Houston, we have a problem. I guess it’s not a bold claim if I say, that polish companies are ongoingly losing to their foreign competition and it’s incomparably larger capital. Or their growth is so significant, they end up being bought out, in a less or more friendly manner. Small entrepreneurs are losing to chains. What’s the reason, that capitalism, instead of generating an actual profit, in so many cases results only in creating just a few workplaces for the lowest national wage? And is followed by transfer of whole generated capital abroad. And effective gain takes place still not where we want to see it….Who’s responsible for such situation? I know, I know. It’s all politician, in particular PM’s fault. Yet, is it? Seriously? And who decides what turnover our local entrepreneurs will actually have?

Everyone owning greengrocery, snackbar or pharmacy startup, wants to turn their neighbours into loyal clients. Yet almost everyone among those neighbours wants not to be offered anything, to be left alone. He / she wants to keep on exercising their weekly ritual of going to their favourite super-hyper-duper-market and keep on wasting ⅓ of their monthly salary over there. Ok, then who is the one going for the network offer, in order to save few percent on a weekly grocery shopping? Who prefers to follow the impulse, the instructive voice from tv and proudly acquires the most distinguishably branded gadgets? Who winds up such status quo, if not THE CONSUMER, You and me?

Bringing up the consumer, and why Norwegians buy norwegian stuff. Not so long ago I’ve heard a story of a norwegian couple arranging an apartment for their son, a freshman on warsaw MU. They had selected wooden floors of norwegian origin. I vaguely knew the brand already, though it was a good opportunity to look it up, get some more info. And I did. Fair enough, the norwegian floor company offers quite nice designs, various patterns and rather high quality. But maybe once properly searched through the market, one might find an offer with better ration price vs. quality. Maybe there is an offer with more appealing design. Maybe. But for the norwegian couple this wasn’t an issue. They wanted to buy that floor because it was norwegian. I got a feeling, that you might be familiar with such stories. Maybe you have a family in France or in Germany? Have you met with similar decision making process?

I think that most of us Poles consider themselves conscious consumers. We’ve already learnt how to buy not only under pressure of surrounding commercials, but after conducting quite thorough research, after balancing all pros and cons, weighing all factors that matter. We’re rummaging the market, taking not so little time, in order to find the perfect purchase. But, do we take into consideration at all where it is produced and who are we buying from? And it’s not about choosing raspberry tomato over all others. Raspberry tomato is usually the best choice available, so you don’t really choose polish for being polish here. I’m asking whether you take polopiryna or aspirin, because somehow the latter one seems to work better. I’m asking if your couch was produced in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, or perhaps for ecological swedish giant. Is local origin or the good a meaningful factor to you? Does it matter to you at all who are you buying from? Does it matter who will earn from your purchase?

Ok, I agree – whereas polish products are often quite a catch, their traders aren’t so much. They often sell on cash only terms (btw. in Germany it’s not weird at all). Availability of FMCG in local stores, selection and attractiveness of durable stuff, and worst of all – service quality – are often far from expectation. But once in a while we could whisper piece of advice on how to improve the business to our neighbour-entrepreneurs, couldn’t we? Maybe we could tell them that we like avocado, and at least once a week we could pick it up. Maybe they’re not aware how important business-wisely feedback is. Since we know it, we might as well subtly provide a piece of it, every once in a while.

As for Today’s situation, Poland is quite a thriving market – though mainly for non-polish capital, that can be easily multiplied, while local competition has rather great difficulty keeping up the pace. Not to mention how privilege-oriented toward foreign investors our government is. I’m talking about privileges and peaceful, fair market activity that polish entrepreneurs can only dream about. What then? “Poland for Poles only”? I’m so far away from such attitude. Same with idea of boosting local market with limiting capital freedoms, limiting access to some goods, some brands. In my opinion, and it doesn’t seem Eureka thought, it would only have the opposite effect in our country . Such approach would result rather in worship of the forbidden brand. Do you recall that McDick had once been a sunday dinner restaurant and a perfect spot for a first date(!)?

Maybe the only remedy is to consuming-wisely educate – ourselves, and people around – and evolution of our shopping habits? I don’t know for sure what is the real reason behind other societies buying their own brands, from their neighbour shopkeepers. But I know it does matter to buy locally. And not for the sake of being trendy, neither for being a true patriot. It’s also not about enchanting our poor neighbour relations. Buying from the neighbour, on your own ground is a good choice simply because it’s economically correct. When your own local market is trhiving you can become part of this growth. When the economical growth takes place only abroad, it can pay off only to those leaving to work abroad. Do we want to keep on leaving our homes and families to find job that will pay our bills? Or do we want to start working on our own home grown economical well being?