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May 8, 2024 - 8:11:20 AM
13834 posts since 2/22/2007

In the "prices" thread and the "restaurant" thread, the notion of "price gouging" arose, so I ask "just what is a gouge?" What price is too high, and who should decide? If we are talking about *non-essentials* where there are other market choices; then I believe that price gouging is impossible. Nobody is forcing you to pay for overpriced restaurant food. If you sit down, see the menu prices, and decide to stay and patronize that restaurant then you have agreed that their prices are acceptable. You do have other food choices. Now, some things ARE a gouge.
Turning off the water fountains in Nissan Stadium leaves no hydration options other than pricey bottled water. That is illegal, yet standard practice. However, once you know that and come back for more, well that is on you. And I thought it a price gouge when I got stranded at Opryland Hotel during a freak winter storm and they charged me full price for an emergency room for the two night ice storm.
Now I don't like paying more for less any better than any of you, but my question is: what could be done about that? Is there any acceptable mechanism other than free market choice with which to determine prices?

May 8, 2024 - 8:28:20 AM

4791 posts since 4/29/2012

Restaurant prices are forging ahead here too. But running a restaurant is an even more precarious business than it has been in the past. If there is price gouging (which I'm sure there is ) it's taking place further up the supply chain. Look at restaurant fuel bills and fuel company profits for example.
You've asked whether there is "any acceptable mechanism other than free market choice with which to determine prices". How do you expect any of us to attempt an answer to that question without a speedy lock ?

May 8, 2024 - 8:33:21 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

30309 posts since 8/3/2003

Price can "usually" be determined by demand. If something is priced too high, people will stop purchasing it and eventually, the price will go down.

When eggs went to over $4 a dozen, I just quit buying and eating eggs. When gasoline was over $ a gallon, I figured out how to do my chores in the easiest, quickest and most economical way so I wouldn't have to pay for unnecessary gas. When steaks went up to over $10 a pound, I stopped eating steaks.

I just priced blue jeans and got ticket shock at the price of them now compared to a couple of years ago. No new jeans for me. Same with shoes, prices are ridiculous and it's almost impossible to find a narrow shoe size, so.... old shoes will do.

I don't know if any of the above would be considered gouging, but definitely pricing whatever out of most people's pocketbook range.

May 8, 2024 - 8:48 AM

75 posts since 6/22/2016

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e


Now I don't like paying more for less any better than any of you, but my question is: what could be done about that? Is there any acceptable mechanism other than free market choice with which to determine prices?


While the original concept of our free market format may have worked on a smaller scale, it has become more of a con game in today's environment of large-scale monopolization and regulatory capture.  Some may cling to the free market ideal, but monopolization and price fixing have simply made suckers of citizens.  If there were a functioning legislature, regulatory oversight would help, but we all know that's a fairy tale.  In other words, we're screwed.  The only remedy we have available is to stop buying stuff and enjoy the spectacle of a collapsing economy.

May 8, 2024 - 9:28:25 AM
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banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

13834 posts since 2/22/2007

How could regulatory oversight work? By what mechanism could each price of every item be scrutinized for "gouging?"
I'm talking practicalities here, not theories. We all complain, myself included, but I do not know of any solution to the problem, or if it is even a problem at all or simply a fact of life which we do not enjoy; that some items cost more than we wish to pay, especially those which were affordable yesterday.

May 8, 2024 - 9:55:30 AM
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rinemb

USA

16344 posts since 5/24/2005

I agree. If I have the option of buying it or using the service, or not, I would hesitate to call it gouging. I don't need eggs at 4.00, but did pay it when I wanted to do some egg dish. Gasoline is an international market, where even then I will likely adjust my driving habits a bit when gas is high and my wallet is low. Nor am I a fan of using regulation as a routine "fix", or so called.
Dining out costs: We regularly adjust our grocery buying and dining out based on our own free will decisions to buy or not buy, eat out or not, look for a 2 for 1 online coupon to a franchise eatery, or on occasion enjoy a nice fine dining experience. When we do, we expect the experience to be commensurate with the cost.
We have lived and died, financially speaking, several times with wildly fluctuating value of our product. Rarely, was the price affected by coordinating gouging schemes. More often, supply and demand was the big reason. IMO. Brad

May 8, 2024 - 10:02:47 AM

75 posts since 6/22/2016

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

How could regulatory oversight work? By what mechanism could each price of every item be scrutinized for "gouging?"


I'm afraid the concept of regulatory oversight has to remain in the realm of theory, because very little exists. 

In theory, the price of a commodity is determined by cost of materials, labor, production, transportation and a host of factors that have to do with maintenance and depreciation on equipment, rents, leases, taxes, etc.  What is added to the formula is the less easily calculated amount of profit that could be realized from the commodity.  This has to do with things like compensation beyond actual labor, bonuses, shareholder profits, etc.  Oversight could easily spot cases, for instance, where the CEO is receiving pay and bonuses that amount to 1000 times the amount of compensation of the average employee, and that shareholders receive enormous payouts in lieu of paying for  trivial things like maintenance and worker safety.  That is where oversight kicks in, theoretically.  

The real issue with price gouging is that when prices increase, the manufacturer/producer/shareholder gets used to that level of profit and is not likely to accept anything less.  Rather than adjust to demand, the price stays up and the company files bankruptcy and reopens under another name next week, with the same speculative high price.

May 8, 2024 - 10:17:45 AM

15129 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Eulalie
quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

How could regulatory oversight work? By what mechanism could each price of every item be scrutinized for "gouging?"


I'm afraid the concept of regulatory oversight has to remain in the realm of theory, because very little exists. 

In theory, the price of a commodity is determined by cost of materials, labor, production, transportation and a host of factors that have to do with maintenance and depreciation on equipment, rents, leases, taxes, etc.  What is added to the formula is the less easily calculated amount of profit that could be realized from the commodity.  This has to do with things like compensation beyond actual labor, bonuses, shareholder profits, etc.  Oversight could easily spot cases, for instance, where the CEO is receiving pay and bonuses that amount to 1000 times the amount of compensation of the average employee, and that shareholders receive enormous payouts in lieu of paying for  trivial things like maintenance and worker safety.  That is where oversight kicks in, theoretically.  

The real issue with price gouging is that when prices increase, the manufacturer/producer/shareholder gets used to that level of profit and is not likely to accept anything less.  Rather than adjust to demand, the price stays up and the company files bankruptcy and reopens under another name next week, with the same speculative high price.


That's a new one on me.  Please explain how that works ..... or better yet give us an example.

May 8, 2024 - 10:22:53 AM

15129 posts since 1/15/2005

To me, price gouging is when someone ..... a retailer, a service man, etc., takes advantage of someone who unknowingly accepts that their price is what something costs. The example that I gave in another thread is the plumber who charged $1200 to repair a water line to the house an elderly lady that did not know what it should have cost. Digging an 18" hole and repairing a 3/4" PVC line should in no way cost that much. An hours (at most) labor and a few dollars in material should never cost that much ...... period! This was 15 years ago!

May 8, 2024 - 10:34:35 AM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

13834 posts since 2/22/2007

OK, another angle: has any other country, ever, come up with a solution to price gouging-----that we would find acceptable?

May 8, 2024 - 10:48:25 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

2373 posts since 8/9/2019

99% of restaurants are not, and never will be viable businesses. The entire industry is in survival mode and rightfully so. Most are mismanaged fly by night establishments run by fiscally challenged wannabe entrepreneurs.

As for price gouging in all other sectors, it began with suppliers of raw materials during covid when they realized they had their clients by the balls. This was followed soon thereafter by the banks needed to artificially increase their revenues since they aren't innovating or achieving success organically. The rest was a simple domino effect.

Gouging is the new corporate standard and will not go away.

May 8, 2024 - 11:29:53 AM

75 posts since 6/22/2016

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

That's a new one on me.  Please explain how that works ..... or better yet give us an example.


The most obvious example of this common practice is the Persian carpet closeout scam.

https://www.rugbazaar.com/consumer-alert-oriental-rug-going-business-auction-scams/

May 8, 2024 - 1:18:32 PM

15129 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Eulalie
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

That's a new one on me.  Please explain how that works ..... or better yet give us an example.


The most obvious example of this common practice is the Persian carpet closeout scam.

https://www.rugbazaar.com/consumer-alert-oriental-rug-going-business-auction-scams/


That's really just a sleazy marketing ploy and of course they are selling items that people don't really need, but I see your point.

I have quite a few Persian rugs and followed the advice of something I once read that said to "buy one book and handle a thousand rugs".

Edited by - BanjoLink on 05/08/2024 13:20:14

May 8, 2024 - 1:46:54 PM

75 posts since 6/22/2016

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

OK, another angle: has any other country, ever, come up with a solution to price gouging-----that we would find acceptable?


The historical past has been described as a different country where things were done differently.  For instance, in Tudor England severe punishment was meted out for overcharging for a loaf of bread.  They had quite a repertory of punishments that good taste dictates we not describe here. 

As for remedies for actual price gouging, most states have laws that prohibit price gouging, particularly in the event of a public emergency.  I haven't heard of any penalties levied for fairly obvious cases recently, but that's no surprise.  Here is a site that lists the law state by state.

https://www.findlaw.com/consumer/consumer-transactions/price-gouging-laws-by-state.html

May 8, 2024 - 2:01:20 PM

79820 posts since 5/9/2007

It seems there isn't the energy between brands to try and coax customers;as if everything's owned by one big company.

May 8, 2024 - 2:51:21 PM

Owen

Canada

15289 posts since 6/5/2011

Sleep apnea mask harness:

 

These are made of stuff similar to what can coozies are made from, and probably equal in amount of fabric (?) and the  "expertise" that goes into making them. Online they're about $15 Cdn. each.  4 or 5 years ago the price at the bricks/mortar store in Brandon, MB was $50 for one.*

Even without having a to-the-fraction-of-a-cent definition of "gouging" at my fingertips, and with limited understanding of economics, I figure somebody must be making a healthy/obscene/??  profit.

* = but being a couple of once-in-a-while sharp cookies wink,  we got a couple of lanyards [25 cents each] from the thrift store and my lovely and talented assistant sewed up a set .... still good as new!!

May 8, 2024 - 3:00:30 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72256 posts since 10/5/2013

I remember going to Lindsay’s Variety around the corner when I was a kid and getting 3 black balls for a penny. If you brought in an empty pop bottle you could walk away with 6.
Alas, I’d hate to think how much they are now ……

May 8, 2024 - 3:03:38 PM

79820 posts since 5/9/2007

Everything changes

May 8, 2024 - 4:32:29 PM

41428 posts since 3/5/2008

Wow..i made a proffit..
What a dirt bag i am....

Funny thing is the low bidder usually wins.. the bid..

Must be the biggest gouger out there...
:0/

May 8, 2024 - 5:25:29 PM
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Owen

Canada

15289 posts since 6/5/2011

Al, keeping "the 5th." in mind, did you make a profit?      ....  or a profit?    ..... or a profit?   wink

Edited by - Owen on 05/08/2024 17:28:50

May 8, 2024 - 6:29:48 PM

7707 posts since 7/24/2013

In a world where corporate gains are privatized and corporate losses are socialized, there is no "free market" solution. In the 80s, neoliberalism sought to create unfettered access to the economy. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened and we went from breaking up At&T to a world where about 700 companies control 80% of the global economy. Amazingly enough, a full third of these own no tangible assets.

There are many available examples of how proper oversight can limit gouging. There is no reason why an over the counter inhaler that is 8 bucks in most countries needs to be a $100+ in the US. The primary issue with gouging in the US is that it focuses on exploiting demand that is problematic to reduce. People need to eat, they need shelter, they need transport, and they need medical care - and these are the areas with prohibitive costs coupled with record profits.

Is there a solution? Yes, because capitalism is a self correcting system that requires population growth to be effective and as the wealthiest countries stop having enough babies (unless Elon can make enough on his own) the collapse is inevitable.

May 8, 2024 - 6:32:19 PM

7707 posts since 7/24/2013

quote:
Originally posted by STUD figmo Al

Wow..i made a proffit..
What a dirt bag i am....

Funny thing is the low bidder usually wins.. the bid..

Must be the biggest gouger out there...
:0/


No one is saying that. When people speak of corporate influence they aren't talking about the guy with an LLC to sell his artisan cutting boards. I have several LLCs, but I lack the ability to influene labor law with my fat wallet :) 

May 8, 2024 - 6:38:45 PM

41428 posts since 3/5/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

Al, keeping "the 5th." in mind, did you make a profit?      ....  or a profit?    ..... or a profit?   wink


Well Owen..

Some jobs i scored on pretty good..

(High risk n lie-ability.)

Most jobs..15  to 30 %..depending on conditions...

A few jobs... in the hole..

Non payers..laywer n court fees..

Sometimes..folks can not pay due to circumstances beyond thier controle..

Like they died... :0/

May 8, 2024 - 6:43:21 PM

41428 posts since 3/5/2008

quote:
Originally posted by South Jersey Mike
quote:
Originally posted by STUD figmo Al

Wow..i made a proffit..
What a dirt bag i am....

Funny thing is the low bidder usually wins.. the bid..

Must be the biggest gouger out there...
:0/


No one is saying that. When people speak of corporate influence they aren't talking about the guy with an LLC to sell his artisan cutting boards. I have several LLCs, but I lack the ability to influene labor law with my fat wallet :) 


We disagree..

Most folks think a proffit ..is gouging..

Have had people screaming it dose mot cost that much..!

I have lived it..

May 8, 2024 - 6:48:03 PM

41428 posts since 3/5/2008

Ok folks..how much proffit is too much proffit..?

Insalin prices..were obsene at one point.. as an example
As well as some other drugs..

May 8, 2024 - 8:47:17 PM

1036 posts since 2/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by STUD figmo Al

Wow..i made a proffit..
What a dirt bag i am....

Funny thing is the low bidder usually wins.. the bid..

Must be the biggest gouger out there...
:0/


In the construction world we call the low bidder, "the contractor who is wondering what they left out".  I've seen a lot of guys get taken under by being too low.

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