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Hike the price and rich will wear poor's shoes; PeterCollins OUR MAN ON THE STREET

Byline: Peter Collins

"THAT will be pounds 151.97, please," said the checkout assistant to the woman in front of me in the supermarket queue.

As I placed my goods on the conveyor belt (they amounted to a mere pounds 9.06) I reflected I'd never spent more than about pounds 50 in a supermarket at any one time.

Looking at the woman as she confirmed she would be paying by credit card, I noticed she looked - if I may be so bold - a little scruffy. Certainly she didn't look the sort who would be forking out pounds 150-plus at a supermarket.

But, of course, appearances can be deceptive.

She was wearing a pair of what used to be called Bumpers, footwear that looks like a boot but is made of canvas.

They used to be popular in the early 1970s when, like today, the economy was "bumping along the bottom". They appear to be making a comeback.

As I recall, Bumpers used to be cheap and were usually worn by lads from poorer backgrounds.

Nowadays, they are worn by affluent people who think nothing of forking out pounds 50-plus for a pair.

It's strange to think the cheap footwear of one period of recession can be transformed into an expensive accessory in another time of economic turmoil such as this.

It reminded me of a holiday I had in Cancun, Mexico. A local bloke expressed surprise and amusement that British people were prepared to pay high prices for Mexican food like refried beans and chilli chicken fajitas in British restaurants. "It's poor man's food," he chortled.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 15, 2012
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