Yes, I know the answer is “don’t buy them”.

Anyway: I’ve been seeing posts in places that follow the format: “Look how item X in (rich country) costs the same or is more expensive than in Poland”

Admittedly, those posts aren’t about basic necessities. They are about football tickets and the stadium beers or about Subway sandwiches. Although from personal experience, I know that this is happening with groceries as well. Inflation and the war across the border was a great excuse to hike the price of some goods. This doesn’t seem just to me, given the wage disparity between say Ireland and Poland. But hey, you gotta get that YoY 20% growth somehow. Poland being the poster child of “look what capitalism does”.

So when we take the example of buying groceries to stay alive, what alternative do you have to the large stores that are obviously fucking you over? I can afford to pay those inflated prices, I just don’t want to affirm the effectiveness of the “let’s hike the prices of everything because we have the excuse to” master plan.

Here are some loose (privileged), perhaps not particularly good ideas that I’ve had:

  1. Buy food from the inflation basket The Polish (and others probably too) statistical institution keeps a “secret” basket of items based on which the inflation is calculated. It’s clear that at least some of those items are known to the stores, because they always cost less, to artificially keep the inflation down. This could work, as long as the stores don’t drop the ball on the quality.

  2. Buy local? The thing is that while a supermarket chain has a team of people trying to get people to buy more stuff, the humble farmer selling stuff on the local vegetable market does not.

The same goes for clothes, as I could get bring my own materials and get some made by a local tailor, rather than buying off-the-rack chinesium from Zara. And look a little more old school wearing it. Though a tailor is a different level of service.

My local fancy soap shop is several times more expensive than just buying generic tallow bar soap. Sure it’s made by local workers within my city, but that’s part of the value, hence the price hike.

    52 months ago

    Not exactly sure if I understand it right, but I do have some habits connected to price gouged goods. I always try to shop in a way that the price I pay for an item is as close as possible to the price to manufacture it (get good deals basically).

    For new clothing I only shop at outlets where I can get good quality from name brands for a 50%-90% discount. Shopping “behind the season” helps a lot. I usually buy warm clothes in the spring and summer clothes in the fall/winter when they try to clear out surplus, or just buy last year’s models. A few weeks ago I bought 70 euro shirts for 10 euros because they were from last year.

    For food I buy stuff in bulk when I can, but I also go for sell by date discounts. Close to me there is a shop that always orders a huge inventory of premium groceries that they can never move in time. So once or twice a week I walk in and check whats on sale and what is likely to be on sale soon. That’s how I end up eating the occasional lobster dinner or go on a premium chocolate binge for pennies. A few times I ran into some discounts where the item was sold at a loss.

    So yeah, just look for good deals and try to reduce the profit margin of the company selling it as much as you possible. Then, take all the money you saved and support local businesses.