Harassment, shop-lifting common at trade fair


New Delhi: “Do I look like an animal or am I just different?” Kelly Intasorn, an exhibitor from Thailand at the India International Trade Fair here, asked. She is fed up of men phtographing her.

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“We are fed up of these advances from males. They come in groups and imitate us or pass stupid comments. This time, they have gone a step ahead and are shamelessly clicking our pictures. It is ridiculous. They don’t buy anything but just for the sake of fun, they attempt to talk to us,” Intasorn, who is displaying chunky jewelery, told IANS.

“They will look at us as if they have not seen a woman before. We have to deal with them politely because we don’t want to create a scene here,” she added.

Shoplifting is another common phenomenon at the fair.

“It is a very common thing. You can’t keep an eye on each and every shoplifter. It becomes very difficult when you have so many customers to attend to,” said a representative from China’s Chouznoli Yaran group, who didn’t want to be named. The group is displaying decorative items.

Intasorn also echoed the sentiments, saying: “The problem is that people from good families are rampantly indulging in shop-lifting. They look decent, come with their families, so you can’t doubt them. This gives them the luxury of stealing things.”

“So every year, I save half and lose half. I can’t help it. But it is sad to see so many people from affluent families stealing things,” she added.

Another major problem that exhibitors face is bargaining.

“Even though we have mentioned that ours is a fixed price stall, people will still come and ask for a bargain,” said Veronica Chishi of Thailand’s Wannee International Private Limited, that is displaying bags.

“The funniest thing is that they will come to us and say that I am a lawyer by profession, so give me a discount. How can I give him a discount on this basis? He is earning much more than I am, and he is asking for a discount. It’s irritating,” Chishi maintained.

Recollecting one such incident, Chishi said some customers argue that what is on offer is expensive stuff. “Why do you come to our country, when we can get the same stuff at cheaper rates in Bangkok?” is a common refrain, Chishi pointed out.

Elaborating on this, Chishi said: “Well, yes the prices of our products are a bit on the higher side but we do pay a hell of a lot of money (for exhibiting) here and on duties as well. So if you get this stuff cheap in Bangkok, then you also spend a good amount on flying to Bangkok. People don’t want to understand this simple logic.”

The fair is on at the Pragati Maidan from Nov 14-27.