You can save thousands of pesos by making a few blocks

2023-09-20 08:00:00

We Argentines have been suffering from a regime of high inflation for years. Far from becoming morose, price increases are increasingly pronounced, hand in hand with contingencies and mismanagement in economic policy.

The effects that such a scourge has on people’s daily lives are multiple and widespread. In addition to the deterioration of families’ purchasing power and quality of life, the impossibility of saving in pesos and uncertainty, there is a typical consequence of this macroeconomic phenomenon. As a result of the permanent and disparate price increases, something occurs that in economics is called distortion of relative prices..

Taking the concept down to the level, what happens is that We Argentines lose price references. For example, in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) the price of a train ticket can be a quarter of the price of a Bon or Bom, and that of a bus less than half. To illustrate the problem, we could say that Whoever “passes” the SUBE to someone who forgot it or has it without balance, could receive a quarter of a Bon or Bom in exchange for the ticket, and remain in hand under this pricing system. Unusual.

Identical items can be purchased at very different prices a few blocks away.

But the dispersion of price increases is not a problem that is limited to AMBA, but rather affects all provinces, departments and localities in the country. But, furthermore, distortions do not only occur between different products: identical items can be purchased at very different prices a few blocks away. This fact becomes more relevant when it is verified in goods considered essential.

RÍO NEGRO Diary carried out a survey of prices of 16 products selected from the basic basket, in five representative stores in the city of Cipolletti. Four of them are located in a perimeter of only 5 blocks by 5 blocks.


The other gap


“Go around” used to be an appropriate slogan when the consumer had to choose between differentiated products, in search of the best relationship between price and quality. With the passage of time (and prices), such advice was no longer exclusive to that type of purchase..

In Cipolletti, nearby supermarkets offer identical products at absurdly different prices. That is, a person who avoids walking a few blocks in search of better prices can lose thousands of pesos in a single purchase.

There are items whose price differences are unreasonable. Among those that were surveyed, the largest gap was observed in the one and a half liter bottle of Nestlé mineral water: in a Chinese supermarket it was sold four times more expensive than in a supermarket of a national chain.

Other striking cases are those of sugar and dry noodles. By walking a few blocks it is possible to save more than 40% on the purchase of a 1 kg package of “Ledesma” brand sugar or a 500 gram package of “Knorr” brand noodles.. The same thing happens with the 400 ml bottle of “Pantene” brand shampoo.

By visiting, you can also obtain savings of more than 30% when purchasing a 315 gram package of “Lactal” bread.a 750 gram (500 ml) bottle of “Cif” brand creamy cleanser or a 1 kg package of “Amanda” brand fine long rice.

The price differences are also reflected in the delicatessens, butchers and greengrocers of these supermarkets. The most eloquent case is that of the potato: Just three blocks away, a kilo sells for a difference of $300.

Acquiring only one unit of each item listed in the attached tables, and choosing the stores where they offer them at the lowest price, a buyer can save thousands of pesos per purchase.


Substitution


An alternative to the “haul” that consumers use as a savings strategy is substitution, whether between products or between brands.

There are items that are not easily replaceable. Among those surveyed, clear examples are yerba mate, milk and eggs. However, there are others that do have direct replacements. The most typical case in our country is the substitution of beef for pork or chicken, or vice versa..

Among the items surveyed, there are buyers who, instead of paying a 900 ml bottle of sunflower oil 40% more expensive than at another point of sale in the neighborhood, They decide to replace it with a blended or soy oil in the same store.

$500
It is the price difference per kilo of “Ledesma” sugar between two nearby Cipolletti supermarkets.

Substitution by brands It is another of the buyers’ tools in the face of such high inflation and such dispersion of prices. Some of these replacements are made at the expense of quality of what was consumed.

Sometimes, buying products that are part of the “Fair Prices” program is a way to substitute brands without sacrificing quality. In the survey carried out, it was found that the prices of these items are those agreed upon and that they are indeed lower than the average. However, shortages were verified in the shops: the spaces on the shelves intended for such products were empty in some casespreventing several families from accessing a policy designed to alleviate their pockets.

Finally, the offers available in the businesses consulted and the bank promotions are other opportunities that consumers take advantage of to alleviate the impact of the inflationary catastrophe that afflicts us.


THE VOICE OF THE EXPERT


The most scarce thing that exists is not the dollar but time


By Diego Penizzotto.

“A river uprooted, gain of fishermen”. The old saying perfectly describes the moment that the retail pricing matrix is ​​going through, where the common factor is confusion. And amidst the confusion, there are also winners and losers.

There is no equation of costs, logistics or retail strategy that can explain a Price dispersion of between 40% and 70%, for the same product, of the same brand, in the same city, the same neighborhood, and a few meters away.

Gap: For the same product, a few blocks away, you pay up to 52% more.

Several years, The relationship of relative prices suffers a progressive deterioration, which has deepened to the point of ridiculousness.. A kilo of cheese for the snack can cost the same as a T-shirt, or a pair of sneakers the same as three kilos of roast.

But in a scenario of extreme uncertainty such as the one experienced on the eve of the presidential elections, in the midst of infinite trade and exchange restrictions, and after a sloppy devaluation of the official exchange rate, not even relative prices are enough as a reference. The contrast is no longer in relation to other products, but to the same product in different points of sale.

The only way to try to escape the inflationary yoke is to walk, explore, consult, find out.

Inflation is the measure of the speed at which prices grow in a period or period. But that indicator It does not take into account or manage to reflect the disorder in the speed at which the price of each product grows.. Much less if the same product runs at different speeds.

The only way to try to escape the inflationary yoke is to walk, explore, consult, find out. The situation therefore indicates that The most scarce thing that exists today in Argentina is not the dollar, but time.


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