IT was noon and the weather was hot and humid. Traders at the Bidor wet market were seen busy packing up for the day denoting the end of day sales.
Poultry stall owner Azila Awis said it is increasingly difficult to do business these days.
Customers, she said, are very price conscious and tend to compare prices with what can be found in hypermarkets.
Apart from that, Azila said some are also opting to buy chicken by weight instead of whole or half chickens.
But Azila said she empathises with them because they are struggling to cope with the high cost of living and thus shop according to their budget.
“I also have to explain to them my situation. As a small trader, I do not enjoy economies of scale like hypermarkets and thus cannot lower my price very much.
“But the chickens I sell are very fresh,” she added.
Azila, 38, runs the stall with her 40-year-old husband Faiz Sarip.
The stall was started by Faiz’s father more than 30 years ago.
Azila said she is glad that she has the support of big customers like restaurant owner, Ah Tong, who buys chicken from her for his business.
“I used to work at Ah Tong’s restaurant some years back.”
Azila hopes the government can take note of the situation faced by small traders.
For Krishnan Murty, 40, his dream of getting married appears to be increasingly distant because of the cost of living.
“I earn only RM45 a day. I do not get paid if I do not work for the day,’” said Krishnan, who studied up to Form Three.
While he wants to marry and, his mother has been trying to find a bride for him, Krishnan confessed that he is not sure if he can cope with the commitment that comes with a family.
“All the prices of goods including sugar have gone up.
“Unlike before, we cannot buy many things with RM50 nowadays,” said Krishnan.
He shares a rented wooden house in Bidor with his three unmarried siblings and his mother and pays for the utility bills for the house.
At 26, fishmonger Meganmurali Mutiu is upbeat about his future and has planned his wedding next year.
A former factory worker for six years who also worked part-time cleaning and cutting fish, he said he became a fishmonger more than a year ago.
Like other traders, he also noticed a drop in the people’s purchasing power.
“Some regular customers buy half a kilogramme of fish compared with one kilo before,” he said.
Meganmurali said he believes in working hard and a typical day for him starts at 4am when he goes to buy fish in Teluk Intan or Hutan Melintang.
He only calls it a day at the market at about 1pm.
Meganmurali, whose father is a lorry driver said it would be better for him and his customers if the economy improves.
“But I will definitely continue to work hard to improve my life and that of my family,” said Meganmurali, who has three siblings.
Credits: The Star