“Look at what they make you give” .. To use a phrase from the Jason Bourne films.
Today, Friday 14th, was the day the US markets went “stratospheric” in response to the Fed’s announcement that the next round of Quantitative Easing would have no limit…whatever that means…
At the same time as this “sugar rush” euphoria in the US, a former senior banker in the UK, in the wake of the 2007/8 credit crunch aftermath, has been fined and served with other sanctions for having failed in his management responsibilities and for cultivating a culture of optimism even in the face of evidence that the risk was just getting bigger – too big, ultimately causing the demise of one of our banks.
Chalk and Cheese.
Meanwhile, back on the ground, one may observe that at an anecdotal level, UK retail pricing continues to be “fabulously high” compared with our European counterparts.
As a rough guide, in competitive retail outlets in the south of UK, after shopping around a bit, vegetables appear to cost around £1 per kg, fruit around £2 per kg and meat around £3/£3.50 per kg. However, some well known retailers appear to be charging considerably more than these averages – and yet people are paying the prices…..
Looking into this a bit more, one can find prepared chicken pieces in a wrapped tray selling for over £20 per kg and pre cut fruit in a tray priced even higher. The average price of a well known bottled water is around £1.20 per litre. By contrast, a rather average bottle of wine can set you back a factor of a hundred – £120 per litre.
And yet people still buy at these prices.
Certain newspapers appear to have increased their retail price at least twice over the last year.
Another ruse appears to be the pricing of fruit “each” instead of per kg and wrapping them in preformed over large plastic trays to give a “better visual display”.
Not to mention “extra free” packs where the “extra” is – well – not really extra but more likely a reduced standard packsize replacing a previous larger pack at the same price.
We won’t talk about the cost of fuel…
Although many shoppers have indeed cut back on expenditure, the fact remains that still many people appear simply not to have the time energy or inclination to protest too much and simply resign themselves to “buying time” by way of prepared food purchases at premium prices.
Buying your “five a day” can work out to cost about £3/3.50 per person per day.
Is this the gripe of just the hard pressed masses?
I am reminded of a conversation with a client some years ago now who commented at the time that “people think that just because I am well off, I don’t value the cost of things, that I will pay any price without questioning. Well, I do value how much things cost. I didn’t start out well off – I had to work hard to get here – and I still check every penny of expenditure on my bank statements. This house I live in will be here long after I’m gone – I’m just looking after it for the next owner…”
Everyone, rich or not so rich, sooner or later (if not already), will realise that actually the cost of living could be less, a lot less.
And at a time when more and more reports are being made that people, young families, single mums with children, are having to rely on charity food parcels because they can’t “make ends meet”, perhaps it is time for us all to reflect on where our economy is actually taking us.