Keeping prices down despite rising costs

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 05 Feb 2015

In this corner: Sarfie setting up his stall for business at Kampung Dato Sulaiman Menteri in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Despite the increase in prices of goods over the past years, there are traders who still maintain their pricing – with better planning and sourcing of materials, as well as throwing in a pinch of altruism.

Sarfie Man, 38, admitted the going had been tough for the past three years.

“I have to scout for the cheapest deals for supplies, but even then I see a drop in profits,” he said yesterday.

On the bright side, Sarfie said there was an increase in customers, especially over the past five months.

“I used to rake in at least 50% in profit out of the total sales, but with the rising costs I can only make a profit of 30%,” he said.

Sarfie, who has been operating the Majidee Corner stall since 1994, said 10 years ago he only charged RM1.40 for a chicken or beef burger.

“It is RM2.40 now. Most other stalls here sell theirs for between RM2.80 and RM3 each,” he pointed out.

When asked why he had not followed suit, Sarfie said: “Some customers have become my friends and I know their struggles in life. I don’t want to add more stress to them just to get a few extra sen.”

Sarfie said he would buy wisely, like stocking up on supplies, especially non-perishables, whenever these items went on sale.

In Malacca, one can still find cheap food by operators who continue to maintain their 1990s pricing.

A check around showed that many stalls were charging less than RM5 for meals with vegetables and meat.

Maa Aris, 52, said his prices had not changed since he started his business 20 years ago.

“Although the prices of fish, vegetables and sugar have increased several times since, I have not raised my prices,” he said proudly.

His eatery at Taman Peringgit Jaya offers a wide variety of dishes for only RM2.

Drinks, including iced Milo, are sold for only RM1.

“I always go to the wholesale market, hypermarkets and suppliers to survey their prices to make sure I pay the lowest,” he said, adding that he was still able to make a profit and pay his workers.

Maa said there were many other eateries offering low prices in the city.

One of them, Mohd Haffdi Buang, 44, said he succeeded in luring more customers with cheap and delicious fare.

Mohd Haffdi’s “RM5 only” stall is a crowd puller, especially during lunch hour.

Related stories:

Penang hawkers to maintain prices

Hasan to talk prices with traders

10sen wantan a hit following report

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