Thursday, January 5, 2012

Be Indian, Buy Indian - Abroad

We came back from our trip to the UK with two shopping bags.  My daughter insisted I take them.  She said it would be useful since there was a ban on plastic in the city.  It was priced at 2 pounds each.  They are neat.  They  hold large quantities.  Easy to carry since the handles are designed so that they do not hurt the palm.  After repeated use, feeling pleased with the purchase and thinking it was worth the money, I examined the bag to find this tiny tag stating – ethically made in India. 

Take a look at this fragrance warmer my brother got me from the US.   It looks beautiful, the work, as in the case of the jute bag, was neat – no jagged edges.  I said aloud, such a beautiful piece, why can’t it be made here.  And there it was, hidden away a small etching.. made in India !

While I am glad our goods are finding their way abroad, I wonder why  inferior goods and export rejects finding their way into our stores?  Why cannot we be more quality conscious and push our manufacturers to give us the same goods that they export?

Better quality basmati rice, jute and leather bags, good quality handlooms and handicrafts, superior apparel, better alphonso mangoes, specialty tea  -  all find their way out of India.  We pay probably the same price for goods of lesser quality. 

It is not as if the higher priced goods do not find a market here.  One visit to the supermarket and you have shelves with  poor quality Kashmiri Apples, shrivelled Nagpur Oranges competing with expensive Australian Kiwi , California grapes,  Thai Rambutan and Chinese apples all ridiculously priced.  And there are buyers for them too.  It seems as if the display of poor quality Indian fruits with the better looking imported goods is intentional.

 ‘Yeh export quality hai’ is what the sales guy will tell you when he wants to push a product and  wants to justify the price he has quoted.  Export quality – that is to say only the best can be exported.  The rest is for use at home.  Are we not discerning enough or are we satisfied with sub-standard goods? When the best products from abroad find buyers here, why is it that the best made in our country is not available to the same buyer? 

Do we need to shop abroad to bring our own ’quality’ goods back home? 


  1. BEcause good quality is sent abroad.. my cousins have a factory who make fancy goods and big firms like Ralph leuren, M&S, Next, Harrods all have their stuff in shops to sell..

    yes the same thing you cant buy in india .. Weird ..


  2. The fear of rejection and the return policy in shops in West
    coulf be one reason why quality goods are exported abroad.If exporters palm off inferior goods, there wouldn't be repeat orders.But that is no justification to sell in domestic marktes poor quality stuff at same or inflated prices.
    Nice that you brought this out

  3. I too feel like this, Radha! When we can afford to buy imported Kiwi fruits, we will definitely pay more to buy quality Indian fruits/goods. They are going to get their money...yes, it is weird!

  4. :( Though I have never raised this question, it has been on the back of my mind. Why do we get export rejects instead of the exports?

  5. Good to see you posting again! I hope you had an enjoyable trip to visit your daughter.

    Interesting post. So you brought back 'made in India' shopping bags from the UK! :)

    Yes, it is puzzling why we can't buy good quality 'made in India' stuff here in India. Can't think why- particularly when people are ready to pay higher price for better quality...

  6. Quality products are always exported out. Many of us do not buy products with "Export Quality" tag as they are priced high.
    Wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year.

  7. @Bikram - Really strange. Despite the fact that most big names have their outlets in India now.
    @KP - Absolutely no justification to the inferior quality we get here
    @ Sandhya - not only Kiwi fruits, we have ads that tell us to use only extra virgin olive oil in our cooking!!
    @Nona - We should refuse to buy rejects!
    @Manju - yes, I did have a good trip. Meeting my daughter after a year was the best part of the trip.
    @Rajesh - Happy New year to you too.

  8. Food for thought really. I never thought of us!

    People are producing but I don't understand the market targeting. Agreed, they get more money exporting it, but selling the same quality at home is asking for too much?

  9. You have made a very valid point. Recently I was visiting a Hosiery Factory at Tiruppur. They manufacture for all the big brands of the West according the apecifications given. That stuff is not available locally instead what they sell are the rejected/returned stuff.

  10. These are such good insights into what we produce, what we sell, what we buy. Maybe, one day, it will turnaround? We've been finding that these days the supermarkets - Foodworlds and Reliance Marts don't have the Gauva. The 'Washington apple' is there, but not our 'Peru'. There's a local vegetable shop that doesn't have the 'peru' either but he has Kimia dates and California prunes!

  11. Hi Radha
    Dropped by while surfing and discovered a sensible & sensitive blogger.What you have discovered in this post is "True". Indians in India have the "chalta hai" attitude, do not question poor quality and have a "what can we do outlook" and ready to accept "poor quality" goods.
    We do not know our rights - if we start demanding we can certainly get better quality goods & service.
    Please do visit my blog at your convenience
    Warm Regards

  12. Good to have you back!
    Yes, we sadly seem to be exporting all our good stuff:(

  13. Good to have you back!
    Yes, we sadly seem to be exporting all our good stuff:(

  14. Earlier it was ok, because people had this frame of mind where imported was better, but today i see no reason...


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