Merchants say they are living on hope; lots of merchandise, few customers
Santo Domingo—Between one story and another, men and women who spend their day at their stalls in the markets of Santo Domingo and the National District between three and six o’clock in the morning say that they spend their day idle because of the low flow of customers, due to the high price of essential food products. Meanwhile, consumers confirm that “prices are sky high.”
In a panoramic view of the markets of Duarte, Villa Consuelo, both located in the National District, and the Merca Santo Domingo, but to the west, it was perceived this Friday morning that the absence of customers reigned in the different commercial areas.
“Give me two pounds of chicken,” a gentleman was heard asking, who was surprised to learn that the pound of chicken was RD$80 and not RD$75 as he was buying it since the vendor considered him to be a “regular customer” at the Villa Consuelo market and for that reason, he was selling to him at a lower cost.
Likewise, consumers in the different markets said they go daily to buy supplies, while others do it weekly, but all agreed that they spend between RD$700 and RD$1,000 on their daily bread.
The prices of the essential food basket products varied widely: a pound of rice at RD$35 and RD$47 per pound, beans between RD$50 and RD$60, and oil from RD$300 to RD$1,050. Beef at RD$175, pork at RD$125, goat at RD$50. Likewise, vegetables varied between RD$25 and RD$50, depending on the type.
Other of the most demanded products, such as groceries, cost in the case of plantains RD$25 and yams RD$80.
“A person who earns the minimum wage for these dates has to pick up and eat less because in December they overflow, and by January they have nothing; that’s why things are slow,” said one of the meat traders.
The Duarte market has not lost its neglected essence; streets cluttered with food waste, solid waste, and vendors loaded with sacks moving from one side to the other in the narrow aisles that connect one segment to another; besides that, in this market, there was also little clientele.
The few consumers jumping from store to store in search of economy wasted no time denouncing the products’ high prices.
“The prices are sky high, I lost 375 pesos in vegetables alone”, said Petra García, a woman who said she buys daily at the market.
Several merchants denounced that the price of rice is increasing between one and two pesos a week, which they say is an “abuse” since this is the essential food for Dominicans.
“The rice producers have no control; they are of free will, and as two or three manage it, they agree and raise it by one or two pesos a week. It is shameful that the exported rice is cheaper with RD$6 and 7 pesos difference”, denounced Angel Tavera.
MERCA SANTO DOMINGO
The sellers of the Merca, for their part, were more optimistic when they said that “things are normal” and that the days of most excellent sales are from Friday afternoon until Sunday.
In this store, vendors said that prices are more affordable than other markets; in this one, the pound of chicken cost RD$15 less, that is, RD$65. Meanwhile, customers said they felt comfortable with the prices, noting that some, such as eggs, constantly varied, and constantly varied RD$220.
But they denounced the lack of carts and that the few were in poor condition. Likewise, it confirmed this media where consumers walked around with the same ropes to keep the products from slipping out of the sides and others sliding out of control. Some users commented that this is a reason to stop visiting Merca.