Did somebody say Cheese?

by Penny M

Yes, anything from a grimace to a grin will do as long as features are misplaced for a few seconds, minutes, or more, or more … Fortunately cameras are much faster these days for all except group photos.

Cheese no longer makes me smile. The cost has climbed into the eaves of every food store I know.

It’s a festive season, I think, a thought that no longer brings excitement. Have you noticed how the price of many basic necessities climbs towards December (or any holiday for that matter)? In fact, retailers can’t wait to order and display fresh stocks with price hikes from October onwards. Do they think we don’t notice?

People splurge to buy things they might not normally buy throughout the year. This is because it’s traditionally the season of giving, in celebration of the greatest gift of all.??????

But cheese?

An Economics Lecturer, in the dark ages of my memory, prodded my mind.

“Supply and demand.”

In my bread-winning thinking, this is an excuse trotted out by mercenary mouths who line their pockets for retirement. Many scrimp and save, spend a bonus, take credit. Why should that gift or treat you’ve been ‘scrooging’ for jump in price at year end? Believe me commerce is geared towards making sure there is plenty of supply to meet that demand. The retailers are not counting sheep at night over mark-ups – the consumer is already captivated.

Chain stores (excuse the pun) order extra fashion lines etcetera, mark it up for the festive shopper and then down to the normal price (where they still make there extortionate profit) on sale in January. So who is demanding what from whom? So be it.

Call me a Grinch if you like, but is there any reason why basics should increase in price at Christmas, or any other holiday for that matter? The number of Gammons in fridges under threat of power cuts was enough to alarm anybody who has ever experienced food poisoning. I bought mine early, turned the freezer to maximum and kept the gammon there until just before cooking.

According to an article on Supply and Demand in Wikipedia, there are four rules. I have listed them below with my rough interpretation following in italics:

  1. If demand increases … and supply remains unchanged, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price – suppliers rub their hands with glee, put the prices up and work overtime to meet the demand; or just continue at normal production, but increase the price; or stockpile until retailers are chomping at the bit for stock and then release more at a higher price. (NB – another thought is that they’ve coughed up a lot on expensive advertising to increase demand and have to get it back now).
  2. If demand decreases … and supply remains unchanged, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price – Stands to reason if nobody wants your goods at that price, you will have to drop it to clear the surplus and plan your production accordingly.
  3. If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price – Duh! Bad management! Too many people needing the overtime to pay for the cost of living.
  4. If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price – If the loyal customer can’t do without your stuff, they’ll have to pay! So all the supplier has to do is stockpile and take a holiday I’ve made enough batches of mince pies this season to understand why fruit mince might be in short supply (I paid R19.99 for a jar at Spar), but cheese!

My solution to demanding suppliers:

  1. Know your customer.
  2. Monitor your sales every month.
  3. Produce for your regulars.
  4. If your prices are reasonable, you will attract more customers without unnecessary spend on advertising which drives up your costs.
  5. Plan to meet increased demand at holiday times, but don’t raise your prices. You will sell more which should improve your profit margins.
  6. Factor in your seasonal costs, e.g. overtime, shutdown, bonus cheques and price accordingly all year round.

And last of all, drop the price of cheese and make me smile!


5 thoughts on “Did somebody say Cheese?

  1. jacky says:

    I’m in total agreement Penny – there are more sharks on shore than in the sea at the moment! Last year, at a large supermarket which will remain nameless, I decided to buy our turkeys early since they had a freezer full. On close inspection of the sell by date I discovered that they were up to six months out of date – and no-one had noticed! Happy New Year anyway…

  2. Penny M says:

    Thanks, Jacky. I hope you alerted management and they cleared the freezer!

  3. Penny M says:

    Reblogged this on Penny M and commented:
    Shoppers Unite and communicate your rights!

  4. jac dowling says:

    Yup – I did, and a trolley pusher was immediately (within 20 mins) despatched with trolley which was filled and removed!!! I haven’t checked the dates on the current lot, but the 2 I bought were well in date. My ‘notification’ was met with raised eyebrows, nothing else…

  5. Brigitta says:

    Why should our supermarkets, who have the well-being of the consumer’s pockets at heart (this is what we are lead to believe) drop their prices if Jan Publiek buys without complaining? Sure, some do, but these are a few little drops in the ocean. I am about to visit my butcher to query the misleading label on the packet of bacon that I bought recently. The label clearly states 400g at the top. Lower down and in smaller print the weight is shown as 0.5i8g which one overlooks if your eyes jump to the price lower down. I thought I had bought somewhat of a bargain as the price was lower than a very well-known store which sells at higher prices and what’s more, both have the same supplier, I was told.

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