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.

  • @radiant_bloom@lemm.ee
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    1 month ago

    Complete anecdotal evidence : I’m vegan, and here in France almost none of what I eat has gone up in price much at all.

    I don’t buy any fake meats, I just buy rice / legumes / vegetables / fruit and cook them. I tend to add a lot of spicy sauce, which also hasn’t changed much in price (but it was expensive to begin with).

    I guess check the price of vegan whole foods ? I dont know if this is applicable to any other country, let alone any other supermarket 😆

    • @captainlezbian@lemmy.world
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      21 month ago

      As an American vegetarian yeah it’s like that here. A can of beans is still cheap as is a box of pasta (though it did get a 25% price hike a few years ago)

  • poVoqM
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    1 month ago

    Not exactly sure how this is related to Anarchism, but an anarchist answer would be: shoplifting ;)

    Of course buying in bulk and sharing with others can also help to some extend.

    • @Dearth@lemmy.world
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      51 month ago

      The real anarchist answer is dumpster diving. Removing usable consumable goods from the trash stream is infinitely better for the world than stealing goods from shelves

      • punkisundead [they/them]
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        31 month ago

        There is not “one” real anarchist answer. There a so many perspectives in anarchism, that claiming so is really misleading imo.

        For many things(meat, PS5, alcohol, medical supplies) its close to impossible or nor feasible to get them via dumpster diving.

        And about the “better for the world part” I think you are wrong, but tbh its not like it matters. People should steal stuff because they want it and not because it makes the world better.

      • @Omega_Haxors@lemmy.ml
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        1 month ago

        This lacks so much class consciousness it hurts. As far as capitalists are concerned, stealing from the trash is the same as stealing from the shelf.

  • @5714@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    81 month ago

    You forgot the others with the same problem.

    For most food there are agricultural cooperatives (Community-Supported Agriculture, CSA). They have several benefits, but one is a relatively steady and plentiful supply of local, seasonal food. It’s best to share surplusses with friends or local foodsharing networks (online, public fridges) and to become knowledgeable in food conservation.

    For foods and products better produced non-locally (transport costs are just a small part of product life cycles (Life-Cycle Assessment)), there is the group buying strategy, where folks gather to buy at reduced costs (be careful not to reinvent the supermarket from scratch though).

  • @Logh@lemmy.ml
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    51 month 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.

  • @apis@beehaw.org
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    21 month 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.