Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shocked! Shocked! to Find Profiteering at SA2010

These sorts of stories do make a person a bit indignant. Unfairness, and massive mark-ups by companies who have nothing to do with the production of an item ... nor are the final consumer.

But this is the World Cup, people! It's all about profiteering.

The gist of this story in the Johannesburg Times: Workers in South Africa are making Bafana Bafana Bafana jerseys for 100-150 Rand ($13-20) ... and they are being sold for 599-1,200 Rand ($78-$156).

The union representing the workers who make the jerseys is annoyed at the mark-up. Which is allowed ... but we know exactly how it happens.

The jerseys get made. They are then sold to Adidas, which is the official apparel sponsor for South Africa 2010, for 100-150 Rand. Presumably, Adidas gave Fifa a boatload of money for the privilege, and a part of the deal is ... that the makers of the jerseys are not allowed to sell them directly. To anyone. Except Adidas.

As the story notes, Adidas then sells the jerseys on to retailers in South Africa for something like 330 Rand, and then the retailers charge ... whatever the market will bear. And apparently the market will bear 599 Rand and up.

Pretty annoying. When Adidas does nothing in the process aside from setting up a delivery system, and the retailers do nothing but stock the jerseys and throw open the doors.

It isn't a completely horrible story, however. Really it's not. Because at least the jerseys were made in South Africa in the first place. Many of the official mascots for this World Cup were made in China in sweatshops. At least the jerseys are made in South African sweatshops.

Big events like this are all about profiteering. Some of it is South African-inspired. The high rates charged by airlines. The ridiculous rates most of their hotels wanted, almost to the last instant.

It's never pretty. But it should not come as a surprise.
Read more!