November 7, 2002 - Cases of false price reductions in the just-begun Brunei Grand Sale had irked many customers, saying that the irresponsible acts of several participating establishments had caused them to mistrust shops in Brunei Darussalam.
The Borneo Bulletin yesterday published a letter from a customer who was aghast at prices of items at a department store, which were more expensive now than what were offered before the sale.
The person quoted that the price of a cap was $2.56 higher than before the sale, and a pair of ladies' shoes was in fact $1.42 higher than previously.
The relevant authorities here had earlier stated that it is monitoring closely at establishments, which had been reported to hoodwink customers through false price reduction gimmicks.
Employees of a few department stores told the Borneo Bulletin that their superiors had always asked them to increase the price of items a month before a sale was to be conducted.
"This was to enable the department stores to offer higher discussions on items, some up to 70 per cent while in fact the prices had been inflated earlier.
"The discounts were actually from 10 to 20 per cent only. In some cases, the prices were actually much higher than before the sale," they said.
Such irresponsible acts by establishments would only cause people to mistrust shopping places here and instead go shopping at border towns or overseas, thus defeating the objectives of the Brunei Grand Sale, said observers.
They said the relevant authority should act fast to rectify the situation, otherwise people will go to the neighbouring border towns, which would be organising the Mega Sale Carnival this December.
By doing their shopping locally, consumers actually contribute to ensure the nation sustains a buoyant economy as well as keeping in check the seeping of funds, the reverse outflow of the foreign exchange.
The longest ever Brunei Grand Sale is also an effort to keep the locals shopping at home and help stimulate the economic activities here.
Previous Brunei Grand Sales had appeared to be able to reduce the outflow of funds where participating outlets had reported an increase in cash and credit sale by about 20 to 40 per cent, coupled with falling rental of shop lots.
Bruneians had always made a beeline to border towns - well-known shopping havens - during weekends and after payday.
The Brunei Grand Sale covered a 92-day period from Nov 1, 2002, until Jan 2003, which would cover the three main festivities - Hari Raya, Christmas and Chinese New Year.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin