Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Wal-Mart where art thou?

Setting up house in India is whole new ballgame, I realized when we moved to Bangalore. I have moved a number of times in the States and each time handled the move and the purchasing pretty smoothly. In my college days, I relied on Wal-Mart for all my household and school supplies, for toiletries, electronics, film developing, linens, assorted food products and all sorts of odds and ends. If you couldn't find something anywhere else, one could bet that Wal-Mart would have it.
After graduation, I got a job as a manager at Wal-Mart's biggest rival, Kmart. Even though I was working at the store every day, I found myself still going to Wal-Mart for something or the other. They were always closer to where I lived.....closer to each and every apt I have ever had in the States.....and I was more familiar with the store layout. I liked the fact that it made no bones about being a discount store. Kmart on the other hand was always trying to move up the retailing chain to be a department store like JCPenney or Sears and it never seemed to work. The quality of products we carried just weren't good enough and neither were the prices.
Retailing in India is very different. Space is a major constraint here. I found that aisles are cramped, configuration of stores is lopsided and parking non-existent. There are many stores here in Bangalore that market themselves as a shop for everything but I found its just not been possible for me to do all my shopping in one place. I have to go to a different shop for plastics; stainless steel stores for stainless steel; mattress stores for pillows; china, dinnerware and glassware is in a different store too and table and bed linens are another type of stores. It has been a very confusing time. I would like to go to one store and find everything that I need and have it be of good quality. I am really looking forward to having a Wal-Mart in my neighborhood just like I did in the States!

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