Very few retailers are profiteering – instead they are going out of their way

You can always trust some retailers to have a right proper go at some of the nonsense in the news. One such is Subhash Varambhia (Snutch News, Leicester). He sent me one of his beautifully crafted letters (all written in capital letters, in ink and posted to my home address) to comment on profiteering.

He writes: “There has been bit of criticism in the press/trading standards of independents hiking up the prices in the current pandemic climate. I find that slur offensive/unfair. I would be the first to accept that there are a few who would exploit the plight for a few extra pennies for a short term gain.”

He points to a way to avoid any profiteering. “Retail price maintenance could have been introduced to put all on equal footing: eg a Mars Bar charged at 65p throughout the UK. A senior citizen informs me that that is what happened after the war.

“Not a bad word is said against the producers sneaking in the price increases – dairy, snacks, soft drinks, magazines, etc.

“We are going through challenging/testing times. Availability of products is problematic. In sunny Leicester all three cash and carries are running half full. At times I have to visit all three to fulfil (nearly) my shopping list. A task which used to take one hour would now take three to four hours.

“In the early stages it was embarrassing to watch some retailers stockpiling mountains of toilet rolls, pasta, flour, etc. It should have been controlled to stretch out into an equal, fair spread.

“This is because the manufacturers are prioritising the multiples which I think is unfair. This policy is misplaced. Concentrating on supermarkets increases carbon footprints, long queues (opposite of stay home advice) and frayed tempers.

“Finally I must sing ‘songs of praise’ for the independents. We are working hard to keep the local communities ticking over. Thank you.”

He follows this up with a piece on Elf & Safety gone bonkers. Booker C&C used to take in cardboard and plastic wrapping for recycling – all the dry stuff. Now the service is suspended for H&S reasons. Of course the city council has closed the communal tips for the same reason. As Subhash says: “This is neither healthy nor safe. So we are well and truly stuffed.”

On the bright side he notes that Lloyds has said it would defer card repayments with prior arrangement. And BT said the same. Inland Revenue is being flexible.

And finally (but importantly) he got full credit for unsold overstock of Vapourlites (the rep said she was going on holiday, so stocked them up with too much product). It was a long slog but they got their £154 back in the end.