Sarkaari Bhandaar

I went for my first day of shopping on saturday. After various interviews with different concierges and friends, the two top recommendations were Sarkaari bhandaar and Nature’s Basket.

When I got to Sarkaari Bhandaar at the Regal Cinema crossing, I discovered it was actually called Sahakari Bhandaar. All this while, I was expecting Ration Card prices since I thought it was a sarkaari market, but now I discovered it was owned by Reliance.

Not that it made any difference. The store may have well been owned by the govt. Totally disorganized, chaos, no AC, didn’t seem very clean, anything goes. But cheap.

But there is a logic behind all this. My uncle quoted me a story today about the owner of Pantaloon’s. The owner of Pantaloon’s recently said in an interview that he has found that he sells more in his stores that are disorganized and chaotic than in the ones that are orderly, quiet and easy to navigate. He therefore encourages haphazardness (is that a word) in his stores. It works for the Indian mind.

Makes a lot of sense. After a chaotic drive through Indian streets to the Pantaloon store, how can one expect the shopper to then become the paragon of orderly shopping?

There was one thing I liked about the bhandaar, besides its prices. It charges you for taking your items away in a plastic bag. Now the charges aren’t much – Rs. 2 per bag – but that’s a model that US stores could emulate if they want a green sticker on their doors.
Go Green with Sahakari Bhandaar

Nature’s Basket is up next.


3 thoughts on “Sarkaari Bhandaar

  1. Chetan,
    Living vicariously through you! Keep the posts coming.

    I have read stories about Big Bazaar and their idea of chaos as marketing. I think it is akin to Mercedes and their Sprinter truck. They realized that people in the us didn’t want their florists and plumbers in a mercedes- made their services seem overpriced. So they marketed the same truck under other brands like freightliner.

    And regarding your point about plastic bag penalties- trader joes and other stores give you a discount if you bring your bag. I think makes more sense than a penalty- might as well make the consumer feel virtuous.

  2. Where in Bombay do you live? I recall sahakari bhandaar somewhere between VT/Fountain area, am I right?
    I’m surprised you found Sahakari Bhandaar chaotic. It was quite reasonably organized 25 years ago when I last visited one!

  3. @Sahir: I am staying in Colaba. The Bhandaar is on the Regal Cinema round about. SB is better organized than a subzi mandi, but not as well organized as a More or one of these new Reliance super stores.

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