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Jul 26, 2010

Interesting Psak from Rav Cherlo: Splitting Your Purchases

The opening of a new supermarket in a small area where the makolet guy controlled the shopping until then always raises a dilemma of where to shop. Do you shop in the supermarket at better prices or at the makolet to support a local business run by a local guy (usually). This is a dilemma around the world - wherever a Walmart or a Target opens up a store in the US there are fights about them putting the local small businesses out of business. In RBS for example there is such a dilemma when KLY has their produce sale at cheap prices and it might take away customers from the local stores.

Someone presented the question to Rav Cherlo. A new branch of the Rami Levi supermarket is opening up at "Tzomet Gush Etzion", and the opening has created a dilemma for people. Should they shop at Rami Levi for better prices or continue to shop at the local makolets that have been around until now despite the prices being higher?

Rav Cherlo's response was a suggestion that the consumer should divide his purchases between the supermarket and the makolet. Buy 1/3 of your needs at the makolet and 2/3 at the supermarket.

Rav Cherlo said that a person really has no obligation to the makolet guy. A person has the right to buy his goods in whatever store he wants to save money, even if it comes at the expense of the local makolet guy.. However, the Torah also obligates us to be concerned about supporting our fellow Jew and finding a way to not harm him in a way that would be disastrous to him.

Rav Cherlo therefore came to the conclusion that it would be appropriate to divide one's purchases, with 1/3 being purchased at the local makolet and 2/3 at the supermarket where he will benefit from better prices.

2 comments:

  1. I'd love to know how he came up with the 2/3, 1/3 split.

    One might also include in their decision making what they will do if the local merchant goes out of business and the increase in time and expense and inconvenience of not being able to "run over to the makolet" .

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  2. In regard to the KLY sales I think that the following cheshbonos should be made:

    1) It's wonderful that they offer the produce at lower prices. Then again...they don't pay rent, have a staff (or maybe they do) or have a 6 day a week obligation. What happens on a Thursday or Sunday when the sale isn't happening? We run to the makolet or super and complain about the prices, etc. The more business we take away from the makolets and supers the higher the prices will become.


    2) Makolets and Supers provide a service (and yes make a profit). Rav Cherlo's point is that we must recognize the makolet guy's service and be maker tov.

    3) If we come to rely on the KLY sales we could run into a difficult situation as happened earlier this year when they stopped the sales for a while.
    Generally the makolets and supers don't "just close" (or if they do it's for s few hours or a day).

    In the long run we must consider what will happen to the food business if we spend more of our money at the sales.

    ReplyDelete

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