29 days ago

The Leader is making a lot of noise about "Shop Local"

Peter Neighbourly Lead from Kamo

Although the grammar nazi in me shouts "that should read 'locally".

Right ... To start with, I should say that I agree with this in principle. I have shopped locally for decades; in Kaikohe when I lived in the Hokianga, or in Kerikeri, or in Whangarei now that I live down here.
BUT! There is a big, stinking problem here, and that is that in so many instances we are being - there is no other way of putting it - ripped off.
I'll give you an example: years ago I was on a dietary supplement. At my local health food store: $47 a bottle. Purchased on the internet, and airmailed from the USA: $17 per bottle, *including postage*. Nearly 3 times as much. So when I hear retailers jubilation that we customers now have to pay more GST on the goods we get overseas, and how that will help local business, I can only laugh: 15% on that 17 dollar bottle is not going to change my mind. Get real.

I can buy books in England and have them shipped that cost me 12-15 dollars landed in my letter box, and they would cost $30 if I bought them locally.

And no, not for a moment am I accepting the favourite argument that it's transport cost. The transport cost for a trade paperback book in a container would be mere cents. Somebody, be it the importers, or be it the distributors, are making a killing.

That is nothing to say about the attitude I encounter in many shops.

Used to go into the Kerikeri New World, ask at the deli counter about some exotic sausage meat - "we don't have any in, but I can have it for you by Tuesday, what is your phone number please". My experience at the Regent when asking for a product in their weekly catalogue? "We don't do that (blue cheese) here". Not apologetic, just snooty. Guess what - I am feeling inclined to take a good deal of my custom elsewhere, even if it means I have to pay for shipping.

We have a couple of hardware stores who declare they will drop their price if someone else has the product cheaper. I went to the first one, B, but they didn't have that drill press I wanted on the shelf. I went to the second one, M, they had one, but more expensive - some piffling amount like 20 or 30 dollars. I asked if they would drop the price to that of the competition. They had to ring up, found out the competition didn't have one on the shelf and refused to drop the price. So I went online at home, and got one sent up freepost from Auckland at a lower price the next day. They missed out on a $425 sale because they would not drop the price by $20. Does that make sense, business wise? I think not. Does that make sense in terms of 'happy customer'? Not At All. They blew my good-will.

Buy locally? Yes, with all my heart - I want to support local business. But you need to make an effort at service for starters, and it would help if you would not grossly overcharge us on some product lines as well. I'm actually prepared to pay 10-20% extra locally, but not 200-300%. Maybe someone should explain that to some of the local retailers.

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