The need to eke out a livelihood is forcing people to make drastic changes to their lives in Visakhapatnam during the unprecedented crisis that the Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed. A once upon a time welding shop owner has turned into a petty vendor selling masks and sanitisers, while a trader, who used to sell door curtains and pillow covers, is now selling masks, gloves and sanitisers.
These are some of those who have changed tracks to stay afloat, while there are many others who have lost jobs and are now struggling to make ends meet. “Since the last two months, I have been selling masks and sanitisers to meet my domestic expenses. Initially, it was tough to manage things, but now, I am able to make some earnings,” says Sitaram, who used to run a welding shop at Manda street of Dondaparthi area
For many, relying on their regular businesses has been not a fruitful idea anymore, forcing them to expand their repertoires, like Kumar, who used to sell socks and handkerchiefs near the Jagadamba. “I am now selling hand sprays and masks also, otherwise it is difficult to survive,” says Kumar.
A majority of these vendors, who source their stocks from wholesale merchants in the city and are now stocking on masks, hand gloves and sanitisers, which they believe are the most saleable items these days amid the pandemic. However, even that move, after an initial surge, is not yielding much results these days.
“Perhaps majority of the people have now started purchasing masks online. Only those who forget to carry their masks to work are purchasing masks from us,” says Sai Prasad, who used to sell door curtains and pillow covers before South India Shopping Mall at Jagadamba, but is now offering masks and sanitisers in addition to the regular commodities in his stall. “People are in no mood to purchase anything else other than essentials like groceries, medicines, gloves and masks. Sales are depressingly dull over the last one month,” adds Sai Prasad. The picture, he adds, is getting all the more grim by the day.