You may or may not know this, but the going rate for a bottle of Lambrini is £2.99. It’s cheap, it’s sweet and it’s booze, occupying that slim middle ground between low-income like-a-drink drinks and full-time-dipso drinks like Super Kestrel. A few (probably more than a few nationwide) shops hoping to increase their margin have been charging a bit more for Lambrini (the highest I’ve seen it is £3.29) .
The Lambrini folks must have seen a drop in sales in these retailers, because they have now taken to printing “R.R.P. £2.99” on each bottle, thus ensuring it’s sale at that price, and it’s continued spot in it’s little niche.
That’s how libertarianism works, see? In the here-and-now we have an example, although not for long if the Labour Party’s minimum-pricers get their way. Retailers buy their goods wholesale, and they are free to charge whatever they like retail for their own property. The makers of Lambrini are free to write whatever on their labels, and they have chosen to write “£2.99.”
Now, under current trading standards legislation, unless the retailer wants to re-label every bottle they will have to sell at that price. But what if that legislation (and it’s supporting army of government inspectors simply did not exist? What would happen?
Well, the retailer is still at liberty to charge whatever he likes, and now he doesn’t even need to change the labels. He’s not going to, is he? The hours of label-changing will cost more than he’d make (not to mention his bottles will look dodgy and the shop down the road selling at £2.99’s won’t) and if he left them the customers will give him more hassle than it’s worth when they get to the till, and probably never return.
No need for a £5000 fine!
No need for an inspector!
The incentive is already there!