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One way competition works

However, these headline rates of inflation can mask big differences between products on shelves. Supermarket bosses have been keeping a lid on the price of everyday items in an effort to attract and retain shoppers, while raising the cost of less common items at above inflation rates.

Everyday items are the ones where we shoppers have an inbuilt price guide. We carry around in our heads the likely prices of some small number of things we buy regularly. That’s where most of the competition in supermarket prices is, in the things that we clock the price of.

In one way we can think of it as “the bastards”. They pull us in with their tricks and then overcharge us elsewhere. In another way we can use it as proof that competition works. Where price competition does actually get noted then that’s where it exists.

Executives and industry leaders pay close to the average shopping basket. A total of 33 products – spanning both branded and private label – are tracked every week by data firm Assosia and the Grocer.

See?

23 thoughts on “One way competition works”

  1. Prices are capricious, inflation is psychological, and doesn’t indexation guarantee real purchasing power stability, so why worry about nominal inflation?

  2. Only in telegraph-land can a praiseworthy decision to prioritise keeping a lid on the prices of everyday items at this time be seen as a bad thing.

  3. A total of 33 products – spanning both branded and private label – are tracked every week by data firm Assosia
    So <1% of the products on the shelves. As bad as the prices we carry around in our heads.

  4. Executives and industry leaders pay close to the average shopping basket.
    Well, I went & looked at the actual article & it did indeed say that. And there was was I under the impression that executives & industry leaders spent their money on fat cuban cigars & jars of beluga. Well I never! They buy sliced white & spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce like the rest of us. Do they do their own queueing at Lidl or do they have people do it for them?

    Journalists, eh?

  5. Bloke in Germany in God's own county

    Supermarkets in the Fourth Reich are raising prices by ensuring that the cheap own brand stuff is out of stock more often than not.

  6. Now, however, the era of low prices has come to a juddering halt.

    Oh, it just “came to a halt”, did it?

    Like the weather, or 50,000 swarthy rapists washing ashore up in Kent to claim their free money and Fiki-Fiki, rampaging inflation is something that just happens by itself?

    In related news, the FT reassures us that Whitehall prepares for winter blackouts with carbon-paper copying

    Idk about you blokes, but I’m not exactly encouraged by the idea that (a) there’s a very serious chance they won’t be able to keep London (!) electrified this winter; and (b) the government is still planning on taxing the shit out of us even after it fails to keep the lights on (I’d be more reassured if they were planning to permanently fuck off, like Sri Lanka’s former government).

    This would seem to imply a situation so severe that the second and third order effects will also be extremely unhappy and unpredictable. As in, massive unemployment, poverty and human misery across the whole of Western Europe, on a scale we’ve never seen before in our lifetimes.

    Rioting? Maybe. It was only a few years ago the Diversity was rioting across England for literally no reason at all (Diversity is reason enough). I tend to think that’ll wait for next summer tho.

    So, timing.

    The G7 still thinks it’s a jolly good idea to dictate the price at which other countries may be permitted to buy oil from Russia. You can imagine how impressed China and India are at the notion white people will disrupt their vital energy imports during a global economic meltdown caused by those same white people.

    But it also seals the deal on NordStream. NordStream looks very unlikely to come back online now, since the main beneficiaries of NordStream just doubled (tripled, quadrupled?) down on trying to destroy the Russian economy.

    Idk what else to tell you, this is the end of the road for “the West” as we’ve known it since the middle of the 20th century. There’s no plan to fix it, only plans to deliberately prolong and inflame the crisis. What’s emerging in its place is going to be a lot poorer and a lot less free, PedoHitler’s Night of Blood speech was a peek into the festering insanity of our beloved elites.

    We may, by the winter of 2023, be hoping the Russian army comes to liberate us from our exceptionally gay overlords so that Brits can afford cars, meat and central heating again. In the meantime, I hope the BBC cracks down hard on the racist term “blackouts”, and defines it as “electricity shortages of colour”.

  7. My usual Warbutons loaf has gone up from £1.55 to £1.95, at the same time the near-identical Co-Op loaf has gone down from £1.25 to £1.05, so naturally I now buy the Co-op loaf. An inflation rate of minus 33%.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    We’ve had years of Guardian articles lamenting food being too cheap. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Torygraph hasn’t run a few as well.

    Shouldn’t they all be rejoicing?

  9. We may, by the winter of 2023, be hoping the Russian army comes to liberate us . . .

    Some of you have been hoping for that since the winter of 2021.

  10. PJF – Some of you have been hoping for that since the winter of 2021.

    Da, comrade. Imagine telling somebody from 1991 that we’d be the ones needing glasnost and economic restructuring {sips vodka, depressedly}

    At least the music was better in 1991. I was at a summer party a couple of weeks ago (probably the last of the summer wine for this year, looking at the weather today) and some young people insisted on playing their young people ‘music’. It was like being forced to sit thru Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka’s horrid acid trip boat ride. I don’t think t.A.T.u. could be worse.

  11. PJF, Steve: the parallels of the collapse of the Russian economy in the 90s and the self inflicted economic hole that Natostan and especially the EU are herding their countries into, must give Putin and older Russians deep satisfaction, especially as the expressed aim of the sanctions was to do this to them, again.

  12. . . . especially as the expressed aim of the sanctions was to do this to them, again.

    Again? I thought you just said the collapse of the 90s Russian economy was self inflicted?

    Also again – leaving out the most important reason for the sanctions.

    Poor ickle Ruskie Wuskies, so misunderstood.

  13. Ljh – it does. Russians have long been jealous of the “golden billion” (a popular conspiracy theory that the West is rich because it’s stealing* from the rest, which is a lot more comforting to believe than facing up to the endemic corruption in Russia), and are enjoying seeing our sanctions boomerang back on us.

    It’s exactly like the recent failed counterattack Ukraine was pressured into attempting – the Russians allowed their enemies to cross the river in significant numbers before bombing their pontoon bridges and murdering them. We really shouldn’t need to be Corsican midgets to understand the concept of not interrupting your foe while he’s making an oopsie. As with the tactical situation, so too with the strategic picture – the West has already lost this war, there are only different flavours of defeat on the menu now. But we keep escalating anyway, because that’s all we know.

    The economic outlook for Russia looks pretty bad tho, it only looks good in comparison with the economic outlook for the West, which is unspeakably awful. At least they have lots of lovely raw materials, energy and agriculture – aka the real economy – we’re facing shortages of everything except wankers hoping to use the crisis to immiserate the proles, forever.

    *to some extent, justified by the dollar’s current privileged status allowing the US government to spend wildly beyond its means and export its inflation to the sucker countries, but that still doesn’t explain why Western Europe has been comfortably ahead of Ruski living standards for centuries.

  14. Steve,

    “In related news, the FT reassures us that Whitehall prepares for winter blackouts with carbon-paper copying

    Idk about you blokes, but I’m not exactly encouraged by the idea that (a) there’s a very serious chance they won’t be able to keep London (!) electrified this winter; and (b) the government is still planning on taxing the shit out of us even after it fails to keep the lights on (I’d be more reassured if they were planning to permanently fuck off, like Sri Lanka’s former government).”

    I had to check out that story. The problem with this stuff is that it’s still dicking around at a government level. But I’m not sure that the public wants to tidy its room, get a haircut, stop listening to My Chemical Romance and grow the fuck up.

    What are the signs that people are worried about money? You might think things like making a picnic instead of going to Nando’s, suspending the replacement of a shiny car with a more shiny car, pubs no longer serving craft gin because people are going back to Gordon’s. Apple stores closing because you know, those £200 Androids work great. Every pub is still sold out for Sunday lunch. People regularly do this, at the cost of hundreds per month (and let’s be honest, cooking a roast is something that spastics could do).

  15. BoM4 – What are the signs that people are worried about money?

    Looks like the public is being slow-boiled. After six months of solid shite about imminent victory over Russia the MSM is starting to prep them for their new, considerably poorer lives. But still mostly framing this as if it’s a temporary crisis that can be solved by the government Doing Something. There’s also a vague, and completely fantastical, idea that things are better in the EU.

    Based on what people are telling me, the penny is a long way from dropping. They are anxious about rising bills and wages falling behind inflation, but most of them haven’t connected the dots to what this is gonna mean for them personally. A lot of people I know are still planning expensive holidays next year.

    What a lad Boris Johnson is, btw. In only two years he’s managed to achieve what 13 years of Blair and Brown couldn’t – the complete destruction of the British economy. Incredible.

  16. It’s exactly like the recent failed counterattack Ukraine was pressured into attempting . . .

    Pressured? just the other day you were saying Ukraine was deadly serious about a counteroffensive:

    https://www.timworstall.com/2022/08/why-would-any-of-us-want-to-tie-up-with-germany-militarily/#comment-1234953

    But, of course, “Ukraine being pressured” is the latest Russian propaganda position that Steve must* reliably parrot. The operation having failed is also Russian News, despite it being less than a week old and the Ukrainians making better progress than the invader at the moment.

    * Some sort of OCD maybe, or PTSD over abortion? Whatever it is, according to private Steve Frazer the Lord Haw-Haw, the “West” is vile and will fail into a miserable doooom, aye, doom.

  17. Bloke in Germany in God's own county

    Steve, Boris built on his predecessors.

    None of whom were as clever as Mutti, who planted a whole series of time bombs under German and European economy and society, all primed to go off once out of office.

  18. There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy. (Alfred Henry Lewis)
    Probably even fewer if there is no electricity.

  19. PJF – Pressured? just the other day you were saying Ukraine was deadly serious about a counteroffensive:

    Do you ever tire of these sort of womanish gotcha attempts?

    Yes, it was a serious attempt at regaining the initiative. You don’t send thousands of men to their deaths for a laugh. Yes, it was under pressure from the US plus allies. That’s why Boris was there. These are not mutually incompatible things.

    But, of course, “Ukraine being pressured” is the latest Russian propaganda position

    My advice is to stop worrying about ‘Russian propaganda’ and start worrying about the continued existence of your savings and pension.

    The operation having failed is also Russian News, despite it being less than a week old

    Six months of this shit, and you’re still convinced Steiner’s going to save the day. Probably shouldn’t go around accusing other people of mental health problems.

    Some sort of OCD maybe

    I think the biggest war in Europe since 1945 and the attendant destruction of trillions of pounds of value in our economy and the social consequences of that are important. You think huffing copium while furiously massaging your enlarged prostate with a little plastic Ukie flag is important. We are not the same.

    BiG – now we know what Boris meant when he told Merkel “wir schaffen das”.

  20. Do you ever tire of these sort of womanish gotcha attempts?

    It worked then.

    Yes . . . [dancing] . . . Yes . . . [dancing] . . . That’s why Boris was there. . . [jacket thrown off dance floor] . . .

    Boris was there to get his consolation gold star on the Kyiv walk of fame.

    My advice is to stop worrying about ‘Russian propaganda’ and start worrying about the continued existence of your savings and pension.

    Your general advice is to shit ourselves and surrender.

    Six months of this shit, and you’re still convinced Steiner’s going to save the day.

    Don’t project your absolutism onto others. I have no idea how it’s going to go. I said at the beginning I thought Ukraine (with help) could contain the invasion rather than be overrun and the resulting quagmire along with sanctions might result in Russia quitting. I still think that’s a worthwhile aim.

    I think the biggest war in Europe since 1945 and the attendant destruction of trillions of pounds of value in our economy and the social consequences of that are important.

    So important you want us to lose.

    We are not the same.

    We’re certainly not. I don’t believe we can avoid Putin having us by the balls by dint of having no balls. Reagan showed us the way. Stare the fuckers down. Add more weapons. Pile on more sanctions. Keep tipping it in. They’ll fold.

    By the way, you’re more amusing when you’re not trying to be funny.

  21. @Steve – “50,000 swarthy rapists washing ashore up in Kent”

    The idiotic racist/xenophobic bigotry doesn’t make you look at all convincing.

    “You can imagine how impressed China and India are at the notion white people will disrupt their vital energy imports”

    They’re delighted. If the stuff cannot be sold to Europe, it depresses the price, so other places such as China and India can buy it cheaper. They must be great fans of the sanctions – not only can they buy stuff cheaper from Russia, but also Russia is forced to turn to them to buy other things which they can then charge more for.

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