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The Forum > Article Comments > Shop till I drop > Comments

Shop till I drop : Comments

By Val Schefe, published 26/5/2010

Am I the only person in the universe to be regularly incensed by the shopping experience?

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No Val, you're not the only one.

There is a solution. Stay out of malls and big-box stores. There are still a few surviving small independent retailers. Yes, they might cost a little more. If you want service you pay for it. If you pay for it, they'll survive, and we'll remain that little bit more civilised.

There's a marvellous weekly farmers market in my town, patronised by thousands. It's in open sheds, not closed and managed environments. You dress down. People smile and are friendly. The food is real, and from not too far away. The money I pay goes straight to the producer, all of it.

There are other markets operating most days. Find them and patronise them, so they can survive.
Posted by Geoff Davies, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 9:49:28 AM
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What Geof said.

I also try to avoid malls and stick to the independent retailers whenever possible.

As of late we purchase our meat (grass fed) fron a biodynamic farmer for often the same price or not much more than the supermarket prices (there is no middle man and the money goes direct to the farmer). The meat is superb and you know where your food comes from.

The catch for business is to stay viable while consumers want better value for money, it can be tricky and there are all those shareholders to keep happy. Smaller stores are trying to compete with the bulk buying power of the discount stores.

We can't always depend on governments to ensure proper regulation so it comes down to consumer power or apathy as the case may be.
Posted by pelican, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 9:58:01 AM
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I avoid the major supermarkets because of the unconscionable way they treat primary producers. They use their buying power to force the price down at the farm gate, but expect us to pay top price for the benefit of their shareholders. Their increasing use of cheap imports is very costly in terms of carbon emissions - how stupid is it to ship fruit in cans halfway across the world?
Posted by Candide, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 10:16:19 AM
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Let's not forget, the shopping experience does sometimes present us with opportunities to get our own back, and very satisfying it can be.

An example. In a small electrical goods shop a few years ago, a customer at the counter next to me asked the assistant for her "best price" on a whitegoods item. He'd done his research, and knew exactly what he wanted. She mentioned a dollar figure, and the customer thanked her and started to walk out. "But if you find a better price", she shouted, "come back and we'll see what we can do".

He came back to the counter. "Why would I do that, when you've just offered me your best price?" he said. "How can you possibly improve on your best price? If the figure you just quoted wasn't your best price, then what was it?"

After some obfuscating by the saleswoman, the customer said "Right, let's start again, and this time I'm making it clear. You get one chance, you give me one dollar figure, and I'll thank you and walk out. Then one of two things will happen - either I will come back and buy it at that price, asking for no further discount, OR you'll never see me again".

It's a fabulous technique, because it puts ALL the pressure on them, not you. And you don't get into this interminable Dutch auction situation, phoning and re-phoning to whittle a couple more dollars off. They understand from the start that they get ONE chance and one chance only, and it better be a good price because you're not going to tell them what other retailers have quoted.

I've used this technique several times, notably when buying my last new car in 2007. It was so satisfying - the salesman I eventually bought from actually complained, in as many words, that I was "putting him under too much pressure"! I laughed out loud. "You're a car salesman? And YOU'RE complaining about being put under pressure?". A wonderful moment in Australian retailing, and I got a great price on the car. Try it yourselves.
Posted by Slobodon Meshirtfront, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 10:50:41 AM
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Sounds like Val is a perpetual whiner, sorry, but I see folks like this when I'm out and about and cannot understand it.

Are you all so precious and pampered and obviously wealthy that you want respect and adoration when you shop?

You're dealing with younger generations of people who do not care about your sensibilities or your passion for "politeness", you want it to be genuine - it is not and has not been for years.

I love shopping in Australia, you can get anything you want easily and the bigger cities are the best. Clearly you didn't grow up in isolated communities with very little, or you would appreciate a lot more what you have.

I find this attitude totally ungrateful and corrupt, particularly the sanctimonious ones who "only shop at farmer's markets". I'm sure would buy anything dressed up to their gullible tastes as long as the person selling just "talks" to them.

No one today wants a relationship with a salesperson in a shop, who cares? If you're lonely, get a social networking account.

I support my local shopping centres, all of them, without favour, I change butchers and fruit shops at a moment's notice depending on what I need. That's the way shopping works now, you don't have "your" personal store - if a farmer's market salesperson makes you feel special, good for them, you're just responding to a sales pitch (i.e. fools and money)

This attitude of rejecting societies norms and the way food is distributed these days is amusing though, and I'm sure you'll all be paying through the nose and buying "organic" as well. (hey, how about buying some of this "organic water", I'm serious, that's now a brand of bottled water in Australia) Industry responds to markets where people are easily seperated from their money.

Like the millions around me, I will continue to support our market economy, as you do though you want to pretend you're special and really don't .. you are special, not like those fools who shop at supermarkets .. of course you are.
Posted by odo, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 8:34:35 PM
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Many thanks Val for your article; long overdue.

I share my family's shopping and mine around everywhere. From the local fruit markets, several local corner shops across the city, to medium sized supermarkets and woolies, including the butcher shops on occasions and delicatessans.

Retail clothes shopping a nightmare avoided, unless going with my 19 year old [she LOVES her Mum going shopping with her for the extra $$$$ on top LOL]. The clothes that suit me are not manufactured any more and size irrelevant. Am a size 8 with long legs tall. Most clothes made in China are with shorter legs and those uncomfortable and unflattering hipster waists useless, unless paying around 200 dollars at a jeans shop [I wait a year or two until reduced]. Target years ago used to sell jeans with length, now appear to tailor their market towards shorter legs for some unknown reason.

Finding Australian made clothes and designs for normal bone structure and length is difficult for women over 5"5. My daughter is 5"10 with slim legs along with quite a few of her friends in the same boat. She dislikes being tall and I gather it has a great deal to do with her difficulty in locating the length in jeans and pants and one of the reasons I feel they opt for skirts and dresses to go out in during winter. All of the leggings they wear casually are above their ankles and few wear jeans in winter during the day.

There is a MARKET out there for someone who wishes to design, manufacture and market womens jeans!

Dress styles have improved over the last few years halleluia, yet XXX and 4X Shirts can only be found in one shop in the city. If they do sell them, most sold out quickly. BTW: this thread was started for people to contribute their comments and if people choose to air their grievances regarding shopping they have every right
Posted by we are unique, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 9:48:11 PM
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