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The Forum > Article Comments > The beauty of more choices > Comments

The beauty of more choices : Comments

By Mikayla Novak, published 17/7/2006

Never before have so many people had affordable and convenient access to so many goods and services.

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"If people are so overwhelmed by choice, why does, for example, Bunnings hardware store continue to be successful stocking so many items? How does Safeway and Coles compete against small corner stores with less product varieties?"

I agree with the thrust of the article, but take umbrage to this bit here.
Safeway and Coles compete against small corner stores by being cheaper - they do this by forcing suppliers to trade with the barest profit margins.
They also stock a full product range, and by this I don't mean that they have all the brands, I mean they have all the products.
Corner stores are all very well for bread, milk and a few other essentials, but not many stock fruit, frozen goods and so forth.
The higher prices also make shopping at them unpractical.
Whats more, the giants like this may provide more choice in products, but by crowding out and ultimately eliminating the smaller competition outlets, they are removing choice of a different kind.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Monday, 17 July 2006 10:51:29 AM
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Cant help but say the revolution in choices is limited to a subset of a smaller sub of souls on the planet - the plethora is in the main limited to Western countriies and the choices reduce the further down the food or socio economic chain you happen to be.

It is really nothing at be all that gleefull about -
Posted by sneekeepete, Monday, 17 July 2006 10:51:43 AM
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A typical elitist-academic article about me - Julie Novak - my life and my choices where I live.

Before reading the article, I had a cynical chuckle about its byline - "Never before have so many people had affordable and convenient access to so many goods and services". But she forgot to add the qualifiers after it - "only if you live in a primary capital city and make a six-figure income like I do."

Try getting affordable and convenient access to goods and services in the bush. You can't. The goods and services aren't here, because nobody makes the money to afford them, because lefty academics and lefty environmentalists and lefty politicians won't give rural people the time of day, let alone their fair reward for their not insignificant contribution to the wealth of city-folk and the nation.

Whatever... LOL.

And I must commend both TRTL and sneekeepete for their good, accurate and poignant comments above.
Posted by Maximus, Monday, 17 July 2006 12:32:59 PM
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Over the past couple of decades we have become used to the phenomenon of product placement in Hollywood movies. The business has become pretty slick - the use of a Nokia phone or the glimpse of the Stolly bottle as a drink is poured has become almost subliminal in its effect.

Translating this to the medium of the Forum article, Julie Novak's use of "Aussie Homeloans Mortgage Market" (note the use of the full business name) as proxy for the mortgage broking market, sticks out a mile. What, I wondered, is the going rate for a writer to use product placement techniques in OLO?

>>Some businesses, such as Aussie Home Loans Mortgage Market for example, have been established to guide people through the many choice options available, helping consumers find the options they prefer.<<

This is straight from the try-too-hard school of the genre, like an over-long close-up of the hero's Rolex, and should not pass unremarked. In addition, in the one sentence it manages to undermine the entire argument.

As a general observation, mortgage brokers are agents of the product supplier, from whom they earn commission on the sale. No sale, no commission. So you may be certain that any "guidance" will be towards one of the products in the broker's kitbag. As in any sales process, the salesperson needs to give the impression that they are guiding the mark to their preferred product; hey, that's simply being good at their job.

>>They serve to reduce the transactions costs, as well as relieve personal anxiety <<

But the one thing it patently does not do is to reduce the transaction costs. Simple logic tells us that if there were less choice in this particular market, and loans came in only one flavour, transaction costs would necessarily be lower, as the need for "guidance" would disappear.

There is nothing at all wrong with the concept of choice in the market. But the selection of Aussie as an illustration is as far from the mark as are Safeway and Coles, as TRTL has already noted.
Posted by Pericles, Monday, 17 July 2006 5:16:18 PM
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Is choice of electricity retailer an improvement on the government monopoly that used to exist. Is Origin's electron any different to Citywest's electron. No its all generated in Yallorn by TRU or Texas Utilities.

Is choice of canned peaches from South Africa, Greece or the expensive Australian brand any choice? What about when transport costs rise because of rising oil prices, I hope that Australian farmers haven't ripped out all their orchards before we are forced to buy domestic.

What real choice of phone service do we really have, the wires are deterorating as Telstra goes out backwards but you can chose to get billed by Optus or Telstra. Those of us who wear reading glasses want a mobile with black and white screen visible in bright sunshine and don't need camera, mp3 player or games. When will marketers understand that Australia is an aging population with spending power still with the baby boomers.
Posted by billie, Monday, 17 July 2006 7:10:03 PM
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Too much choice and an ideology of promoting only the virtues of endless change (because if we buy into the concept, then "leaders" can forever take us where they will) causes us to lose any sense of satisfaction or feelings of constancy in our lives. Lives with no constancy or ability to feel satisfied are inevitably unhappy.

Greater choice leads to greater competition, which inevitably (at some point hence), leads to conflict. Co-operation leads to shared time and shared resources which leads to harmonious relationships.

It's not that difficult to understand the causes of historical conflicts ... nor the increasing levels of conflict currently taking shape around the world
Posted by Kúvin, Monday, 17 July 2006 9:08:06 PM
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