Parents lament high cost for khakis, say other prices manageable

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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DESPITE the yearly increases in the cost for back-to-school supplies, it was business as usual for parents in downtown Kingston on Monday as they sought to complete their preparations ahead of the new school year.

Several parents who spoke to the Jamaica Observer appeared to have resigned themselves to the inevitable.

Scores were observed shopping for supplies, including shoes, bags, uniforms, and books before the usual last-minute rush. In fact, some parents even had to wait in line outside Kingston Bookshop on King Street to allow others to finish shopping before space was available inside the store.

The parents, when questioned about the prices being paid for supplies, all said, in a matter of fact tone, that everything had increased. However, it was the increase in the price for khaki pants that seemed to have caught some parents off guard.

Even so, the usual complaints about high prices were noticeably absent.

One woman, when asked about the issue, simply asked: “Who we must complain to?”

However, most parents reasoned that the increases were manageable.

“Everything has increasedbooks are up by as much as 10 per cent and it's the same for the supplies; and the uniform has gone up by as much as 20 per cent,” one woman who did not want to give her name said as she shopped for her son, a primary school student.

Another woman, who gave her name only as Nicole, said: “In general, everything gone up — the shoes, the bags, the books, they really cost [us].”

But the mother, who had shopped for her son and daughter — a first grader and sixth former, respectively — early, said that the prices for the books had not increased by much.

However, she said it was not the same for the uniform, specifically khaki uniform that is considered of good quality. She said last year she could get good-quality khaki pants for $1,500, but now one khaki pants is priced at $2,100.

“This is the first year I have to buy two British tan khaki pants, which is the good quality that last for the year, and two Diamond khaki pants, which is the cheaper brand,” she said.

Dorothy Williams, who was seen shopping with her son, a first-former, expressed similar sentiments about the increase in cost for khaki pants.

“Normally I would get a khaki pants for $1,300; now its for $2,000-odd,” she said.

“I shop around when I am shopping, so the prices for the other stuff such as books and bags are not so bad. the increase is not much and, as for the shoes, I try to buy a reasonably priced shoes that cost around $4,000 that will last him for the school year,” Williams added.

Lloyd Banton, who travelled from St Thomas to buy books and supplies for his four-year-old, said: “The price nuh too bad, it nuh really sticky, mi can manage. Only the uniform is really above the usual price.”

Another father, who gave his name as “Natural” and was seen exiting the bookstore with his two children and wife, said: “The price nuh too bad; dem increase, not by much, but the uniform dem expensive.”

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