Regulation on large supermarkets went too far

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Regulation on large supermarkets went too far

After reading the Korea JoongAng Daily article “No tofu, eggs or soju at E-Mart if Seoul gets its way” (March 9), I found myself surprised at the persistence of lawmakers in taking a bad idea even further. These measures are supposed to help mom-and-pop markets, but I believe they are doing more harm than good.

Now they want to prevent the large supermarkets from selling 51 staple items so as to force consumers to give business to smaller markets because the other measures aren’t working? This seems ridiculous.

It seems clear that many consumers prefer large supermarkets over the smaller markets. There are many obvious reasons for this. Prices, convenient hours for those working nonconventional hours, one-stop shopping and adequate parking are among the more apparent.

Another reason, which seems to me to be very important, is the fact that the livelihoods of supermarket employees will be negatively affected. There must be thousands and thousands of people who work at the supermarkets who will lose hours, if not their jobs, when the supermarkets are forced to close.

Although the mom-and-pop stores’ business may be suffering, at least these people own businesses. They are relatively well off. But what about those thousands of middle-aged people who work various jobs at the supermarkets who may not be able to make up for lost wages or who may lose their jobs because of the reduction of supermarket hours and closures? What about the younger people who may not even get an entry-level job because of the closures and reductions?

The supermarkets are willing to give these people employment opportunities; the customers are willing to provide business. But the regulators seem only concerned with the relatively few owners of small businesses; they don’t seem to consider the hardship of thousands of these supermarket employees.

Once again, I sympathize with the plight of the small market operators. But surely the inconvenience for such a very large number of affected consumers as well as the aforementioned supermarket employees should make the regulators reconsider their proposals. The modern consumer already has many hurdles to jump in order to provide a fair livelihood for themselves. Removing these regulatory hurdles would be a step in the right direction.

James McIvor, Busan resident

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