This quote from a hotel owner in Venezuela that now asks its patrons to bring their own toilet paper caught my eye:
Camacho says she refuses to buy toilet paper from the black market on principle.
“In the black market you have to pay 110 bolivares [$0.50] for a roll of toilet paper that usually costs 17 bolivares [$ 0.08] in the supermarket,” Camacho told Fusion. “We don’t want to participate in the corruption of the black market, and I don’t have four hours a day to line up for toilet paper” at a supermarket….
I see this all the time, the notion there is somehow a "correct" price that no one is willing to charge. There is nothing real about the 17 bolivares price. It is a fiction. There are only two real prices in the market -- 110 bolivares PLUS any risk/penalty from breaking the law or 17 bolivares PLUS 4 hours of your personal time. My sense is that if the legal risk of buying on the black market is low, and you knew the average order size and the value people placed on their own time, you would find these two prices converging. But in any case, it is dumb to continue to insist that 17 bolivares is the "right" price.