Choosing the cheapest option isn't always the best option when it comes to supporting a healthy and diverse economy.
Choosing the cheapest option isn't always the best option when it comes to supporting a healthy and diverse economy. PeopleImages

Stop being a tight-arse, your country will thank you


AUSTRALIAN entrepreneur Dick Smith recently announced he has been squeezed out of business by German supermarket giant Aldi, the plans to close the 20-year-old food company that brought us Ozemite the "saddest decision" of his life.

But it's not Aldi's fault and Dick, being the astute businessman he is, knows this and pointed out as much amongst his supermarket slamming.

Aldi aren't breaking any laws when they source the cheapest possible food lines around the world without sacrificing quality, the are merely servicing the demands of their customers who want really, really cheap stuff that tastes okay and lasts.

Which is where the problem lies. Everyone wants that. Even wealthy people, who can afford to pay more, want to buy stuff as cheaply as possible.

And when I say wealthy I mean people who can afford to buy fresh food and groceries every week.

Being a middle income earner the responsibility to spread your wealth is paramount to the success of the small businesses and corporations behind the products you select off the shelves. They rely on your decision-making for their livelihoods. So does the broader economy.

It would be easy to be a lot tighter and hoard any leftovers for a rainy day or holiday or doomsday or whatever you think is worth saving for but there is some responsibility to make purchase decisions accordingly to your level of privilege. Price is important but it shouldn't be everything particularly if you have the earning capacity to be more generous with your decision-making.

Small family-owned companies are always on the my grocery GPS and while paying double for something might be stretching it, quite often we are talking about less than dollar difference between generic supermarket brand/major corporation and the little guy. Sometimes there's only 10-cent variation but bargain-driven customers still opt for the cheaper price by default rather than the reality in front of them.

This behaviour is almost obscene if you are a middle of the road wage earner let alone a wealthy one. People usually don't stop to pick 10 cents up off the ground these days, but they will buy a tin of something owned by a giant conglomerate that's 10 cents cheaper than an Aussie owned smaller producer because our brains are wired to save save save, even if it's 5 cents. This is what supermarkets sweat on so you buy the products that are most profitable to them or their big suppliers. This will eventually see the little guy (or Dick Smith even) cut out of the picture completely.

So next time you are adding up your 10cent savings spare a thought for people behind the products. Why not opt for the slightly higher price if you can afford it (you know you can otherwise you wouldn't be in a supermarket you would be at the Salvation Army).

There are always going to be cheaper options out there, especially from overseas, whenever we buy stuff. Always opting for the lowest price might release some kind of tight-arse endorphins that makes you feel good for a minute, but the damage you are doing elsewhere is much more costlier.

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