Regular shoppers plying primarily the Bourda and Stabroek markets are expressing concerns at the methods employ by a section of vendors there to sell items that require measurements. According to two irate victims who have spoken with this newspaper, most of the skullduggery occurs during vending at nights and involves short measurements mostly on items that have to be weighed.
In most instances, vegetables and dry goods are seriously ‘short-measured’, especially in cases where the prices advertised per pound is way below the general market value.
An independent investigation by this newspaper last Friday at both the Stabroek and Bourda markets substantiate the claims by shoppers.
At the Stabroek market, for example, a vendor held up her right hand and showed this reporter a bundle of Bora made up of ten tied-off small parcels for $200. After agreeing that its a deal, the vendor offered to put the bundle in a bag. But before doing so, she would naturally have to free her right hand to access the plastic bag which was group-tied to her waist, as her left arm was also loaded with larger amounts of the vegetable. Hence she placed the advertised parcel (that was in her right hand) on the lower biceps of her left arm, now mixing it with the other small parcels that were there before. She then opened a plastic bag and quickly took up a bundle from her left arm, fold it and threw it in the bag, collects her $200, smiled and told me to have a good day.
All seems well until I decided to open the bag in front of her and check on the quantity of Bora inside. To my surprise, it was only six small parcels and not ten as I was shown in the first place. When questioned, the vendor simply took back the bora, and returned my $200 with a sound ‘market cussing’.
Over at Bourda, the situation wasn’t any different. Two pounds of ochro bought at one vendor who used a spring scale long banned by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), turned out to be a pound and a half when I got home to my kitchen scale.
Other checks over a two-day period exposed instances of underweight dry-goods, expired items, and other commodities in short supply being sold at exorbitant prices.
GNBS has since told this publication that an undercover campaign will be launched shortly to apprehend and prosecute weights and measures defaulters at all markets country-wide.