Image by King Dumb via FlickrAs the recession bit hard around the world, timed somewhat propitiously for Dubai’s already-tanking real-estate market, a new trend appeared to emerge in the world’s favourite ‘laissez-faire’ economy.
Takeaway sandwiches appeared to be getting thinner. Spot On’s eagle-eyed lunchers caught a definite thinning of Zaater ‘w Zeit’s turkey-cheese furn’s, a more niggardly hand at work in Byblos’ daily specials and a certain lack of care in Circle’s salads. All has not been well in lunch-land. At the same time, prices went up – that Olive House Rosto Sandwich (a culinary treat by any standards) not only seemed to consist of less Rosto and more sorndweech, but also kicked up Dhs10 somewhere along the way, too.
This is the way that a truly ‘laissez faire’ economy reacts to inflation plus recession. First we get less for our money, then less for more money. Without pissy regulators to intervene, annoying ombudsmen or consumer-centric media snooping around, you can systemically ride some of the worst belly-punches that a recession is going to deal out by sharing the shock to the system around the system.
Neat, huh? It’s Victorian England all over again – if the price of flour goes up, cut the flour with chalk dust and charge more for the bread. Well, why not? Nobody’s looking, are they?
We resisted Sharjah’s cunningly worded invitation to enjoy piped gas (“You take gas, pay Dhs1,000 for yellow tube, after install, you our bitch too much!”) and stayed with the bottled stuff. But FastFastGas used to get a call from us every six months. Then it seemed to be more frequent. For a while we’ve wondered whether they’re not quite, well, ‘filling’ the cylinders. Now we know. Last night, our gas gave out after a month’s usage. One month. We have changed no habits at all – what used to take 6 months to consume now takes a single month to burn through. And, worse, what used to cost us Dhs40 now costs Dhs85.
1/12 the gas for double the price. In a country where the stuff comes out of the ground.
If anyone has noticed a grumpier tone creeping into the blog, be assured that normal cheery service will be resumed when I return from my impending leave. I thank you. Posting might be a little erratic for the coming couple of weeks. No marmosets were harmed in the composition of this public service announcement.