It’s no longer a shock to hear Brazil described as one of the most expensive countries in the world.

Most Brazilians will tell you the reason is high taxes and they are partly right, the levels of taxation here are abusive given the services provided in return.

(I’ve written about that before here and here.)

But another simpler reason is that companies and businessmen are just plain greedy. They know they can charge huge mark ups because Brazil is full of rich and emerging consumers who have lots of money and who don’t know the value of what they are buying.

Further proof comes in this story in today’s O Globo newspaper. It lists duty free prices at airports around the world. Prices at the Dufry store at Rio’s Galeao airport routinely outstrip those elsewhere, often by as much as 68%.

If the the story errs it is in quoting too many lawyers trying to justify the abusive prices. One talks about the ‘Brazil cost,’ that collection of infrastructure, taxation, legal and other obstacles that make Brazil so expensive. He also cites the fact that these goods can cost so much more because they are imported from Europe.

It’s mostly bullshit. And here’s why.

A 1 litre bottle of Sagatiba cachaça costs $29.90 at Dufry. A 70 cl bottle of the same Sagatiba cachaça costs $15.40 at Uvinum online stores in the US.

It’s one more example of how consumers are treated with disdain here. We are walking wallets, there to be taken advantage of.

It’s an outrage and with consumer advocates so weak, there is little way of combating the abuse other than by boycotting the offending shops.

We could all start by refusing to spend money at Dufry.