Do you use the Internet to compare prices before you buy? Do you shop at Wal-Mart to get the lowest prices? Do you like Ikea furniture? Do you belong to a warehouse club such as Costco or Sam’s Club?
Price is important to me when I shop. I compare prices before I make major purchases and enjoy getting a great deal at a sale.
But Ellen Ruppel Shell, author of the book "Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture," argues cheap goods have replaced medium-quality products, and this is detrimental to people throughout the world.
Shell, a professor of journalism at Boston University, said large multi-national corporations such as Ikea have a low profit margin and make money by selling to millions of customers.
With this business structure, companies cut corners and, as a result, the environment suffers and workers in third-world countries are exploited. And, all that stuff needs to be shipped across the sea to be sold.
Shell, who was interviewed today on KUOW’s The Conversation, said Wal-Mart offers one-third of its items at low prices, while the other products in the store are one-third higher than other stores in the region.
She called for the return of quality products with a reasonable price tag.
And Shell said governments need to address the environmental degradation and poor working conditions that result from the production of cheap goods.