On Price Gouging and Predatory Pricing

On Price Gouging and Predatory Pricing

Rates for commodities, edible items, consumables and so on did not remain stable for , in and during the month of Ramadan. This is despite directives issued by the administration for a ceiling on rates of items and consumables like chicken meat and so on. The sufferer and the victim of a monopoly over prices has been the ordinary consumer, especially of the poorer and less income segments of society. In a way, the indecorous and insalubrious , arbitrary approach and attitude taken by vendors, businesses, shopkeepers and other assorted business establishments amounts to price gouging behavior or even predatory pricing at the expense of consumers and customers who are and remain at the receiving end of these predatory techniques. All in all then the administration’s diktats and prohibitions regarding price ceilings were not taken seriously. This could possible accrue from weak implementation, or even corruption, at times. Whatever the case or the issue, the fact is that the end consumer was and is fleeced. This is happening even on what is almost the eve of Eid al Fitr when there is a flurry of intense shopping and buying. In any other context, permutation and combination, during and before festival times, businesses decrease their prices. This is not out of altruism but makes perfect business sense: lesser prices mean more customers which, in turn, means more volume and hence profits. But, nay , in Kashmir, the inverse and the opposite holds true wherein businesses hike and jack up their prices, gouging consumers in the process who, actually, have no choice but to acquiesce in these unsalutary and unequal bargains. In a way, this trend and pattern is a reflection of how selfish and opportunistic people here have become so much so that if and when they see profit making opportunity in anything, they not only take advantage of this but also attempt to eke out supernormal profits. This predatory pricing and price gouging must end. If the administration has actually failed in this, then it is incumbent upon thought leaders of Kashmir, which include imams, teachers, and other assorted but eminent and respectable members of society, to actually take stance on this improper and unethical issues which, hits the “common man” or those segments of society that are economically and financially poor, the most. Let this process begin now and let the ball be set rolling as soon as possible!