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Everyone Loses

November 20, 1988

James Flanigan barely scratched the surface in his Oct. 19 column, "Shoppers Won't Cheer Kraft Bid at the Checkout," on the danger of the mergers among business giants.

Freedom of choice has all but disappeared in the marketplace. Money, not the consumer, rules. Marketing strategists have long since learned to ignore demand and concentrate on controlling channels of distribution. Manufacturers advertise as much to promote their cost effective design changes (is a front-wheel-drive car really better in Southern California or is it just cheaper to build?). Brand recognition is gone--who knows who owns what? There is no way of knowing true value. All prices are "sale" prices.

Free enterprise is one thing, cartels and coercion and consumer manipulation are something else.

The American public is the loser.

HENRY L. SCHARFF

Thousand Oaks

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