Saturday, August 15, 2009

The untold problem with "Rip-off Ireland" - people *wanted* to be ripped off

At last, an Irish media article hints at the real reason why prices in Ireland were so high during the boom years. People wanted to pay high prices.

I can remember telling friends back in Ireland that I got my refrigerator cheaply because it had a dent on the side (where nobody would see the dent) and I got looks of disdain. Then a friend explained how their fridge had cost many thousands of Euro, and they had to get it shipped to Ireland. But that was a good thing. Similarly, I remember being told proudly that pairs of jeans had cost over 180 dollars in New York (whereas my Old Navy jeans cost $19 in the annual Old Navy jeans sale). German friends would remark that there were more brand-new German cars on the streets of Dublin than in Germany.

With all the current blame on property developers and politicians in Ireland, maybe the real culprit for the boom-and-bust was a nouveau riche buying culture which made post-Soviet Russia look restrained by comparison. Shopping around, or looking for a bargain, was looked upon in the same way as taking a used piece of bubble gum off a park bench and chewing it. Maybe people wanted to be ripped off. It certainly seemed that way to me.

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