(17 August 2008- The City Times)
WATER BOTTLES, hats, umbrellas, sun screens, icecreams, melons. With summer, they are all out. And they do offer safe defence when it comes to beating the heat. This safety aspect, however, is highly debatable when it comes to inexpensive sunglasses. Cheaper sunglasses have flooded the market.
They come in different shades and are flimsy but easily repurchasable thanks to the throw-away prices. Besides, they look trendy.
A cursory glance at some outlets in Dubai and Sharjah has revealed that the demand for low-priced sunglasses is shooting up along with the temperature. Some salesmen at counters revealed that the sale of sunglasses has been witnessing a sharp increase.
“Maybe because of inflation, more and more people prefer cheaper sunglasses. I cannot reveal the exact number of pieces that we sell everyday, but can tell you that the demand is indeed high,” said a salesman of a popular outlet selling the sunglasses for Dh5 in Sharjah. “It is the variety in terms of colours that attract children.
As the products are cheap, parents do not mind buying sunglasses for their wards. But I had expected higher sales during this season and hope sales will pick up in the coming weeks,” said a shopkeeper in Rolla.
“The prices of our sunglasses range from Dh200 to Dh900. We also offer discounts during summer. I have not witnessed any major change in the sales pattern as yet,” revealed an executive of a popular outlet in Al Wahda Street of Sharjah.
His is not the only store offering discounts during summer. Several optical centres across the country are offering concessions to boost sales.
No qualms about cheap brands
“Brand products are ruled out for me, simply because I cannot afford them. Anyway, I use a photochromatic power glass.
So there is no need for a separate sunglass. I have bought an umbrella and am convinced that umbrellas and sunglasses have a complementary role,” insists Faiyaz Hardwarevala, who works for a Bahrain-based media company in Dubai.
Grade XII student Radhika Kapoor says that she has no qualms when it comes to using cheaper variety sunglasses. “As long as it makes me feel good and look good, what’s the hassle?” she questioned. But is she not worried about the safety aspect?
“Let me tell you that I have used such glasses since childhood. So far so good,” she argued. Her undergraduate sister, who requested not to print her name, concurred.
“Even I have been using such glasses that come for as cheap as Dh5 for years without any problem. But now my parents have offered me money to buy a slightly expensive one. So I may opt for a product in the range of Dh100 to Dh200,” she said. “The beauty of cheaper varieties is that you can use and throw them as and when you feel so.”
Poor quality is ‘dangerous’
Doctors may not necessarily be pleased with such arguments. “It is dangerous to use poor quality sunglasses.
They do not offer enough protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. They can affect vision, cause headaches and even cataract, besides other related ailments. The best solution is to consult a doctor and go for an eye checkup before selecting a sunglass,” advises Dr Ajayakumar, who works for a Dubai-based polyclinic.
Meanwhile, the brand wars are on. While a leading group has unveiled what it calls “vintage and classic designs in a glamourous array of contemporary sun and optical models,” another claims that its sunglasses are “infused with elements to surprise.”
With various brands attempting to make hay while the sun shines, it’s the customers that are turning out to be kings, thanks to the variety offered. But the war between branded ones and cheaper varieties may continue depending on the dirhams in customers’ pockets.