Of course, we can do something as well. For a start we can try breeding out of ourselves the diseased tolerance of being ripped off, sold out, and we can do as National Consumer Agency Chairman Ann Fitzgerald has urged us; start acting up about shops, pubs and restaurants that rip us off.
The old Irish adage “whatever you say, say nothing” should be replaced by “what ever you say, say it loud and clear”. Taking inspiration from the Land League over a 100 years ago, rip-off merchants should be named, shamed and boycotted until they bring their prices down. Starting with an overpriced and underdelivering public sector. Tolerance of dead weight in our economy should now be officially declared over. Competition is not just for private-sector workers.
ValueIreland.com has been calling for this for the past 5 years. This was our introduction to the website way back in August 2003:
The aim of Value Ireland is to provide greater information to consumers of Irish goods and services to allow them avoid the so-called “Rip off Merchants”, and to concentrate their purchasing activities on those providers that are known to provide value, as well as quality and service.
Unfortunately, as I commented recently here during the (very shortlived) controversy about the Euro-Sterling dual pricing issue, most Irish consumers still haven’t arrived at the crunch point yet where they actually need to be careful about their spending. There’s still more than enough money to go around.