A group of friends and myself recently decided to take on the problem of gouging by inner city food merchants. Calling ourselves ICHWAG, or Inner City Honky Women Against Gouging, five of us set out to prove the price differences between inner city and suburban stores. Wouldn’t you just know, soon as we got organized and set the next date for our coffee klatch business meeting, I find out that it is already being done: At a slightly more professional level, too.
The Consumer Research Advisory Council will be coming out with a report this June that will prove price gouging in the inner city in the areas of food and drugs. The Council published the Consumer Guardian, a helpful fact-sheet newspaper which contains articles on consumer problems in drug pricing, food costs and credit buying. The paper is free and can be picked up at most community service centers.
The Advisory Council itself coordinates activities related to consumers. Its members are already established organizations, which makes it a little hard to relate to. While it serves an educational function, I suspect it’s tied up with the educational ADA types I recently rapped about. Educating the consumer is one step, but I think, more should be done to get the consumer out of the existing system.
I mean more co-ops and some very real boycotts. Boycotting local gougers could effectively bring down the value of their business to a point where they would willingly sell it to a community organization. Sure, it takes a lot of organization and commitment but it is certainly better than burning.
The Warren-Forest area seems ready for this type of organization. By next fall I hope to see a food co-op in the making, hopefully across the street from Krogers. I would also like to see a boycott of Geroge Yonos, at Third and Hancock, because of the high prices.
The WCO food co-op is alive and booming at Grand River and Trumbull. They started out providing basic goods and are now stocked as well as any small grocery store. They are an example to be followed. The way they sought out their problems and solved them was beautiful, self-determination at work; a very exciting and encouraging example.