If it were really a free market, this would bother them

Quick memo to Coles: you know how you’ve been replacing products on the shelves with your own version and preventing shoppers from having any choice as to which brand they buy? Using your duopoly power in the overall market, and your monopoly power within the supermarket itself, to force your own brand on us? And you know how you absolutely refuse to mark prices with a tag showing cost per kg, volume etc so shoppers can reasonably compare prices?

Yeah, I’m shopping at another supermarket now. Hope others do likewise.

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22 responses to “If it were really a free market, this would bother them

  1. Since I discovered IGA I’ve never looked back…it’s where all the brands that Coles have ditched have gone to be appreciated and purchased.

  2. No, no, no…. don’t shop at the corporates. We have formend a collective of freegans and we either source all of our food from the what the capitalist australian consumer class dispose of (23% of food in Oz is tossed out man perfectly good) or forage the the streets, parks and urban bushland. All other food we raise and slaughter or make.

    Like even hottie little milfs are doing it
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/growing-trend-for-palatable-shapes-in-shared-living-20090612-c67l.html

  3. Did you fail maths at high school?

    Can’t you work out unit prices in your head?

  4. I didn’t fail maths and I sure as hell don’t like standing in front of each bloody item working out the unit prices.

    Especially litres of volume vs. kilos

  5. Yeah, its real hard.

    A 500gm bag of sugar $4.50

    A 1kg bag of sugar $8.00.

    Which one is better value?

    It reminds me of the episode of Yes Minister where they want to bring back conscription so kids can get a “comprehensive education” to make up for their “comprehensive education”.

    If schools taught kids maths properly there would be no need for unit pricing.

    BTW. 1 litre = 1 kilogram where the density is 1.

    I thought the metric system was supposed to make things easier for people!

  6. No-one said it was hard, Fred, but it adds time to an activity that takes long enough as it is. Plus, if Safeway can do it, why can’t Coles?

    And I don’t know about you, Fred, but I can’t remember the last time something that comes in litre format told me whether the mass was 1.

    For example, we were trying to determing which brand of kitty litter to buy – which is measured in both gram and litre, depending on the brand, It’s 1 litre of volume, but that doesn’t equate to 1 kilo, because – amongst other things – you can’t immediately determine whether the mass is more or less than one.

    Kindly point out where anyone said it was hard or impossible?

    Looks like whilst I was not paying enough attention in Maths you were paying scant attention to the comprehension bits of your English classes, Fred.

  7. I stand there doing the maths regularly – but it is a bit of an unnecessary waste of everyone’s time, you’d have to agree. And the volumes/weights/prices are rarely as straightforward as in your example, either.

    BTW, could you save me the trouble and let me know what pseudonym you used last time, “Fred”? WordPress recognised your IP from your last trolling efforts, but I don’t off the top of my head.

  8. They have unit pricing over here in the U.K. (working here for the next 2 months) and it is very conveniant. But the supermarkets didn’t do it out of love for the customer, they were forced to.

    And Real Lefty – I think growing your own food is great (if you have the time) but as for “dumster diving” – all yours I’m afraid!

  9. We have unit pricing up here in Qld, as part of the law but I think but some of the smaller shops are exempt.
    Weird thing about Coles, ever notice sometimes they have two versions of their homebrand product. Like their cornflakes there is one in a plain white package and a more expensive one in a coloured package. As far as I can tell they are the same product but some people pay more for the nicer package, odd.

  10. If it’s the “love Coles” brand, I believe you’re paying more for the hilarious comedy stylings on the packaging.

  11. Hi cemil.

    My brother used to do a bit of dumpster diving, and it really is perfectly good food.

    You obviously only grab things like vegies, fruit, bread, biscuits etc. Anything that could concievably go off, you dont touch.

    In one night he got about $100 worth of expensive bread from a gourmet bakery’s skip. It was all still packaged and inside garbage bags. Now its in his and his friends chest freezers saving them all money.

    Once he found about 10 kg of ripe bananans and an entire box of discarded pears, even cherries at Christmas. NOTHING wrong with them at all.

    The closest i personally get to dumpster diving is getting stale bread from the vietnamese bakery in town, or trimmings and seconds from the fruit and veg shop, which i feed to my pigs

    Pigs (and my brother) are maybe not as fussy as you!

  12. And neither are about a quarter of the worlds population who would love to live in a country where we chuck out nearly a quarter of the food produced.

    We have been brought up to believe that unless an orange is absolutely orange then it is not worthy of consumption. That we cant cut away a piece of bruising that appears on a bannana.

    You turn your nose up at dumpster diving because you think it’s ‘dirty’ but exactly where do you think food comes from. A lot of it originates in dirt.

  13. Apparently Coles is going to bring unit pricing in – although it hasn’t arrived at our local one yet.

  14. To those that think that the desirability of Unit Pricing is a reflection of poor schooling outcomes, I challenge them to the following mental arithmetic exercise.

    If a can of something costs 76c for a 285gm can, what is the minimum price a 45 gram can needs to be to be better value?

    Most people can’t do that without paper in a reasonable time.

    To Jeremy,

    Why should the brand name holders extract such a premium from me. Is it not better to get an equivalent product for cheaper regardless of who provides it? i certainly think so.

    Besides, Coles have been forced into this by the entry of Aldi into the market, which has that business model almost exclusively.

  15. sorry, but the above exercise is better if comparing to a 450 g can as I intended to.

  16. I don’t mind the Coles product per se – I mind them replacing the original with it so we have no choice.

  17. So it is not the introduction of the Coles branded product that you have issue with, more the shelf space management policy. I have always found enough choice even after the introduction of the Coles Brand

    Further, I have been pleasantly surprised by the Coles Brand quality. It appears to me that Coles have a business model that they are making their brand to be equivalent quality to the well known brands. They still have “Home Brand” and other generic brands in the store that I associate with compromised quality.

  18. You know any time a person makes an eminently sensible suggestion as Jeremy has done here, all the freaks come out of the woodwork to brag about the ‘DECAY OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM’ or some such rot, completely killing any intelligent debate.

    Let me ask:

    1. Why do you feel so strongly about mental arithmetic?

    2. If you’re right, why should Coles and Woolworths profit from the failures of the education system?

  19. The Aldi catalogue arrived today with news of wine cheaper than water. Yes, buy Cab Merl or Chardy cleanskin @ 26.7 cents per 100ml. It probably tastes like crap, but gawd it must be selling well below cost. Just sayin’.

  20. I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the big supermarkets have the purchasing power to extract concessions from product producers – I saw many of my favourite niche brands dissapear from shelves to be replaced by either more of the more mainstream brands (because we need more Heinz tomato sauce sheves in the same isle apparently) or the supermarket brand product.

    I try to get all fresh fruit and veg, meat and bread from specialty shops where the quality is better and you can adequately monitor the prices, and only the packaged goods I need from the supermarkets. Besides, I know that fruit and veg is not supposed to look perfect and often has more flavour if it does, and that ‘proper’ meat is a lot darker than you see in the big supermarkets.

    What gets me is why the need to import fruit and veg from overseas? The classic case I found was over here in the U.K. – Basil from the West Bank!!!! No hydroponic facilities or glasshouses in the U.K. eh?? Luckily they have farmers markets – something we really need in Australia.

  21. Those people about whining about mental arithmetic… missed the point.

    The food makers have deliberately chosen strange package sizes to make unit price conversions difficult.

    Examples (made up, because I don’t have the packs in front of me but go to a supermarket and you will see it). A Big Box of brekky cereal is 780 grams. A small box is 325 grams.

    When the pack sizes are simple multiples of 2, doing the unit pricing in your head is not hard (I’ve been doing it for 30 years). When the pack sizes are not simple integer multiples, I’m defeated. That’s nothing to do with the education system.

    They have unit pricing in the UK and France. And every time you go to any kind of produce market the fruit, vegetables or meat are priced in $/kg (or sometimes the more evil $/100grams).

    It’s only not being done because the packaged food makers don’t want it done and the supermarkets dont especially care. For the supermarket THERE IS A COST – the signage needs to present both prices and this means they need new infrastructure. It’s a 1-off cost. In the long run the cost as a proportion of their profit is still very small.

    Its better for consumers. Should be done. Education arguments be damned.

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