Bargain hunting in downtown Kingston
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Parents were out with their children in droves yesterday in the downtown Kingston market district in a scene reminiscent of a fun-filled summer family outing.
But fun was the farthest thing from those parents' minds as they grappled with merchants while struggling to restrain adventurous kids, all in a bid to secure the best back-to-school supplies at the most competitive prices.
Textbooks, bags, uniforms and school shoes were among the most sought-after items as shoppers moved through the streets in the heart of downtown.
An informal bookstore set up just outside Kingston Bookshop on King Street was doing booming business as shoppers sought to get textbooks at low prices.
"I don't know how much cheaper, but it cheaper than in the store," remarked 53-year-old Jezerine Miller, who purchased three books for $3,500, leaving her still six shy of the number of texts her nine-year-old son needs for school.
Sunday Gleaner checks revealed that the price of books from the informal seller and the book store was not much different.
"I have everything else - shoes, exercise [books], khaki, everything else. I never have the money, so I just throw a little $500 partner and I just get the money, so I had to wait to buy the books," said Miller.
The demand for textbooks was such that business was just as brisk in the formal bookshop, where security guards had to be deployed to regulate entry.
One Joseph's store in downtown Kingston seemed the place of choice for school uniforms.
A father, who was out shopping for his five-year-old son entering his first year of school, was seen purchasing four sets of uniforms.
"So far, the khaki has been the most expensive thing, as the four suit of khaki cost me $8,000-plus and I got a discount," said Anthony Reid.
Shoes were also high on parents' agenda, with one bargain-hungry mother able to negotiate wholesale prices for footwear for her three children.
"I was caught up doing some other business, so final-day shopping caught me," said 35-year-old Kishan Palmer, who was out with her 16- and 13-year-old sons and her eight-year-old daughter.
"The prices haven't differed much [from last year] and I am shopping for three, so I got a discount."
Back-to-school shoppers combined with regular Bashco customers to make that location as popular as ever.
"I am looking for school bag for her; shoes and clothes," said a 38-year-old Vernal Campbell, who had his two-year-old daughter by his side.
"You find better prices downtown. Bashco also have some deals, plus a lot of items and some good items as well, so I am looking for some value."