The British people have an unfortunate trait in that sometimes it takes them a long time to catch-on when they are being conned – we are too trusting you see.
The population finally woke-up a bit in the 1990s and realised that they were widely, constantly and consistently being ripped-off with exorbitant charges on products, services, and all else. It had become obvious that we were paying massively and significantly more than the consumers in other European countries and in America, and this caused a backlash at the time. The higher prices charged here are in spite of business costs (like transport) being potentially lower in the UK, as we have shortish distances between high density populations.
Has that outrage all changed now then – are we getting a fair and equal deal these days? Dream on everybody – we are still live in Rip-off Britain even now, don’t you think?
You see in a ‘multi-national’ corporation driven market economy, the way it works is this; companies simply consider what to charge in each of its target markets – and they will then raise their prices to whatever they can get away with, won’t they? When they identify a ‘soft’ market like the United Kingdom they jointly increase their prices (even without direct collusion) to gain maximum profit – provided all competitors do just that, they can each secure a reasonable split of the total sales available and share the colossal increased spoils. By contrast in highly competitive country markets though all the companies have to cut prices and so make less profit.
In Britain all our governments have been total crap at protecting the consumer and ensuring effective competition. They have even allowed all our national assets to be sold off to foreigners who then milk our people dry without mercy. This is compounded by the un-savvy nature of the Brits, who are pretty incompetent themselves when it comes to dealing with the rip-off merchants. [the UK is colloquially known elsewhere as “Treasure Island“].
So some twenty years ago, our car buyers (making one of their largest financial investments of course) were amongst the first of those who realised how bad things had become in Rip-off Britain, when they found that getting on a ferry to the Continent gave them access to the same cars at a substantial discount – they said ‘enough is enough’ and this has finally resulted in fairer car prices in the UK. Wow!
Taxation has always played its part here as well of course, because our governments’ high tax on things like fuel and alcohol (and latterly increased VAT) distorts the total retail price which allows producers and retailers to mask excessively high profits and hinders price comparison with other countries.
You only have to look at our fuel prices even now to see that, don’t you? When global oil prices drop there is always a delay in a corresponding drop in petrol and diesel costs – retailers are keen to cite the fact they fix the price of oil in advance of purchasing so there cannot be an immediate adjustment – but somehow when oil costs go in the opposite direction, the forecourt prices go up ‘immediately’ (strange?).
Despite a recent year-long dramatic period of world continual oil cost slump, when indeed petrol and diesel prices here dropped, they now continue to creep upwards again instead of going in the opposite direction (oil prices down five percent but petrol up seven pence a litre no less since February). Did we consumers really fully benefit from the oil & fuel price fall – well, for instance bus companies and airlines certainly have been seen missing in passing on their substantial savings to customers haven’t they? (Straight into their profits, you see).
Then we still see inexplicable and vast pricing disparities continuing to exist between fuel forecourts, despite the fact that they are geographically very close to each other – how the hell can that be explained other than scum profiteering?
Even on the most basic aspects of living we have got ripped-off. For donkeys years our supermarkets have been taking us to the cleaners, overcharging us, bamboozling the shopper, misleading all and sundry with pretend sales, reductions & special offers, and consequently banking excess billions in profits. It has taken a couple of German discounters to expose it all, over the past few years, and start a price war where we now can see prices plummet to a fairer level (but the big 5 are still trying it on with their BOGOFs and the like – the supermarket equivalent of the ‘Find the Lady’ street card trick).
The rip-off hits every aspect of life in the UK – take for example English Premiership football. The cost of a fan’s season ticket is astronomical – Arsenal is the highest at £1014 – £2013; compare that with a top German Bundesliga team like champions Bayern Munich at £110; or say renowned Barcelona in Spain’s Premera at £105. Ah, you might say “but are our teams better though”? The answer to that is a blunt NO; Germany hold the World Cup (2014) and Spain won previously (2010); furthermore, for the second time in the last three years no English team has even reached the last eight in the European Champions league, let alone win it! [ah, we did win once in the last decade]. Who are ripping-off fans then? Foreigners or non-UK based rich people of course – all but perhaps five (Burnley, Newcastle, Stoke, West Brom, & Crystal Palace) of our twenty current premiership clubs are owned by abroad (America, Russia, Iran, Egypt, Thailand, UAE, India, Switzerland, South Africa, Iceland, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, etc).
What do our governments ever do to protect us in rip-off Britain then? You’ve guessed it – NOTHING of course. Other county’s governments would not allow what goes on here – or their populations would take to the streets, wouldn’t they?
[Other major United Kingdom rip-offs items & merchants include Railways, Banks & Loans, Water suppliers, Mobile operators, Insurance, Premium rate phone numbers, Travel, Energy companies, Parking, Buses, Postal charges, Motorway services, Electronics goods, Speed cameras, Payday loans, Estate agents, Car running costs, Childcare, Credit cards, DVDs & 3-D films, Internet scammers, Property rental, Designer goods, Rogue traders, Store cards, Multi-national minimum wage & zero hours employers, Junk food peddlers, etc]