't get these references Laughing)

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:00 pm

Nerd wrote:Appji, please quantify the 'many' years in your first post?

10 - double digits

Embarassed

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:46 pm

One of the prices that was quite interesting to me during this trip had been the huge variance of sweet (& kAram) prices!

Though I carried a lot of Hershey's with almonds for most people who were on my "must-meet" list (my main outbound luggage item), I had to visit a lot more homes and had to keep visiting sweet shops more than any other store that I went to in India.

And the prices ranged from र170 to र500 per kg! (If one thought र50 budget for sweets for a family was decent in the beginning of the millennium, it would be र500 now! 10 times increase in 10 years!)

However, the sweet shops - especially those with higher prices - are only seeing bigger crowds Smile
(For example, the Krishna sweets in Thillainagar main road is always packed with crowd and the girls are many times busier than how they were a few years back, even though the same mundhiri bakkOdA costs र500 a kilo, possibly 5 times what it was a few years back).

The simple reason being a LOT OF MONEY in the hands of people!

A lot of people in entry-levels of their careers (e.g. newbie engineer) or a lot of people who are employed in areas which were long back considered "poorly paid" (e.g. school teachers) are easily making SAME NUMBER as what a 15 year experienced engineer was making in 2003!

That way, regardless of whether the ingradients cost more or less, prices of sweets and savouries have gone up like anything! But, the quantum of sales had only increased multifold! Accordingly, the turnover of such businesses must be many times higher and if at all they are paying taxes properly, the gov also should be enjoying sweet amount of tax revenues!

Just in a couple of days, I got used to freely using र500 notes when visiting sweet shops and didn't think a second before giving र10 to the lady who came begging on the road outside... Laughing
(I got reminded of a shocked co-passenger in 2002 /2003 time period on train, who was thrown back the 25p coin by a beggar and probably the same thing will happen for a र5 coin today!)

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:08 am

This comparison must be funny...

The popular sweet "kAju katari / kAju katli" (those diamond shaped milk sweets made with cashew as main ingradient)retail price is not much higher in Indian stores of USA, compared to TN Smile

They typically sell for $5.99 or so per pound / lb (454 grams).

Which means a kg costs not much higher than Trichy in Detroit.

i.e. around र800, after converting $ to र isn't that higher than र500, considering the median earnings in both these places Smile

In general, the Indian stores@USA are becoming increasingly competitive and are more and more comparable to India prices, even after converting $ to the higher र conversion rates, over the years!

The cost of living in India has sure gone up significantly for food items!

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:19 pm

At times I shock locals here at MI by visiting them with fruit-baskets, when they're in or out of hospital, instead of flowers or "get-well-soon" cards Laughing
(Pretending to myself that I'm still living in TN, visiting a sick relative / friend)...

During this trip, I had to visit 3 such individuals (two of them 80+) and decided to get fruits as none of them can handle sweets anymore.

So, visit to a fruit shop. Since it was not Kovai, "Pazhamudhir nilaiyam" was not an option and I had to pick the best looking shop.

I must say it was depressing Embarassed

I'm not talking about the prices - which I guessed will be in line with other food prices - but I was shocked to see the quality of fruits. I don't know if it was a season problem (Dec / winter) or it is generally that way. Or, may be my problem. It's possible I got so much spoilt with some terrific fruit stores in the metro-Detroit area. In any case, it was a very sobering experience.

Well, I decided not to risk picking just one or two kinds - worried about the quality and outcome - and decided to make a "basket" with variety. Like a couple each of bananas, apples, oranges, pomegranate, seethA, peers - well, even kiwi, and some grapes.

Just around a kilogram of stuff for each person - "mixed fruits".

It costed around र200 for each package as most regular fruits retail for around र150 while exotic or special ones cost > र200.

BTW, did I compare with prices in Detroit area? Since we get good quality apples (and all other fruits) for most part of the year at less than a $ per pound, I would say TN costs are now at par with MI prices - as if we're buying in TN with $ !



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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:10 am

How can it be fun without visiting a grocery store in TN?

Though I didn't plan to visit any (due to time constraints), one opportunity came up. Mom wanted my younger bro to get "two Idhayam nalleNNei packets" and we quickly planned together to visit a relative who lives next door to that so called "Lakshmi store". Thus we both went and I rode the scooter.

(Even scooty kind of vehicles are now 4 stroke Laughing and it was fun riding one. BTW, like I mentioned in twitter, also had fun riding a Kawasaki 4 stroke bike besides the Suzuki Alto which struggled to hit 100+ kmph with 4 people).

Unfortunately for us, both the Lakshmi store & the relative weren't available. (Store had "closed for lunch" until 4 PM and the relative had left for farm house).

Thus ended up buying the "Idhayam nalleNNei" packet in a store that specializes selling OIL & ghee only!

The packet (one litre) had MRP printed as र 280 and my bro got confused. Mom probably told him it should cost around र 200 and gave him र 500.

Asked the store keeper "don't you typically sell for much less than MRP" to which the answer was negative Shocked

What's more, he even told "other products we have margin sir - but Idhayam gives only र 3 or so - how to reduce" Laughing

We didn't believe him but didn't want to waste time and got those two packets anyways for र 560, only to be ridiculed at home for buying at an unusually higher price.

Irritated, later when visiting a cloth store on the "main road", wanted to check out what that old "aNNachchi kadai", where we used to get grocery years back, sells the oil for....well, he was selling the same for र 210 Embarassed

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  Michael AF on Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:49 am

App please continue  Very Happy

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:54 pm

Michael AF wrote:App please continue  Very Happy

Smile

BTW, one correction to my post above Embarassed

That orginal "aNNachchi kadai" (Dharmarajan Bros) has become "aNNachchi kadaigaL" now!
(Unfortunately, both the brothers are no more and their children are running two stores side-by-side, in a new building at the same site). The town I'm talking about is Dindigul.

I was sad to see the veggie restaurant that was next to them from time immemorial MISSING Embarassed
(During my school days, it was called Ajantha Hotel and we used to have evening coffee there after any game / match played at the municipal school nearby...it changed names in course of time but there continued to be a restaurant always. None there now!)

Not just that, there seems to be no veggie restaurant in the vicinity of "maNikkooNdu" at all - no Ariya bhavan / Adhi bhavan kinds around.

It seems the town has become known for only biriyAni Embarassed

There are a couple of 'thalappA katti' ones (I'd never been there). One of them also boasts with a huge banner listing all their branches at Chennai Shocked

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:41 pm

BTW, the school-days-fav BATA store is still in the same spot of the town (opposite to that missing Ajantha veggie restaurant of "main road").

While my younger bro & family were at a small textile shop in a nearby lane where one has to remove shoe, sit on a mat (those buildings are unchanged for years), I walked into the BATA showroom to identify what changes have taken place in these years.

The store got rearranged in such a way that no salesmen is needed to grab the shoe and demonstrate how it fits into your feet.  Instead, you can freely walk around and pick (much like aborad).

You miss that personal service but you also get to see everything the store has got.

Pathetic selections, I must say - and typically costing USA prices Shocked

I asked the guy - "only BATA & Power brands, have you discontinued North Star?"

He replied - "That brand may be sold only in big cities, sir"... Shocked

Anyways, to fit the title of thread, let me rant about the price of socks Smile

At र 99, those "dress socks" that are of short length (around 6 inches above ankle) and a mix of cotton-nylon, are VERY PRICEY!

I picked three of them, just to justify my visit to the shop but also told the shop keeper that they should be proud that their prices are higher than amerikkA prices for socks!
(One can get similar quality socks for $1 at Wal*Mart or $tree kind of stores! Better quality ones at Sams for prices much lower than India, after converting $ to र )

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:54 pm

What is the discussion of prices in India if "Trichy Sarada's" and such economical places don't figure in it? Even Thamizh movies that feature Trichy talk about it ('engEyum eppOdhum' Jai-Anjali conversation) Smile

For years, stores like "Pollachi Maharaja" / "Trichy Sarada's" / "Coimbatore Shobha" (sad it got burnt down during riots in that city) had been known for their cost effectiveness - mainly for fabrics and in a limited fashion for "ready-made" garments.

A decade back, it wasn't unusual to get kids ready-made for around र 100 or fabrics (unstitched cloth) for below र 100 prices. What is the status today?

While walking around with younger bro's family in "main road", stepped into Maharaja's with them (same as the Pollachi one, they even had a shop in Palakkad those days).

Well, the kids ready-made's, as expectedly, are approximately 10 times from where they were a decade back. i.e. from र 60 - र 120, they retail for र 600 to र 1200 Smile

Though I hardly had time to go to shops at Trichy - too many homes to visit and enjoy virundhu - somehow managed a time slot to go to NSB road / main guard gate / teppakkuLam / singarathope / thEradi bazar / periya kadai veedhi / "alli mAl theru" kind of "cheap" places.

I found the ready-made prices to be pretty much the same with Sarada's as well.

The logic behind such pricing is quite interesting!

i.e. It's not the increase of raw-material costs or international prices or anything as such. For that matter, discount retailers such as Target & Wal*Mart have not increased such prices at all (for ready made garments / kids' clothes and such) for a decade. And often, they are from Asia (if not from South America or Mexico).

It's merely proportional to the "buying-power". The attitude of merchants is simple " Haven't all these people got salary hikes by ten times? Let them pay ten times for the clothes too, especially those with labor added"!

(Just for info, one can still get fabrics at really cheap prices! Sarada's still sells "shirt bits" "pant bits" etc at same ridiculously low prices around र 100 a metre! I didn't check the tailoring charges which should have jumped ten times for sure!)

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  Usha on Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:48 pm

app,
 romba nalla than gavanichu irukeenga... maligai vilai... Especially Rice.. gavanicheengala... vegetables velai gavanicheengala.........

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:20 am

Usha wrote:app,
 romba nalla than gavanichu irukeenga... maligai vilai... Especially Rice.. gavanicheengala... vegetables velai gavanicheengala.........

இல்லீங்க...

நல்லெண்ணெய் பாக்கெட் தவிர வேற ஒன்னும் கவனிக்கலை, நேரமில்லை / வாய்ப்பில்லை என்பதே காரணம்...
Embarassed

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Re: र र र र र Costs / prices in India

Post  app_engine on Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:55 pm

Chennai has many "malls" now, unlike the "only spencer plaza" days of the past.

Happened to visit two of them (Express Avenue & Phoenix). The construction, lighting and amenities - including the basement parking / escalators etc - are very contemporary & surely of international style / standards, except for the cafetaria thingy.

Interestingly, the stores also seem to run "world prices" Shocked

Each of those malls had many brand stores (Indian ones like Pantaloon & multinational ones such as Van Heusen). Due to lack of time and general disinterest in shopping, I was just roaming around there - merely due to relatives' pressure to visit ; they wanted to buy something for me while I didn't want anything.

Well, because I had no other option, ended up getting a couple of trousers (full pants), paid by others Embarassed

And was totally irritated with:

a) Prices - horrible, it is as if they were selling in USA! Converting र to $, i.e. dividing by 60, these were starting from $30 and going upward, touching $100 range. I didn't understand why should I buy there if the prices are comparable to Sears / JC Penney and more than TJ Maxx / Marshalls!

b) Selections - Though they're men's stores, the Van Heusen / Louis Philippe / Allen Sally kind of shops had very limited selections when it came to color-size-style combo Shocked (I didn't spot the Park Avenue store first but noticed only when we were leaving and would have preferred to visit that as the brand used to be my fav when living back home).

Also, the "cafe coffee day" kind of idiotic coffee shops there! They try to have foreign names for the items & prices but the quality is much below par. I guess they should replace such shops with "kumbakOnam coffee" kind of fellows.

At least the coffee will be tasty that way!

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