Is it worth it?

COSTLY AFFAIR

Is it worth it?

Good bargain: Exhibitions offer latest products at cheap prices.

Bangalore hosts thousands of exhibitions every year where artisans from across the country come and showcase their craftsmanship. From fabrics to furniture, these exhibitions boast of a range of sundry items and provide a chance to the customers to buy authentic products for a lesser price from the producers themselves, thereby avoiding middlemen.

People throng these exhibitions to buy the latest goods which otherwise are not available in the market.

Things like fabrics, artwork, jewellery and decorative items are the hot favourites.

But with an increase in the number of exhibitions, most of which are not organised by authentic and registered organisations, people have to think twice before purchasing costly items from the exhibitors, especially products which require periodic maintenance or repair by the manufacturer or supplier, during and after the warranty period.

As most of the craftsmen come from different states, if a customer needs any help post exhibition, it is difficult to get through to the artisans unless he or she has their contact details.

And if the organisers decline to intervene, the situation becomes worse. “Once I purchased a wooden easy chair in one of the exhibitions. Two weeks later, there was a crack in one of the legs of the chair. Immediately I contacted the manufacturer, but he told me he can replace it only when he comes to the City for the next exhibition. For the next six months, the chair was lying useless in my house.”

“Finally, he repaired the broken part but declined to replace the entire item. After that, I am careful about purchasing a costly furniture. Unless the exhibitor has a branch or a showroom in the City, I don’t buy it. Many of my friends have encountered similar problems as well,” says Girish Bhat, a government employee.

Anjana, an IT professional, agrees and says she never takes the risk in this regard. “Exhibitions are the perfect place to shop for personal and household needs where we get to know about the latest trends and designs. In local markets, there are chances of you getting cheated with duplicate brands.”

“So I always prefer to go to a handicraft expo to buy fabrics, wall hangings, paintings and show pieces. However, I have never tried buying costly furniture, carpets, silk and jewellery. The affluent people can afford them but for the middle class, it is a little risky,” she feels.

K Sudarshan from Sampoorn Organisation, a NGO which organises handicraft melas says, that because of the non-authentic organisations, the organisations which have real concern for the artisans are suffering.

“These days, even private people are holding expos on the pretext of helping the craftsmen. I don’t know up to what extent can one trust them. When we invite artisans for melas, we check whether that craftsman has registered with Development Commissioner for Handicrafts under the Ministry of Textiles which issues a unique craftsman card to the artisans.”

“So if any item is found defective, these artisans replace them and in many cases, we also coordinate between the customer and the artisan,”
he says.

So the next time you visit an exhibition, don’t forget to check the background of the organisers and the authenticity of the craftsmen.

Remember to collect the contact details of the artisans and get a proper bill for any purchase you make.

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