Every shop I go into these days is offering cut-price this and half-price that in an attempt to lure the jaded shopper in and make him part with his hard earned cash. We are being coaxed and teased in to spending by irresistible offers and never to be repeated bargains. ‘SPAR’ an independent grocery franchise are offering a variety of goodies as Eurosaver deals while the bigger outlets like ‘TESCO ‘and ‘DUNNES’ have regular 10% back days and lots of items with marked down prices throughout their stores. The problem that these ‘offers’ are addressing is that in uncertain economic times people are loathe to spend, being unsure what lies ahead.
Already as a public sector employee I have taken a noticeable pay cut in the form of a government pension levy, and this is on top of an employment levy in place since the beginning of this year. Our finance Minister is giving the Budget a second bash in April and this is the single event that has the national collective shaking in our boots ! It seems this time around everything is up for grabs as the legislators plan to attempt to gather 6 billion Euro into the government coffers.
Strange to say that during our good years we paid top buck for everything without a murmur. For a period back then it became taboo to question any price or charge and to bargain or shop around was considered slightly vulgar ! We reached an apex of wanton spending fever when the hottest accessory was to buy an overseas property, just for the hols don’t you know. Every second person it seemed were then the proud owners of apartments from Spain to Bulgaria , and in the heat of this buying frenzy more practical considerations like the ongoing cost of maintenance, and the property value depreciation were not really considered. Now alas the chickens are coming home to roost and the Tiger years were like a long weekend financed on Visa, but this is Monday morning and the Credit card statement is in the post !
As a single man I am not greatly affected so far, but I am aware there are many of my fellow citizens who are facing uncertain and unstable times ahead. Job losses are the order of the day and nobody (apart from the public sector, I suppose) can be sure about what is lurking up the road. Fortunately mortgage interest rates are at an all time low and the basic cost of living has been reducing over the last few months. The one lesson however that we have learned in recent times is that everything can change so quickly ,even literally overnight. And so the discounted prices and special offers continue, stark reminders of an economy in crises and changed days indeed from those we enjoyed only a year or two ago.