Friday, August 27, 2010

FORCED TO CONTENT: The role of the Sachet economy

The role of the Sachet economy

by Paul Smirnoff

In a sari-sari store, anything is full of goods, ready to be sold at no time. But these products displayed seemed to be different every year, increased or reduced just to be sold as possible.

Why? Packets replaced Cans, Sachets replaced Bottles, anything tangible by the palm end up by the finger as people, for the sake of cheapness and easy satisfaction, compelled to buy those commodities just to spend less instead of expensive ones the middle class commonly or the rest of the people supposedly used to buy.

In addition to that, these kinds of products, now in packet and in sachet shows how manufacturers, compelled by profit and the like, are being mass produced without sacrificing its bigger chunk of profit being accumulated. And somehow, it is also an attempt to control costumer need and of its "buy cheap sell dear" tradition. As well as reducing the role of the manufacturer as the prime mover and be replaced by the market-for it is lucrative so to speak.

And somehow these sachets and packs lies a total change in Pilipino life. Is it the ration-ization of goods as we expected? as The Philippine Collegian article entitled "DOWNSIZE: the Sachet Phenomenon in the Philippines" by Dianne Sayaman said:
"Items of everyday life now come in small, cheap, and convenient packets. A 3-in-1 sachet of coffee starts everyone’s day. In the bathroom, somebody rips open a twin-pack sachet of shampoo and conditioner. Meanwhile, lunch for a family of six consists of corned beef poured from a tetra pack and sautéed in cooking oil from a 100-mL pack. At the end of the day, the neighborhood drunkard sips gin from a 10-mL sachet, resembling a kid drinking orange juice. The smallest of things make life easier in the Philippines. Size, at least for product packaging, does matter. More and more commodities are reducing their sizes to fit tetra packs and sachets."

If that's the case, how come the Philippines alone are being forced into using packs and sachets instead of the conventional bottle or can? Just because it is less problematic in the side of the manufacturer in accumulating profits? A compromise for its "buy cheap and sell dear" ethic and the demands of the third world consumer? Or its resort as most companies are moving out of the country (like Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive) for bigger markets while accumulating raw materials from us? And speaking of having raw materials, aren't we supposed to carry by the bulk than by the finger?

These really shows that Sachets, Packets, anything carried by the fingers render an illusion that despite people’s meager spending power, commodities are still available and affordable. It offers an enough compromise both profiteer and consumer in regards to goods, or even a measure to effectively keep dissent at bay. Creating a lesson that "buying a tetra pack of sardines sounds better than skipping a meal."