Monday, January 16, 2012

Returning Bottles

In Ghana they still have a version of the old bottle deposit system where you have to return the glass bottles when you finish with them. You don't have to pay a deposit, but if you don't return your empty bottles the vendor may refuse to sell to you in the future. So far I have remembered to return all my glass bottles.


Leo Tolstoy said...

It's something that should never have stopped here. I looked at a lot of the streets in Accra on Google Earth, it reminds me of Phoenix in the mid-60s. I don't understand why people were so willing to abandon the local market, the mom-and-pop shops that made a community in favor of supermarkets, Walmart, etc.

J. Otto Pohl said...


A lot of wealthier Ghanaians not to mention Obrunis prefer to shop at the big South African stores like Game or Shoprite. I don't because the prices are much, much higher, not to mention they are not close to me. So I usually buy from the market women. The ones that are keeping Ghana safe from communism. ;-)

LFC said...

People who abandoned the mom-and-pop store in favor of the big supermarket didn't necessarily want the small stores to vanish, but they didn't take the time or trouble to figure out that that would be the eventual result if everyone followed their lead. Or so it's been argued: see Alfred Kahn on the 'tyranny of small decisions,' known to students of IR b/c cited in Waltz, 'Theory of Int'l Politics'.

J. Otto Pohl said...


I think that is correct. The larger stores tend to be cheaper overall in the US due to larger volume. Also you can get everything in one place. But, you do lose a lot in personal service. You also lose in convenience of location. Usually the small stores are located closer to residential areas.

Here in Ghana the big stores are more of a status thing. They are more expensive. But, they do have a larger selection particularly of imported goods. Their success seems to stem mainly from the idea that people want to be seen shopping at these stores. It shows that they have money to waste on imported luxury items.