Dem Too Tief


It is a frequent cry in the commerce of the Caribbean. When confronted with what seems to be an unreasonable price, my people claim that the person selling it is a thief.

What is this all about?

Is this just a matter of ignorance about capitalist economics? Do we not understand and appreciate that profits are important for shareholders to continue to create companies, and jobs?

Perhaps we do not understand the principles of supply and demand economics. We are free to buy or to not buy. When we do not buy en masse, the prices adjust themselves to meet the demand of the market.

Maybe the problem lies someplace else entirely. This could be just a matter of “workplace emotional maturity,” in which a deeply held feeling is expressed loudly, but inaccurately.

It could be that “Dem too tief” is an expression of hurt (turned into an attack) in which the underlying sentiment is really something like “I am hurt because it seems to me that you care more about taking my money, than giving me real value, and that would mean that you do not care about me as a person, but only the money in my pocket. When I have this thought, I feel devalued and less than human, and the best I can cry out is ‘Dem too tief.'”