Price fixing

We were just on our way down to Devon for the weekend and as we got into the station I really felt like a soft drink. We popped into WH Smiths and had a look, and it got me thinking about how all the shops in rail stations, airports, bus stations, and motorway service stations fix the prices of their bevvies and snacks. How can these companies get away with such blatantly obvious price fixing? If you walked into a supermarket you could get the same product for a third of the price, or less!

I wonder if any company has ever tried to undercut these fat cats? They would probably make an absolute killing (cue the obvious supply / demand diagram), but then again they would probably either get bought up or forced out of the market somehow. Long live capitalism! Instead the newcomers just seem to bend to the ways of the old-timers…

See, I find myself in an interesting situation. I like most of the facets of capitalism and feel that a free market is essentially a very good idea, but at the same time I’m leaning more and more towards communistic ideas (see the logo at the bottom of this site). I certainly feel that Open Source and the Creative Commons are some of the best things that have happened to computer software and creativity for a long time, especially these days when copyright and patent law is being twisted in such strange and nasty ways (by price fixing fat cats like the RIAA and MPAA, oh and SCO, might I add).