As Christmas approaches I like many others I am sure, are out looking for the best bargains we can get when buying Christmas presents for our loved ones.

Unfortunately, the best prices available to us are not in my beloved country that is Rip Off Ireland. For too long all of us in this country have been fleeced with exorbitant prices that all our retailers have been happy to dish out during the good times.

Now as we venture further into one of the worst economic climates in decades, politicians (our government, the same government who want us to shop around for health insurance) and others are suggesting that it is our patriotic duty to shop in Ireland only.

Well I’m sorry, I just don’t agree.

Why should we continue to pay southern Irish retailers above the odds for the same product that we can get much cheaper up North. Why should we continue to pay more for products produced in southern Ireland than those who live up North? In some cases as much as 50% more!

The retailers usual excuse is that the costs of running a business up North is a lot cheaper than in the South. They fail to see however, that they were part of cause of this rip off culture. It’s been a viscious roundabout that they were happy to jump on when the times were good and take huge margins on the products they sold.

Remember, we are a member of the European Union, which lives and breathes on the ideology of free trade between member states. So if we as a democratic country voted to be part of Europe, they we are being patriotic by purchasing goods in our member states.

To rub salt in the wounds, a report in today’s Irish Times suggest there have been massive increases in the price of products being sold by the large supermarket chains in Ireland. Yet, they still complain about us shopping over the border.

I remember the days where you would visit your local supermarket and be greeted with huge “Buy Irish” signs. In those days, it was worth it to buy Irish, nowadays however, it’s not.

Retailers should have seen the signs on the wall ages ago and done something “outside the box” to be prepared for this, but no, they were happy to continue ripping us off.

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