Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, APRIL 28, 1919. MEAT PRICES.
Shylock won notoriety'through his desire for butchery, but nowadays, the" position is reversed, and" butchers in many parts, of the Dominion are . securingl ignominy due to that greed termed Shylockism. It is well-known that through a variety of circumstances—the bringing about of which was not in the slightest a result of any merit or labour of the retail. butchers—the price of stock has fallen considerably • recently, but to the popular dismay, such lower wholesale costs have not been followed by, lower retail charges. In Ashburton, the butchers generously notified the public of this "Reduction In All Meai," which they had secured, and it was not the bitchers' fault that many housekeepers mis-read * the annou v.cement as an intimation that their own meat* bills would be less. Some of the local butchers claim that they are charging less than formerly, • Wt apparently, the. difference is-so minute-that those housekeepers not skilled in mathematics, nor fond of solving the intricacies of fractional,,equations, can be pardoned for believing that the butchers are retaining all the' recent "unearned increment." .. We suggest to the butchers that it is a duty to their patrons, and good policy for themselves, to announce definitely what they are compelling •customers to pay, because where food is concerned, purchase is compulsory. The real question is not if there has been any reduction in the,retail prices, but whether such reduction is sufficient, or in keeping with the lower prices paid; by the butchers. The taking oft a penny a lb. charged for delivery cannot be termed a genuine allowance if the delivery is also stopped. Again, why should steak, chops, and sausages not cost less, if all meat is cheaper? Perhaps the butchers do not regard steak, chops and sausages as "meat." There are occasions when such doubts are pardonable. The best method of refuting allegations of extortion and profiteering is by a plain statement of the facts. So far, the butchers have shirked this easy method, and this avoidance of publici4^:,,,iias .gaiised housewives to believe the butchers cannot rebut the criticisms of excessive charges. When we dealt with the public complaints a short time ago» we invited the butchers to state their case, but so far the invitation has not been accepted. We now renew it. The Board of Trade was instituted tc deal with cases of exploitation of public needs, but experience does not make appeal to the Board popular, owing to the delay between appeal and action. But there are other ways for public opinion to express itself, should butcher, baker or candle-stick-maker fail to deal fairly. with those, .who. endeavour to deal fairly with the tradesmen.