Thursday, April 2, 2009

Under the surface: normality?

Well, as I was writing long and boring posts in the recent weeks, considering problems not in line with my capacity to resolve and dealing with serious problems of human society (once again far from offering any viable solution) this post will be "something completely different". Even not really related to the crisis, or if it would be the case, only showing the flip side of the coin, business as usual. But "in the context of the worst economic collapse after the Great Depression, amidst the meltdown of hard won achievments of two decades of unfinsihed transition" such stories certainly can reveal that my seriousness in approaching the events, readily embracing its dimensions as age defining is not the only possible way, and perhaps not the most rewarding.

The SME published yesterday an article, reporting the foremost problem of Slovak dairy industry: the inflow of cheep and supposedly poor quality Polish "bryndza"! (Bryndza is a product from ewe cheese, cheese from cow's milk and butter, the former ingredients grated and mixed with the latter to make a homogenous, very spicy, somewhat bitter and acidic material, to a certain extent similar to cottage cheese made from cow's milk. It is very popular in Slovakia, another variant in Romania and it has many consumers in Hungary as well.) The Slovak producers are complaining that the Poles use only 30% ewe milk instead of the 50% usual in case of Slovak "bryndza". The Polish product is sold under the name "Tatranska bryndza" (bryndza from the Tatry Mountain) and as the Tatry (a part of wich lies in southern Poland)is a symbolic landscape for Slovaks, it is a not too subtle but certainly effective way to mislead consumers, who should be proud of the millennial production of this product.

Otherwise the story is quite typical, someone is cutting under others prices on the market, the consumers can buy cheaper product (and in the crisis it can easily be an important factor in their decisions regarding the type of "bryndza" they buy) and producers try to counteract not only on the market, but with such stories in the minds of their consumers. Business as usual?

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