In a bid to lure customers ahead of Ramadan seasons, traders employed their sense of humor, unique to Egyptian culture, and decided to give dates a makeover and change their names to public figures.
Instead of being named after celebrities and popular football players --Yousra, Ilham Shaheen, Shikabala and Abou Treka – they would be named after politicians.
No matter what your leanings, there is a date for you: Ikhwan, Muslim Brotherhood, or Foloul, supporters of the Mubarak regime, even, Saad El-Katatni, head of parliament.
“Prices for dates range from 3 to 15 L.E. ($0.49- $2.47). Osama Bin Laden dates are priced at 18 L.E. ($2.97),” local trader Mohammed Zaki said on a TV show on Dream 2 on Thursday.
The turbulence in the country and the prolonged presidential elections delayed the release of dates into the market by approximately two weeks. In addition, hesitance among the suppliers, the distributors and the truck drivers contributed to the setbacks.
Consumption of dates is one of the most common rituals during Ramadan as it is used to break the fast. Every household is thus bound to stock up on the seasonal delight.
However, sales have gone down by about 30 to 40 per cent estimates one vendor. As a result, traders have lowered prices, in hopes of keeping the market going.
“People are fed up. Look at the dates. The full load that I came with this morning is still there, sitting under the sun all day. There are no customers,” a female vendor said on the same aforementioned show.
On the other hand, some vendors have not lost hope. “Within just a few days, the number of buyers will increase as people are still preparing for the advent of Ramadan. Those same factors that delayed releasing the dates into the market have also delayed the people from starting to prepare earlier,” said Saad Zaki, another trader in the market.