When I was getting ready for my big move to Delhi from the City of Joy, one of my friends casually mentioned that I must visit the Sarojini Nagar market. Upon probing further I learnt that it’s a place for street shopping. “What’s so different about that? Kolkata has New Market and Gariahat”, I thought to myself. It was only after I visited Sarojini for the first time that I realized how wrong I had been.
Those of you who have been to Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar Market know what I am talking. For those of you who haven’t had the good fortune yet, let me spell it out for you. It is like a mecca for street shoppers. Bags, tops, kurtas, denims, footwear, accessories – you name it, this place has them all. The best part is that all these items are available at throwaway prices. Imagine buying a pair of denims for Rs. 200! How about an elegant maxi dress for Rs. 400?
Now that you are tempted to head out with your wallet, let me share a word of warning. Shopping in Sarojini Nagar is a pleasure, only if you have prior experience. Most shopkeepers tend to spot newbies easily and end up conning them with higher prices. Also, there is a chance you might get dazzled by the plethora of options available there. Having been there quite a few times, let me share some expert advice for shopping in Sarojini.
Timing is Everything
If you want your shopping experience at Sarojini to be comfortable, it is important that you time your visit meticulously. Most shoppers flock the market in evenings, making the place crowded. Weekends are exceptionally packed, with families and kids roaming around everywhere. Therefore, the best time to visit Sarojini Nagar is in the morning.
The market starts opening at 10:30 am and by 11:00 am, most shops are ready to sell. This is the time when there’s barely anyone (apart from a few intelligent shoppers like you). You can spend a lot of time checking out the stuff at various shops. The shopkeepers also pay more attention, even showing stuff that’s not on display. Plus, there’s a better chance that the shopkeepers will negotiate the prices at this hour.
Bargain: It’s Your Only Way Out in Sarojini Nagar
If there’s one advice that all ace shoppers would readily share, it has to be this – “BARGAIN”. If you are a noob, shopkeepers can easily spot you and quote a higher price. Don’t hesitate to haggle and negotiate with them. The trick is to quote less that half of what the shopkeeper quotes.
If the shopkeeper doesn’t budge, get going. Most sellers would call you back at this point. However, don’t be disheartened even if they don’t chase you. The beauty of Sarojini Nagar is that you will find the same stuff at multiple shops. While some shopkeepers are rigid, there are other amicable ones, who accept these negotiations.
The only major drawback of street shopping is that most places don’t have trial rooms. In such a scenario, all you can do is rely on your intuition and judgement to ensure that a particular garment fits you. Most shops don’t allow you to return or exchange the items you have already bought. Therefore, be absolutely sure to pick clothes of the right size. This is especially important when you are buying denims, trousers and tops.
Word of advice: If you are unsure about the fit, buy a bigger size. You can always get it altered by a tailor. It is better than ending up with a size so small, you will never squeeze into it.
Exercise Self Control
Looking at the throwaway prices in Sarojini, you might be tempted to buy a whole lot of unnecessary items. Before deciding to buy any piece of clothing or jewellery, check its quality and rule out any defects. Next, ask yourself if you really need this. Or is it just another unnecessary indulgence?
In addition, if you like the collection at one particular shop, resist the temptation of buying too many things from there. The market has a number of shops selling similar stuff at different prices. Make sure you check out other stores and find the cost they are quoting for similar items. This practice further helps you save some money. In addition, you also get access to a more diverse range of clothing and other items.
With these few handy tips up your sleeve, you can shop at Sarojini Nagar like a boss. Who said retail therapy always burns a hole in your pocket? Happy shopping!