Door-to-door is the way for shopkeepers now

Boxed in by Covid again, garment traders look to break free from sufferings

Door-to-door is the way for shopkeepers now

Thirteen-year-old Gurkirat Singh selling clothes door-to-door amid pandemic in Jalandhar. Tribune Photo

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 13

“No one likes to beg or sit idle. No matter what is happening around, we have to earn bread for our families”, says Gurkirat Singh, a 13-year-old boy. Trying to mask-up the sufferings and struggles accompanied with the pandemic, he is among many garment traders who have now resorted to door-to-door selling of garments in these miserable times.

Deprived of their livelihoods and meager earnings, the local traders whose major source of earning was ‘Sunday market’ are scattered in the city. Considering themselves as ‘shop on foot’, the traders said it’s been over a month since they haven’t been able to sell their stock.

Learning the lessons from the previous lockdown, Mukesh Kumar, another retailer, tells that some had even started vending out their stock even before the commencement of the weekend lockdown.

“Rebuilding lives and livelihoods came to a standstill again. As all economic activities except essentials halted post surge in Covid infections, we were unable to continue our business. While we don’t have fixed shops in the market, but we have been assigned few spots where we sell clothes and other accessories. Considering the locals visiting the markets during weekends, a large proportion of our earning comes from Sunday markets. However, we don’t expect it to resume in the next two months. Therefore, resorting to door-to-door selling of clothes seemed only possible option,” adds Mukesh.

Gurkirat, who bands with his brother, carries a bag and a few items to display on his hands. “We start our day early in the morning and try to make some deals before the curfew timings. While my school is closed due to restrictions, I preferred to earn some extra money to support my family income. Wearing a mask and maintaining a safe distance from customer remains our first responsibility to ward off the virus,” he shares.

Most of these shopkeepers-turned-salesmen only hope to bring life to normalcy and want the government to find a way out so that their livelihood won’t be snatched from them. As the time drifts by, each day becomes a fight for survival.

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