Political parties offering members shop discounts

SAVINGS AID::The DPP followed the KMT’s lead by launching the ‘Green Store Alliance’ in New Taipei City, in which its members get discounts at certain stores

By Kuo Yen-hui, Lee Hsin-hung and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 - Page 3

The nation’s main political parties are battling tough economic times by offering store discounts for party members so they can enjoy savings on their everyday shopping.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) New Taipei City (新北市) branch office on Thursday started the “Green Store Alliance” (綠色商店聯盟), through which DPP members can receive discounts on items and services when shopping in a network of 150 stores around New Taipei City.

Party officials said members are happy to get more “bang for their buck,” adding that the scheme can also bind people together for greater unity.

“Green represents the DPP’s core values of love our country, love our land and good governance. The green stores also identify with these values. Some stores are run by party members and they involve many businesses and services, such as eateries, clothing stores, housing, transport and leisure,” said DPP New Taipei City office director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), who initiated the alliance.

“Through matching consumer demand and stores supplying what they need, the scheme is mutually beneficial for people who share a common political allegiance,” he added.

The different discounts offered at the “green stores” include forgoing the registry fee at a clinic in Taishan (泰山) and 20 percent off all goods at a fruit and vegetable shop in Banciao (板橋), Lo said.

The discounts are currently for party members only, but Lo said he plans to expand the scheme to all green-camp supporters in the second phase.

A similar scheme has been operated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for some years.

According to Tsao Kuei-sen (曹貴森), a member of the KMT’s New Taipei City branch office, the party started a chain of “special commissioned stores for party members” throughout the nation eight years ago.

Ninety-six stores in New Taipei City have signed up to take part in the scheme, which boasts a total of 842 participating stores nationwide, where people with a KMT membership card can get discounts ranging from 5 percent up to 40 percent, he said.

Services and goods offered by these stores include books, stationery, cosmetics, sporting goods, home appliances, automotive, hair salons, restaurants, tobacco and alcohol, clothing, pet shops, musical instruments, mobile phones, jewelry, watches, shoes, bakeries, pharmacies and others, Tsao said, adding that details can be found on the official KMT Web site.