As consumers are feeling the financial pinch of inflation, more and more of those billion-dollar companies — and in turn, their owners — are being put under the microscope because of how much money they make.
With so many big players making so much money, why are prices rising quicker than the average worker’s paycheque?
I watched a documentary about Amazon. The company is no stranger to controversy over its treatment of employees regarding breaks, pay and even COVID policies.
One commentator noted that any company that is profiting tens of millions, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, is doing something right and doing something wrong. They’re doing something right in the sense that consumers are frequenting the business and they’re profitable, but they’re doing something wrong because most companies don’t need that much profit and the money could go back to employees or to customers by lowering product/service prices.
It made national headlines that Loblaw profits were up 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2022. The company reported $12.26 billion in revenue.
So, I went to a Winnipeg Superstore location to see if any of the company’s $437 million profit was passed on to consumers. All it took was a quick sweep of the meat section to see a “club size” pack of eight chicken breasts for $49.91 to get my answer.
For as much the big retailers cry about the cost of doing business — from the suppliers and their products to the transportation companies bringing the shipments — they don’t see the hypocrisy in charging 50 bucks for what used to cost $20 last year, while impressing investors with soaring profits as inflation hits record highs.
More and more consumers are being mindful of when, where and how they spend. It started with corona shutdowns and people either struggling with finances because they were out of work or realizing how much they were saving because they couldn’t do anything.
Back at Superstore, shoppers clearly took note of the expensive meat because there were discount stickers as far as the eye could see. As the “best before” date approached, the store marked down most of the overpriced packages. Even that, however, wasn’t low enough for people to sweep up discounted meat.
Let’s be honest, even at 30 per cent off $50, the company is still not taking a hit and losing money on that chicken. Even at 30 per cent off $50, it still wasn’t motivation for people to buy it. Message: sent.
Was the message received? I guess we’ll see in the coming weeks and months if prices normalize or if perishable items become a regular clearance section.
As much as I love bacon, $8 for a package ain’t happenin’ in my house. No thanks. I’ll wait until it has three discount stickers and the store is desperate as the “best before” date approaches.
For me, it’s not about what I can and can’t afford, it’s about who I feel is taking advantage of my money.