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.

  • @apis@beehaw.org
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    22 months ago

    Tbh I think that simply considering each purchase in light of your circumstances is likely more useful than generic advice & you already seem to be doing that.

    Suppose I’d be a bit wary of assuming that that local sellers really do rely on local producers paying local wages. Many are fine & I’ve no problem with any of these pulling minor illusions to keep going (in many cases might encourage it!), but there’s acres of opportunity for the extra-exploitative uber-gouger in this part of the market.

    Seems to me that groups to grow food, mend stuff, make things, share tools, exchange knowledge etc. are more likely to be useful resources when you do need guidance on specific types of purchase wherever you live than us randomers.