How shoppers are spending
Barbadian shoppers are showing mixed reactions regarding Christmas.
Some are cutting back, lamenting increasing costs, while others report Christmas was the time to spend and this was exactly what they intended to do, no matter what.
Barry Whiteman is firmly in the latter category. He said money was for spending and food for eating, not the other way around. He was spotted in The People’s Market, Tudor Bridge, St Michael, alongside Michelle Batson.
“Some things have gone up but that is not affecting our Christmas shopping; you can’t eat money. We are looking for food and alcohol and everything is good in here,” he said.
Another shopper there said she held back normally but let loose at Christmas. Asking not to be identified, she said she also had others in mind for the season.
“I cut back weekly but not on Christmas; but all these gifts I have are for families with children in need,” she said.
Marcelle Harris said she too found herself helping others for Christmas. She said there were people having a really hard time so she spent her money wisely and did what she could for others.
“This year will be especially difficult, what with the economy. You have to spend your money wisely. I have never been an over-spender but I have to be extra conservative because you never know what’s around the corner. I don’t need a lot anyway but I know there are people who are having it hard and I help them out,” she said.
Mark Grant is a believer in being pampered for the season. Even so, he admitted he would be a little more cautious this year.
“I come here practically every day because the beers here are very reasonable. I haven’t done my official Christmas shopping yet but I will be getting drinks and ham from here. This year I might buy a smaller ham, though, and maybe less drinks – but even though things rough, you still have to treat yourself,” he said.
Jane Griffith said she did not watch prices, as a person had to eat regardless. She was coming out of Super Centre Warrens.
“I don’t really retain prices in my head. You have to eat, so I just shop. I shop here all the time and the thing is what you buy. While what I buy is not too expensive, I think that when you run around looking for cheap things you are only wasting your gas,” she said.
An elderly couple inside Super Centre also said they had no need to cut back for Christmas. Requesting anonymity, the man said he received a pension from abroad so, despite increasing prices, he still lived comfortably and bought whatever he and his wife needed for Christmas. He said the hype of the season was long past for them anyway.
“We haven’t had to cut back, thank God, even though in some cases the prices are astronomically high. Besides, as we are senior citizens, the excitement is not there for us anymore, we focus more on the religious aspects of the holiday,” he said.
The increased prices are not just being noted by locals. Tom Archer is a regular visitor to the island, spending half the year here for the last ten years. He said the increasing cost of living prompted a few changes.
“I find prices have progressively increased across the board, so I had to send the kids back to [Britain] because I can’t afford to feed them anymore and it must be even worse for locals; it is time Government address the problem of duty tax,” he said, adding increasing prices were a worldwide problem.
Maurice Tudor approaches the issue by buying certain items in bulk and others frugally.
“Prices are gradually increasing on specific items, which I suppose is a sign of the times, so I shop in bulk for what I can and whatever else, I try to stretch the dollar. Never try to overdo – it is what you need, not what you think you need,” he said.
Kathy Harewood is feeling the pinch and has had to change her shopping habits. She said she would be living without luxuries this year, such as new curtains.
“It has definitely changed the way I shop, I only bought the necessities and have not gone overboard as prices have increased somewhat and I can’t afford the luxuries anymore.
“I find curtains have gone up significantly so I won’t be getting any this year but I won’t be disappointed; once I get what I need, it will be good enough for me,” she said. (CA)