At least one sunday, every month, this kind of conversation occurs
Me : Where are you’re going, Mum?
Mom : Carrefour.
Me : What to buy?
Mom : Your dad wish to buy a hanging racks for the bathrooms. I wish to buy some apples. Your sisters wish to buy some cosmetics.
Me : Can I come? I wanna buy some cables and see the price of the cellphones.
and the rest is the fact that the entire family is off to the hypermarket Carrefour.
Carrefour, they say, is a hypermarket chains that come from France. And when they built their first hypermarket here in Jakarta, many people were surprised by the concept of it. They have never seen a gigantic singular room filled with things that are arranged just like they will be in a supermarket, but in larger numbers of things and types sold. They see it as if a supermarket, an electronic store, a hardware store, a bookstore, and many other stores are fused together. Add that to nicely arranged shelves, discounts programs, the ability to get a refund if you found a similar item but lesser priced outside the store, and the feeling of doing family things together, you get a concept of a shopping centre that have been rising fast in popularity and settled into every middle to upper class people’s mindsets.
Doing shopping for fun? Go to Carrefour !!
I’m not advertising Carrefour, continue on reading
But Carrefour itself has been causing a lot of trouble to the city of Jakarta, especially those who have concerned that the establishment of a Carrefour building in Jakarta have violated some regulations made by the city itself. The authoritative power to give licenses needed to establish such a large hypermarket (note that there are indeed a hypermarket that goes by the name “HYPERMARKET”, and one more that goes by the name “GIANT”) have not been given to the Governor of Jakarta by the time the first Carrefour was built. But since the governor (and many other authoritative personnels here in Indonesia) is a stubborn, corrupting, anything goes for the money type of the guy, he bulldozed his way through the protests and give licenses to build the hypermarket anyway.
And when the hypermarket proven to be succesful and attract a lot of buyers and not to mention its ability to provide thousands of job opportunities, people’s protests began to be vaporized and they just went silent and watch how Carrefour has been building new and gigantic premises almost everywhere in Jakarta. Not to mention the itchy local supermarket giants like “Matahari” and “Hero” have been following suits : they established “Hypermarket” and “Giant”
And Jakarta have since seen the erection of the GIGANTIC commercial buildings everywhere. It seems that every property tycoons wish to have the tallest, biggest, and most attractive shopping centres, considering that what drives the economy of Indonesia is consumption, not production (sigh….).
And, like the rest of the world, hypermarkets eat away market share of its smaller competitors, forcing a lot of smaller, much older shops to be closed because there’s just not enough consumers coming again.
But, old small shops here in Jakarta are not only being eliminated by giants, but from modernized chain of small size supermarkets, or we like call it here in Indonesia : “mini markets”
But that’s a topic for another time.