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Exactly why is it not ribit to charge disproportionately more for a single item than for each unit in a bulk purchase? Of course, I'm talking about Jews' selling to each other.


People have requested an explanation of why I think this is ribis. I think it should be unnecessary to explain, because people could get to the explanation just by thinking about it. But, in the name of taking some of the burden off of readers and potential answerers, I offer this discussion:

@DoubleAA points out that it is ribis to deposit money into a Jewish-owned bank. This is presumably because the bank (a Jew) pays you interest for the privilege of keeping your money. By the same token, it seems it should be ribis to place your money in sequestration with a merchandise seller who pays you interest (extra goods [not just more goods]) for the privilege of taking all your money up front.

Or perhaps the reverse is true. Could it be ribis on the seller's part to charge you interest, as it were, for keeping your own money (i.e., when you buy a smaller size for a higher unit price)? In other words, in the case where you are buying individual units one at a time as needed, you are taking longer to pay the seller for the same amount of merchandise, and you are paying interest for it in the form of a higher price for that merchandise.

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    Why would that be Ribbis? No one is lending anyone anything or taking interest. – רבות מחשבות Feb 22 '18 at 3:01
  • What sequestration is there? You paid him and now it's his. I don't know what you're talking about – Double AA Feb 22 '18 at 13:36
  • @DoubleAA Let's say you bought a 24-case of jelly. You're not eating all the jelly now. Therefore your money is in sequestration with him. – SAH Feb 23 '18 at 2:06
  • @sah huh??? He doesn't own the money fully till I eat the jelly?? I'm so confused. The money is his and the jelly is mine. We can both do whatever we want with our respective property. Why would the transaction not be over? – Double AA Feb 23 '18 at 2:10
  • @DoubleAA I sort of see what you mean, in that I could, in theory, eat all the jelly now if I wanted to. But the point is that if I wanted to buy the jelly one jar at a time, and therefore hold on to my money for longer, I would pay interest in the form of an increased price in jelly for that privilege. – SAH Feb 23 '18 at 2:14
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In general, Ribis involves charging for allowing someone to hold onto your money or merchandise for a given amount of time (אגר נטר). A classic case is a bank loan, although it is true that ribis is a concern under many different circumstances.

In your case of volume pricing, there is no obvious charge for אגר נטר involved.

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By the same token, it seems it should be ribis to place your money in sequestration with a merchandise seller who pays you interest (extra goods [not just more goods]) for the privilege of taking all your money up front.

No, for the privilege of having a larger sale - the privilege of paying up front would be if the same amount of merchandise was took, but payment deferred (which would cause issues with ribis)

Or perhaps the reverse is true. Could it be ribis on the seller's part to charge you interest, as it were, for keeping your own money (i.e., when you buy a smaller size for a higher unit price)? In other words, in the case where you are buying individual units one at a time as needed, you are taking longer to pay the seller for the same amount of merchandise

I do not understand how you can claim this resembles interest whatsoever; and besides, you do not keep your money - you never spent it in the first place.

As a general rule, ribis is going to have to involve a repayment larger than the loan. This loan does not have to be money, but it must exist; in neither of these cases is there any loan taking place, just a straight financial transaction.

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