The Old Man and the Bread

Daisy Valera

Bread is a controversial product in Cuba.  Photo: Caridad
Bread is a controversial product in Cuba. Photo: Caridad

Bread is a recurrent theme in Cuba -as I imagine it is in the rest of the world- since the price of this product is used as a measuring stick for estimating other food costs.

On our island, bread has been controversial in many senses: the quantity, the quality, its size, whether it should have butter or not.

Bread is the focal point whenever Cubans expect a hurricane, given that bakeries become filled with people as the storm approaches.

During these past fifty years, bread sales have expanded from being bought only through the ration card (limited to one bun per person per day) to also include its non-restricted sale in new bakeries.

Something interesting happened in one of these newer facilities a few days ago.

The only bread the bakery was offering cost 1.60 pesos, a price too expensive for buns that were neither large nor of very good quality.

An older man stepped out of the line and began to angrily protest this situation, which he considered an abuse.

The man proposed a number of ideas, among which was the proposition that a cheaper, more affordable type of bread be prepared.

I could add a lot more suggestions; but one I find indispensable is that bakeries respond to their consumers by producing those types of bread most in demand.  In addition, I would propose that the demand be established so they would know with certainty how much to make.

This would surely address the problems that exist in Cuba with regard to this product; less of it would be wasted and the public would be more satisfied.

Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.

Daisy Valera has 208 posts and counting. See all posts by Daisy Valera

3 thoughts on “The Old Man and the Bread

  • Hi Daisy
    Accidentally landed on your page whilst trying to find out how to buy bread in Cuba ( err.. will be visiting there end March)
    wonderful article. Not used to a socialist way of life and found this very perceptive

  • I’m sorry, Julio, but I think you didn’t reflect upon Daisy’s proposal that the ‘demand be established so they would know with certainty how much to make’ before making your ironical remark on ‘capitalism’ solving ‘socialist problems’.

    Gee, this episode about the old man in the bakery could’ve happened anywhere.

  • Wow Daisy

    Demand and Offer we are talking capitalism to solve socialist problems
    Yes those are the concepts Cuban need to get in their head that services are to satisfy demand and not the other way around.

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