“A lovely smell of pizza is floating out of the box, after a moment I can start feasting. It was such a cheap pizza. But what is troubling my mind . . . uh, I didn’t receive a receipt!”

These are the opening remarks in a campaign against the grey economy, launched against cheap pizzas by the Finnish police in social media on Monday. According to the Finnish Hospitality Association (MaRa), which also is involved in the campaign, the losses to society caused by grey economy in the hospitality industry are about 300 to 400 million euros per year.

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Illustration: The police

The illustration provided by the police shows that a pizza costing less than six euros is not profitable. The pizza slices tell us that 36.5 per cent of the price is produced by the labour costs (työvoimakulut). Only, somewhat 35 per cent of the costs are produced by the ingredients (raaka-aineet). When we add the remaining costs: the value added tax (arvonlisävero), rents (vuokrat) and other expenses (muut kiinteät kulut), it should become clear that the expenses exceed the profits.

That is, unless the pizza baker is avoiding the necessary costs. The police urge customers to share tips of any restaurants selling cheap pizzas.

The campaign has raised plenty of eyebrows in the social media.

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A picture quoting the famous ‘Je Suis Charlie’ campaign is spreading in social media. “I am a pizza below 6 euros.”

“This would be the April Fool’s joke of the year unless it was October, and you obviously are serious,” one commentator said on the police’s Facebook page.

Others think the focus on pizzerias is as important as the police chasing tuned mopeds, while the rich laugh and avoid taxes by transferring funds to tax havens

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“You can be sure that I will not share tip-offs about any pizza spinners before the tax leaks of the elite have been investigated,” another commentator wrote on Facebook.

In an interview with the police superintendent, Tarmo Lamminaho, he was asked how significant the pizza phenomenon is in the battle against grey economy.

“It’s probably not the most significant thing but it has significance in regarding our target group, from which probably everyone eats pizza once a week at a restaurant,” he said to MTV news.



Cover photo: Matt Harris/Flickr