Letter: British rip-offs

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Clare Garner reports ( 21 September) that "Treasury research" shows that we are being ripped off. It is sad that politicians always seem to be the last to know these things. I have known for years that Britain is the rip-off capital of the world, and have found my own solution. Unlike Clare Garner, I do not go to America to do my shopping, I just go 25 miles south of Dover and do my shopping in France, where I am less likely to be mugged or shot than in the States.

A leg of New Zealand lamb which is on sale in most French supermarkets costs, on average the same price per kilo as it costs per pound in the store where "good food costs less" (half the price). I have seen the self same litre of "plonk" which can be bought for about Fr8 (80p-90p) in France, on sale in England for pounds 8 (yes, eight pounds!). The bottle of Chablis Grand Cru or Mersault which can be bought in France for around Fr60 per bottle appears on the shelves here at anything from pounds 20 per bottle upwards. The only item that is as expensive, or more so, is beef, but it does taste like beef rather than a stringy dishcloth.

The price of wide-screen televisions in France start at around Fr3,900 (pounds 390, or so) yet the same set by the same manufacturer costs well over pounds 600 here. Computers advertised here for pounds 999 plus VAT can be bought in a French hypermarket along with your groceries for under pounds 500 including VAT.

We meekly accept whatever is thrown at us. If the price of lettuce (a Sweet Romaine in France is Fr3; here it is 99p) went up to pounds 5, there are people who would shrug their shoulders and pay rather than leave the lettuce to rot on the shelves. Perhaps we should be adopting the tactics used by French truck drivers and farmers rather than allowing ourselves to be treated as milch cows.


Ramsgate, Kent