Koh Chang is getting three Tesco-Lotus locations opening in the next few weeks, and it is going to change a few things on the island. They will be opening in Klong Son, Chai Chet at Coconut Plaza and Klong Prao- just down from the Temple. They will not be the huge type you see on the mainland but instead a small version called “Express”.
Local businesses are worried that their profits will drop through the floor as Tesco-Lotus will offer, they say, lower prices and be a direct threat to their business.
People though are saying prices on the island have been insane for a long time, with many shops simply driving to Trat or Chantaburi, buying at full retail at Macro and Tesco-Lotus then simply marking up the prices on the island a good 30+ percent.
People on Koh Chang have been a “captive market” for a long time and it seems few businesses have tried to make, maintain or cater to anything except their bottom line. Now they are worried that the
gouging good days are almost over… and they might have to compete. And that’s a worry for a lot of businesses to say the least.
The excuse has always been that because Koh Chang is an island they need to charge a lot more because the ferry costs so much and the time etc… It was hard to see the excuse though considering that a whole truck load of stuff can cost so much more because of a 1 hour drive and a couple of hundred Baht for ferry fees… In Bangkok it’s a three hour ride just across town… but prices are the same everywhere still.
The fact of the matter is that the days of marking up and making people pay through the nose may have come to the end here and hopefully prices for everyone will come down. Let’s face it, it has been cheaper to make a day trip to Macro in Chantaburi with a couple of friends and stock up; rather than buy on the island.
Too many businesses have blatantly being ripping people off for years and have relied on the fact they can – as most people don’t have the time to get to the mainland on a daily basis. It has also made for some really lazy businesses on the island. Instead of finding wholesalers, dealing with stock levels and such they just pop into Trat or Chantaburi and buy what they need every week…
One shop went even went to the depths of scamming by removing the “Buy 6 – get 1 Free” coupons on the side of children’s diapers on one occasion. The shop themselves were cutting off the coupons and cashing them in for themselves! Yeah, they are really worried about Tesco-Lotus coming here. The gravy train is almost over…
Not to mention the “Special Falang” prices that have been in place for years at many places. Nothing like the Thai national ahead of you getting something for 20-30% less. At least at Lotus the price is posted and there is no bargaining.
But not all shops are worried, many have been involved with customer service, fair prices and return policies that have made them loyal customers over the years. Well, we heard there was one like that… maybe…
We here at the Sun are happy to see that we can perhaps get a fair price on goods and essentials. If smaller shops close all we can say it serves them right for being so greedy over the years.