Now I am all for cutting bills, as a stay at home mum I spend hours doing this. Comparing everything we buy. I do love a bargain, but at what cost? Or more accurately at what cost to who? For this post I will look at two contributing parts to this.
First, briefly, people being greedy, charging too much for products and services we really do need, for example interests rates on mortgages/ rent, and the house hold bills (utilities), creating a need for us to save money in other areas to pay for these. Secondly in looking for the bargain have we helped damaged our own economy and maybe even created a snowball effect (or maybe it should be a melting snowball) and that is the main focus of my post (rant)
The cycle, for want of a better word, I am trying to refer to is this:
- I wanted to save money so bought a cheaper item, possibly imported,
- for other local company’s to sell this item, sellers needed to reduce their prices to be competitive
- they weren’t making so much money anymore as their mark ups are lower
- they couldn’t employ as many staff/ could only afford to pay a lower wage to employees
- staff that were affected by this didn’t have as much income as before/ they would have had
- they needed to look for cheaper alternatives because they now have a tighter budget
- they bought a cheaper item to save money.. return to the first bullet point (with a little bit less money in the system)
another example, slightly closer to home is:
Take the dairy farmer, the cost of a lot of his expenses have gone up (possible examples: interest rates/rent/ electricity/ oil) but the milk prices were good so this balanced this out for a while. Some farmers decided to up their herd size to make the most of the prices, but he wasn’t in such a position as he was not a big business, the demand for milk has gone down so this along with the supermarkets wanting to sell 4 pints under £1 the price he gets for his milk has gone down. He either become the person above who has a reduced income so need to tighten my budget or it could be enough to make him make a loss and call it a day with the farm. So He sells up, setting a farm up is an expensive thing, not many people can afford to do this in which case his farm will no longer be a dairy farm, maybe a housing developer will buy my land and not only will he and his staff loose their income but no one will be replacing the vacancies they have left either. One day the housing developer might get permission to build so there could be employment possibilities eventually for a short while, but from that piece of land it will only be for a short time that it earns somebody money. There will be less money in the local economy, so they will not be able to spend as much.
The same applies for the greengrocer you avoided, the local florist, local hardware store, the butcher and the baker. We chose to buy cheaper at the supermarket/online, they hold the monopoly, and pay the manufacture /farmer what they want or source it overseas, so by avoiding them we also turned our back on our farmers and manufactures therefore helping create a lack of local jobs, we helped increase unemployment, we helped make ourselves poorer. This in my opinion is a massive factor why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, being really down about it we could say we will end up like in Poldark times with a massive separation in classes if it was to continue as it is.
So what do we do now, well even if I have convinced you, the majority will still be looking out for number one and feed the system to continue its path of self destruction. What makes me sure of this..
I, as a volunteer, run a local community group on Facebook, set up to help local business and community groups spread the word about their greatness! But local support is very low (even by the businesses themselves), interaction on the pages in minimal… yet the items for free page is booming with activity, in fact to the point where the admin on that page are having to step in on posts. Too many people asking for things appose to offering things (which is what is meant to happen) but get this they aren’t in total despair that they really could do with that particular item.. Oh no! they are being selective, even requesting they will only want people to DONATE items to them if it’s a certain colour! So even the poor are being greedy by wanting more for less, is this as bad as the first paragraph where I said about businesses wanting more money for the product/ service they provide? Is it to an extent the same thing?
If you have made it this far, please understand, I understand if you haven’t got the the money you can’t pay for more expensive things, I have own brands in my cupboards, I can’t afford to shop posh either! We are a product of many generations decisions but we can make sure our purchases have a fair history in getting to you, we can look for local options to compare with. My local butchers sausages are almost as cheep as the supermarkets (as a returning customer I do get an as good price sometimes) and they have better quality meat in them, lets face it your paying for a lump of lard with a few specks of poor quality meat in some of them (did you see that program about saving money on channel 1 where they showed you how much fat was in some of them!)
This is only my rant on the issue, it is not intended to make people feel bad that they can’t afford things, I just wanted to open the thoughts of double checking what we buy is a fair product to everyone involved in getting it to you.
A fair system is where we only earn what we need, not hiding billions in overseas accounts, where savings are passed on to customers but also where savings don’t put local people out of business!