policy change @ vegetable shop - eNidhi India Travel Blog

policy change @ vegetable shop

Above title may sound serious, but the post is not.

A neighborhood vegetable shop has started displaying this sign which says “No Selection” (Never mind the spelling. Tamil variant means Don’t pick, signaling that customers should not be choosy and accept whatever they pack and give). Before proceeding further with the post, have a look at the snap below and let me know what are your immediate thoughts on seeing it.

If you marry a vegetable vendor (or belong to family of vegetable shop owner) do you get to cook/eat fresh vegetables every day? To the extent I know, unlikely. Because vendors usually take home not so good vegetables as consuming fresh vegetable means a big opportunity cost (It could have been sold to customers for good price). Vegetables are highly perishable products with very less shelf life. Any unsold quantity directly adds to loss. Though vegetable merchants keep a provision for a part of their inventory going waste, their constant endeavour will be to sell all of their stock, including the not so good ones.  If say by experience they know that 10% of vegetable will be left unsold as no customer likes them/they are rotten/over ripe, the merchant will have to recover his cost price and profit from the remaining 90%. So in the interest of profitability, vegetable vendors aim to clear their stock by force disposing not so good/rotten/over ripe pieces along with good ones. This is the reason why vendors always manage to add one or two rotten/over ripe pieces of vegetable in your bag (by diverting your attention or by replacing the pieces you’ve selected while weighing or changing them while packing)
Most of us will not go back all the way to the store for one or two bad pieces and vendors often getaway with their tactics. Having said that, customers becoming increasingly smart/alert is a pain for vegetable vendors and it might have prompted this shop to introduce a “No Selection” policy.

As a customer how would you react to this policy change? Are you expecting vendors to suffer a loss on unsold vegetables? Would you pay little extra for all fresh vegetables? Or are you ok with a few not so good pieces if overall price is not hiked? will you go to another shop in search of better tomatoes and onions and potatoes?
Also read: Make rasam in 12 easy steps * Anil P’s recent post on Delhi vegetable vendorsRunning office canteens * Paypal Policy Change * Be an alert consumer
These two images clicked using the new Cannon IXUS 95IS


  1. First Thing,Good Post.

    As a Customer one should not be forced to buy any product, regardless of the product which may be a Onion or an BMW.

    I would not visit such shops which sell such unwanted goods to its customer deliberately.

    Yes, i will be happy to visit a place where i can buy fresh vegetables, if it costs me a little more also i would not consider that extra price, as i am getting a better offer and better consumable goods.

    So over all it is an unhealthy development by the vendor of the shop. As customer has his own wants and needs, he will stop visiting such shops which has a direct impact on vendor's business.

    This is my view on the topic.

  2. Thanks for the detailed comment Ravi.

    Welcome to the world of blogs. Keep writing

  3. Good post indeed..

    That reminds me of the Novel by Jeffrey Archer "As Crow Flies" the protagonist of the novel was a costermonger to went on to became a mighty retailer. Now his policy, as his legendary costermonger grandad taught him, was to advertise strong veggies in front (like potatoes) and weaklings (like tomatoes) backwards, and second was to engage a customer so long that the shop doesn't looks empty. Customer is king, as he meant.

    Now in this given case, if the person delivers quality, then he might not lose any customer. But if he keeps slipping on rotten pieces, then his shop will be empty as it is now as shown in the picture.

    And for me, I would visit is just once, and If I feel it is not giving me the high, I might leave. Most of the guys have the tendency of just buying not selecting, however, they also want that option open. And that sign there can be perceived as show of arrogance.

  4. Well, atleast in Bengloor, we've lots of marts which sell vegitables for a cheaper price than the small vendors from whom we used to buy.

    Of course, things will be cheaper in K R market than these reliance freshes, food bazaars but people tend to buy things from nearer marts than visitin market everyday.

    The small vendors who get it from market keep a huge margin of profit and sell it which has made an adverse effect on their income.

    I see people going to reliance freshes (there are two in my locality) where one can select from the lot of various products which also include vegitables. They seem to be much cheaper (example: Onions were 16 per kilo two weeks back or so @ reliance fresh where as these vendors were charging 24 or so.

    Thanks globalization in this perspective and the profit hungry small vendors.

  5. Sandesh,
    I don't fully agree... since small vendors can't play in volumes they have to keep their price a bit high...also some of them give you the convenience of selling right in front of your home.

    Big marts use air conditioning and freezer facilities to keep vegetables appear fresh for longer time, something everyone can't afford...

  6. Tarun,

    Arrogance: yes, to a good extent.

    As I've noticed right now this shop hasn't started enforcing this policy strictly.. they didn't object when I hand picked my tomatoes... May be they will-in future-need to see

  7. Beautiful post. Very good observation.

  8. Thanks Indrani and Rajesh.

    First time at my blog. keep visiting

  9. When buying from a vendor I've noticed this too- a few spoiled ones creep in.One or two is acceptable esp in, say quarter kg beans/grapes but definitely not in half a kg of onions/apples.
    For the former, we cannot actually blame the vendors too for it could be a genuine miscalculation from his side as well. One cannot sit n pick every beanstalk that is there.
    On the other hand knowingly adding spoiled veg AND restricting the customer from picking the good ones is a bad thing to do. After he sees that it works he may simply keep adding more spoiled stuff. When I buy I should see that I get value for my money too.
    I prefer going to the supermarkets which allow me to pick veg of my choice and are a little cheaper. Plus I get to shop at the speed I am comfortable at and there is no one to stare/speak rudely when I'm picking veg.This happens a lot with vendors who hurry thru' everything.

  10. Namratha,

    Thanks for the detailed comment. Agree overall.

  11. Shrinidhi I have been quite tolerant to a few bad ones in my lot but a policy like this would make me less inclined to shop there. I also feel alienating customers in the time of competition is not a good thing.

  12. I was recently told about this kind of policy by my Aunt who had been to Chennai. She had tried out some corns to check for softness and decided they weren't worth a buy and continued.

    But the shopkeeper created such a fuss and hue and cry that she had to end up buying it. I was pretty shocked when I heard it, and it seems it's there in a few other markets there. Pretty weird stuff!

  13. Men wont mind if the quality holds and women cant do without picking. That said, I am fine with not choosing onions or potatoes, but I need to pick up and choose tomatoes etc. as they have a higher chance of being spoilt.

  14. Mridula,

    Thanks for the update. Yes I've also noticed vendors getting upset when customers become too choosy



  15. This kinda policy can be implemented if the veggies are being offered at a throaway discount (at least 30-40% less than usual price) and not when it is being sold at the market price. Also on appearance, if the produce seems fresh and healthy, this policy can hold good, not at least when they appear as in the pic.
    Further there's no harm if the consumer just checks the quality by touching the produce like tomato or potato but its really hurting for the vendor when certain choosy pickers pinch, break, or press say a cucuber, lady's finger or brinjal, which adds up to the spoilage and thus irks the vendor. Probably this kind of behavior might have prompted the retailer to go for the 'no selection' policy. On any day for a vendor to put up such policy should be either confident of his price (lowest) or quality (best) to keep his customers

  16. Nidhi,

    Nice post. As Sandeesh has pointed out, I guess the margin plays a big role here.

    I am ot sure if you would have gone to Koyambedu market. Most of these small vendors too buy for a very good price in the market in wholesale rate, but the rate in which they sell to us is quite high. Even if the 10% does not sell, they would still have made some very good profit. If not for that they would not have survived doing this business for so long.

    These problems of "Don't pick" comes when they want to make more profit and do not know of any other dealership of retails other than vegetables and fruits.

    This only my opinion, based on some facts..

  17. Thanks for the detailed comment Ram.
    Yes, obviously they'll have decent margin to cover the loss,still it is all about optimization

  18. Srinedhi, my response will vary.

    If I had to buy from a farmer directly then I would not be much choosy, would be even tolerant to a degree considering the effort and pain that farming involves.

    But vendors are essentially middlemen / traders, with far better margins vis-a-vis farmers w.r.t farming logistics like farming loans, cultivation, labour, and marketing.

    So I would be choosy with vegetable vendors, more so the vendors with fairly flourishing trade and healthy customer turnover. One can always spot these.

    But I would almost never be choosy with elderly vegetable vendors who sit out in the Sun or available corners with only a basket or two of vegetables. I usually buy from them.

    If customers become too choosy with vegetables the vegetable vendors might in turn become choosy with wholesale mandi owners, who in turn might become choosy with farmers when lifting stocks in order to avoid stock going unsold / waste.

    Customers cannot possibly allow vendors to pass on sub-standard maal. Best would be to be picky where it concerns spoilt vegetables, and be moderate in selection otherwise.

  19. Hi Anil,

    Good to see your here and your comment.

    I liked and appreciate the below part:

    "But I would almost never be choosy with elderly vegetable vendors who sit out in the Sun or available corners with only a basket or two of vegetables. I usually buy from them.



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