FREE MARKET: A CNA customer complained it was more expensive than Makro. But there is no right to get your money back. Photo: Des Packer

Naturally it’s annoying when you’ve bought something from one outlet and you later discover it selling for far less elsewhere.

But that’s free enterprise for you: willing buyer, willing seller.

Do you have a right to return the “over-priced” item and get your money back, allowing you to buy same the thing for less elsewhere?

No, you’re don’t. Not unless it’s defective.

Lionel Koen sent CNA’s customer service department an e-mail which read: “I would like to voice my displeasure… a box of 16 Noris oil pastels costs R14.80 at Makro and you charge R30 for exactly the same item at Clearwater CNA. What a rip-off.”

CNA’s “online team” responded: “We understand your frustrations, however, Makro is a wholesaler and we are a retailer.”

A wholesaler sells goods mainly to retailers and business people, for resale or business use.

My parents owned a small hotel when I was young, and I well remember going with them to Makro to shop for supplies. In those days, it was indeed a wholesaler, and only businesses were issued Makro cards.

But Makro did away with that barrier to entry years ago. These days anyone can shop there.

Bottom line – convenience costs. If you want to nip into a CNA in a shopping centre, expect to pay more than you would if you drove to a shop in a warehouse environment.