What is? The process of buying stuff you HAVE TO BUY, here in the UK.
Take gas or electric. You can find a deal if you search and switch, and then comply with a few restrictions. No-one will offer the lowest possible price to you (taking into account all costs and investments needs) just because it’s a human necessity.
I mean REALLY? You have to seek out a DEAL on Gas/Electric?
You know, I don’t really want to have to find a deal for something as basic as heating and cooking, or for a legal requirement, or to discover hidden costs, hidden deals, hidden prices.
More, I shouldn’t have to.
Train tickets? One price somewhere, another price somewhere else, and no doubt there’s a deal to be had somewhere else again.
Insurance? (and don’t forget motor insurance is a legal necessity) You’ll get a quote. It will be ridiculous, you get another – no better, you go online, much different – you call the original company, and they (guess?) do a deal – bettering their 1st offer by £100 or more.
What does that say?
It says “you HAVE to buy insurance, so I’m gonna fleece you as much as I can – AND I’m going to send officious documents reminding you of your legal duty whist I rip you off. When I’ve finished doing that, I’m gonna sell your details on to garages, ambulance chasers, legal firms if I discover you might have a need (?) for one of these, AND then I’ll take a cut of their profits”.
OK, OK I know – this is the market economy. Competition drives down prices. Competition adds choice, avoids cartels – and it seems to work – to a point.
I think in the UK, we’ve just stepped-over that point where it’s healthy.
For me, it’s starting to feel faintly subversive, with smutty, untrustworthy trickster-land dealing that subverts decent trade and denies reasonable access to fair-priced necessities.