PHUKET: Wage slaves suffering from rising consumer costs and stagnant salaries have been flocking to the Blue Flag Consumer Products Fair at Sanamchai field in Phuket Town, where government-subsidized consumer staples and other products are on sale at rock-bottom prices through tomorrow.
Supacha Bunthalit, who heads the Department of Internal Trade (DIT) Office in Phuket, told the Gazette the most popular items were four “promotion” products selling at very attractive prices:
#3 Eggs: 1 bag of 30 for 70 baht
Palm Oil: 38 baht/liter
Refined sugar: 20 baht/kg
Jasmine rice: 150 baht/5kg bag
Ms Supacha said the items sold out in no time.
The DIT is asking consumers to limit the number of purchases they make so that everybody could enjoy the low prices, but it hasn’t exactly been working out that way, she admitted.
“The only problem is that same people wian thian (circle back around) and try to stock up by making repeat purchases. They don’t want to share,” she said.
The last lot of today was scheduled to go on sale at around 3pm, one of the many volunteer security staff from the nearby Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Phuket Office told the Gazette.
Ms Supacha said vendors were allowed space in the hundreds of booths free of charge, provided they were prepared to sell their products at below normal market costs.
“They have to be very, very cheap,” she said.
There was a truly wide range of items available when the Gazette toured the grounds under the noonday sun, when free sauna treatments are not optional.
The best value found were bags of fresh roasted coffee beans produced by the Khao Thalu Farmers Co-operative in Chumphon. The beans cost 100 baht for a half-kilo bag, about one-fifth the cost of leading brands in retail outlets. To ensure freshness, the vendor grinds the beans down to drip size while the consumer waits.
Other items on sale included bedding, furniture, herbal remedies, clothing, cosmetics, agricultural products including seeds and gardening tools, and cheap household name dry goods – all at low prices.
Attendees do not need to wait to get home to enjoy the savings, as prepared foods available include foam boxes of fried noodle dishes (10 baht) and khao mun kai (20 baht), Phuket pineapple, roti (Indian style crepes at 10 baht per serving), and much more.
The fair will remain open daily from about 8am to 9pm through tomorrow.
— Stephen Fein
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