Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why Shopping in the BVI can be so Frustrating!

I received this email from s resident in St Thomas, i  response to BVI shop keepers whining about their lack of sales in recent news articles, and claiming too many people go to St Thomas to shop:

I am pretty darn sure the migration of shoppers to St. Thomas head for KMart, Cost-U-Less and Home Depot...petition your business men to open some sort of discount store...I am sure that will help.

Here is my short essay on BVI Shopping...

They need to eliminate the import duty. Ever been to St Martin?  No import duty and the stores are overflowing with inventory at competitive prices.

Last time I was there, I bought a gorgeous linen dress with a matching short sleeve jacket, it was on sale for $10!  I found some hand painted sarongs, also discounted on sale, for $5.  Drug stores were overloaded, you could find most any American or European personal care product that your heart desired. Shopping there was fun!  There was just so much to choose from and so many stores plus loads of outdoor markets where the crafters and artists set up shop.

BVI could take some serious lessons. One huge problem in the BVI is recently the landlords have become super greedy, so rents are out of sight, duty is payable not only on the merchandise but on the freight costs TOO!  All this has to be paid up front before the merchant can even see their products.

Small wonder when they end up with inventory boo-boos they can't afford to discount them and just keep the stuff moving.  Many merchants in the BVI don't understand the value of keeping the inventory moving, most are content to wait how ever long it takes, to sale a certain item at a certain price, even if it gets old, dusty, and rusted.

I once tried to buy some mirrors from a hardware store. They had been there so long that the edges were cracking and the mirror backing falling off.  The flimsy frames had come loose from the mirrors and many frames were warped. I just wanted the mirrors and planned to install them at my home and do some seashell artsy frames to hide the damages. Do you think the owner would come down on his over priced damaged ancient mirrors?  Hell no!

He even had electric appliances from the 50's and 60's, hunks of rust he refused to discount.

The lack of produce managers disgust me the most. They will let the produce rot rather than discount it and give you a break on food costs.

I have on more than one occasion hauled home out of date stuff I found in a certain garbage bin.  It was out of date by ONE day and tossed in the garbage. I think I nabbed about $400 worth of stuff that day, and lived to eat it *giggle*.   Now that was RARE, but why they refuse to give the resident a break is beyond comprehension!

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