Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Wholesale vs. Retail

Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

I have the impression of being trapped in a permanent deja vu, in a

reality where phrases, complaints and situations are almost exactly

repeated. Today at noon I heard on the street words identical to those

of last week; the neighborhood brooding over problems very similar to

those of two decades ago, and at the butcher's a long line seemed

modeled on another of 1994 or 2002. It's hard to shake the feeling that

we have already lived this, of having fallen into a loop that brings us

back, over and over again, to the same point we've already passed

before. One of the recurring scenes is the pursuit of food and other

basic products chronically in short supply in our markets. Going after a

little oil, a package of sausage, or a piece of soap to wash clothes.

The long-awaited reform that allowed the rebirth of self-employment has

generated some problems that are barely talked about. Lacking a

wholesale market where they can buy supplies and raw materials for their

small businesses, private workers have turned to the already weak retail

network. They line up at dawn outside the bakeries and certain shops to

acquire large quantities of merchandise that end up in restaurant and

snack bar kitchens. Without any special discounts for buying in

quantity, maintaining a supply of vegetables, grains and meats becomes a

harrowing task, difficult and extremely expensive. In addition, they

significantly decrease the availability of products for the

non-industrial consumer, the individual shopper who needs are only for

home use. The retail majority.

The feeble State commerce is not prepared for the demand of recent

months. Thus, it seems almost impossible to sustain over the longer term

a coexistence between the private sector and the inefficient supplies

from official companies. If this contradiction isn't resolved, the time

will come when pork, peppers and potatoes can only be found on the

plates of paladares — private restaurants. And the neighbor who

complains today, for the umpteenth time, about the absence of toilet

paper, will have to visit the bathrooms of the new restaurants to

remember what those rolls were like, so white, so soft.

5 June 2012

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June 2012
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