Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gaffar Market

It would not be wrong to call Delhi as the metropolis of markets. It brags of markets of all types — if it has glitzy malls, it also has noble shopping colonnades such as Connaught Place. But Gaffar Market, in Karol Bagh, has always been in a different class.

Call it a grey market if you want, but for several decades now it has been a popular one-stop-shop for those searching ‘imported’ goods at less than the actual prices. Garments, eloectronic goods, cosmetics, crockery, toys, mobile phones, shoes, you name it, and it’s here.

The market, where various shops have no names, sees a carnival-like atmosphere most time of the day, crowded as it is with shoppers from all across the country. Imported will be the right word for both shoppers as well as customers. In this market, nothing sells except the imported goods.

According to an electronic goods shopper in Gaffar market, "This is the only place in the country where one can get a wide variety of gadgets and gizmos much before they are launched in India. In fact, at times you can get here what you will not get even in Europe." The iPhone, acclaimed by Time magazine as Invention of the Year, was available in Gaffar market months before it was launched in Europe.

No Bill, No Cry
Similarly, PlayStation 3 (PS3) — the most recent gizmo for video game lovers — was available at Gaffar a month before its official launch in India. According to a shop owner, “Gaffar Market is a place for those who do not look for bills or guarantees, but like to stay ahead”. And while speaking to people, it seems there is no shortage of such customers. “I have come to purchase a 32" Sony Bravia LCD TV that the company launched recently. I bought it for Rs 37,000, which is much less than the actual price, and I am not bothered about the bill,” says a buyer who have come all the way from Meerut.

Cheap Chinaware
The market is also popular among the youngsters. You can find a winter jacket for Rs 600 - 800, shoes for Rs 400 - 600. While most shoes are Chinese, the garments are primarily from Thailand. Shopkeepers even endure testimony that these products are as good as any original branded product. But the rip-offs apparently have many takers. A student pursuing engineering who lives in Punjabi Bagh, says, “I purchased a winter jacket for Rs 800, and it beats any brand in terms of finish, style and quality".

However, though the prices are a steal in this market, you need to be a bit careful in negotiation to get the best deal. According to shopkeepers, post economic liberalisation, the market has lost some of its customers, however, it is still going strong, thanks to the numerous dedicated customers who come looking for latest fashion cheap goods.

Says a garment shop owner, “till 15 years back Gaffar market was known for cosmetics and garments. There used to be such a rush of customers, which we often had to make them wait outside the shop. Now it is more known for being an electronics market".

The market is also popular among domestic tourists who constitute the biggest chunk of the customers today. “I sell Chinese shoes, which are economical, and of good quality. 70% of my customers are tourists who come all the way from Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Orissa", says a shoe shop owner.

1 comment:

Suresh said...

OMG you really need to avoid this market. They will rob you of your money and self respect.