Friday, April 11, 2008

we still live in different worlds a few miles apart

I was asked by a friend who lives in the big city, to ask one of my game ladies to make some authentic ‘mun kavum’ and ‘konde kavum’ for the Sinhala New Year table. She moreover asked how much it would cost.

The latter statement is the one I would like to refer to. We are now so used to using caterers to make short eats and they do it as a business with price lists, and prices rising by the day. This friends mother who was making the order wants to know exactly how much everything costs before placing the order.

So I asked this lady how much this order would cost. She looked at me incredulously, like how can she give a price, you pay what it is worth. Now that threw me off completely as now everything has a price and if I under value hers and pay her less, she is never going to accept an order from me and if I pay her too much, then I will be cheating my friend, who will pay for the food. I agree with the old dear that gas prices have gone up so her cooking cost along with coconut oil and sugar and rice flour have all risen by leaps and bounds and I suspect she is not making any eats this year due to the high cost of all the inputs.

I tried to explain to my friend that I cannot give a price, but what we will work out after she does it will not be too outrageous and certainly less than what she could buy an equivalent at a Colombo shop.

This shows in sharp contrast what has happened to our senses as we are terrified of being overcharged by anyone as it seems to be the order of the day and we need to know exactly how much everything costs before we make any commitments to purchase.

Those in the west may read this and wonder what I am making all this fuss about as they have forgotten the days when the hairies inhabited their lands that was how it was done then, it is just a timing and modernizing issue not a strange behavior of a senile old lady.

Welcome to the real world where traditional Sinhala custom rides smack in the face of the modern age now exemplified by only the Food City staff all around the country wearing the same patterned cloth in the traditional cloth and jacket dress. No locals have even brought out theirs from mothballs yet!!

I just delivered the 40 Konde Kavum and 40 Mun Kavum to he house a few minutes ago for a total cost of Rs 1250/-

1 comment:

Jack Point said...

There is probably less commerce in the village hence the attitude of the woman.

ALso, costing for food is very difficult, unless one is experienced in the subject.

Costing the ingredients is easy enough but the fuel and labour present problems as does the profit element.

How much do you charge a friend?

If they start doing it regularly and find themselves out of pocket then they will get better at estimating and pricing.