Or maybe not.
I've been following developments recently in this food price debacle ... it's now supposedly been proven that food is inordinately expensive in this country. I both agree and disagree with that. I disagree, because prices in themselves are meaningless - if something costs 1,000 crowns, that doesn't mean anything as such. What's relevant is how long I have to work to earn enough to buy it. And since we have never spent a smaller percentage of our salaries on food, I can only conclude that food has never been cheaper in this country. What is it, 11% of what an average Norwegian worker earns is spent on food? Fifty years ago it was more like 40%. So food cannot possibly be more expensive now that it was then.
However, I do also agree that food is at the same time, paradoxically, too expensive. It's expensive because the so-called food they're selling us is such trash. Basically any other European country you can go to, you'll find much better selections much cheaper. Sure, their wage levels are lower than ours, across the board. But since we have more money, shouldn't we have a better selection of items available, not a worse one? o_O
Anyway ... the primary reason for the shit the grocery chains are passing off as food in this country is that Norwegians are such incredible cheapskates. We spend hardly any of our money on food and we're whining about that being too much. Sometimes I think that the only way to make Norwegians happy about food prices is to give it to us for free. >:-(
OK, I could go on and on about this, but there's actually a specific point I wanted to make here. It's actually part of this obsession with 'cheap at any cost'. They did a segment on this on the news tonight. They had sent one guy to a grocery store in the mall at Storo, and another guy to some other grocery store just across the border. They both bought all of the same stuff, and then they had them on live at the same time and they showed us their groceries and told us what they cost. The whole thing was set up so that we would be blown away by the price differences. But seriously ...
The shopping basket in Norway cost 186 crowns, and the identical items in Sweden cost 150 crowns. So ... drive for two hours and spend however much on gas, the price of which is hitting an all time high here right now, and you can save 36 crowns. Wow.
Yes, I understand that the normal shopper would buy much more on each trip across the border. But still. They made it sound like it was a big deal, and we'd be shocked. But 36 crowns, who cares? I wouldn't even notice 36 crowns. And since our wage level is about 20% above the Swedish one, wouldn't almost all of it disappear anyway if the playing field was really level?
And, not least, is it really newsworthy that Wasa crisp bread is cheaper in Sweden than it is in Norway?? Wouldn't it rather be a story if it was more expensive there?? How stupid do they think we are? Or more interesting, how stupid are we?
1 week ago