Monday, July 6, 2020

On the price of things in Lebanon

With the Dollar exchange price varying daily here are some cases I witnessed:
A store owner I know is opening his shop haphazardly with no fixed hours because the price of the merchandise is increasing constantly.
Another store owner who is seeing things fly off the shelf knows it is because she priced the goods at 2600 Liras to the Dollar and openly warned her customers this was not a sustainable strategy. She privately told me "sales are through the roof but [monetary] gain is "batata" (potatoes)".
An apartment owner prefers to keep his apartment empty rather than rent it and lose value in the short-middle run.
Another just rented his at the old rate of 1500 Liras because he fears an empty apartment will not be looked after.
International chains such as Zara are increasing their prices accordingly for their new collections.
Others such as Adidas are exiting the market (at the end of the year).
Another children clothing chain labeled its goods from A to Z each with an increasing price point. Interestingly, only labels G and above existed in the store.
Barter is starting to become acceptable as a strategy between people though the practice not taking off yet.
In the example above (in the photo) a high end sports store is offering a new model at 1,145,000 the comments - now deleted - include:
"Does it come with a passport?"
"The price includes registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles?" 
"Are kidneys accepted?"
"When I will buy it I will give it and ID card, send it to school, right? Maybe give it a name, teach it how to drive...."
Whereas the comments run as jokes, it is obvious that there is no clear strategy as to how prices are being set. Suffice to say 60% of the butcheries in Lebanon closed down due to meat price becoming out of reach to the populace.
The plot thickens sadly, and the belts are tightened.