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Retail and Marketing

David Littleproud attacks Coles over milk. Too little, too late

Coles sign on side of store

MP David Littleproud attacked grocery giant, Coles for not passing extra A$0.10 from their milk on to farmers. This has triggered an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry.

Apparently, Coles have finally buckled, donating an extra A$5million to farmers.

Why has anyone only spoken up now?

Coles and the other grocer mammoth, Woolworths were in a longstanding war over grocery prices.

Woolworths entrance
Woolworths has been part of the ‘price wars’ since 2011, resulting in them quashing competitors.

This started in 2011. Both supermarkets offered low prices and started a home brand that has covered a wide range of items.

The “down down” prices have proven to be sinister.  A number of smaller, independent grocers couldn’t compete went out of business.

Coles and Woolworths were accused of quashing small businesses in rural and regional areas.

To add insult to injury, last month, the price wars ended. Prices rose again. Everyone has lost out instead of Coles and Woolworths.

 

Yet, to my knowledge only recently has any MP publicly spoken out against Coles and/ or Woolworths. What took them so long? Is it just save face and make itlook like they’re doing something for the farmers after the disastrous Murray Basin plan?

Aldi: a saviour?

However, it’s not all bad news. Coles and Woolworths do have a competitor – German supermarket, Aldi.

They first opened stores in Australia in 2001.

Since then, Aldi has had its hits and misses. Many people like their prices, not just for groceries, but also household appliances like Dyson vacuum cleaners, which are cheaper than in other stores.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring back any small businesses in rural towns that have collapsed.

 

 

I think the Federal Government has really shot themselves in the foot over the grocer wars. Put simply, Coles and Woolworths are too big. Criticising them now is pointless.

 

Coles and Woolworths have proven to have no regard for the ‘little guy’. They’ve been able to bully their way to dominating a major part of the retail sector.

If they had no regard for the independent businesses, then why would they care for farmers? Unless it tarnishes their image (and threatens their bottom line).

U.timately, the CEOs of Coles and Woolworths only about one thing, and that”s profit.

 

Categories
Retail and Marketing

Is SPF 50+ sunscreen worth it?

Ultra 50 plus sunscreen
Popular and alleged ‘Cancer Council’ approved sunscreens come under scrutiny

Australians are repeatedly urged to ‘slip’ on a sleeved shirt, ‘slop’ on sunscreen and ‘ slap’ on a hat.

Now, being sunburnt is not fun. But is sunscreen all it’s cracked up to be? Maybe not.

Are sunscreens worth the hype?

Here’s a real kicker. Tests, including one reported on by Choice in 2018 revealed that most sunscreens they studied did not meet their marketed SPF claim. However, when manufacturers were contacted, most defended their product and claims. 

Cancer Council: can they be trusted?

A number of sunscreens have been found not to live up to their ratings. But what about the ones with the Cancer Council signature and logo? Surely if a product has the logo of the biggest cancer charity and education resource that the products would be reputable?

Well, not really.

According to news.com.au, the Cancer Council received a furious backlash from parents of toddlers after their children received severe rashes and burns after applying their Pepper Pig sunscreen.

Take this next finding with a grain of salt, but I found it interesting. Cancer Council sunscreen has been reviewed on Product Review, and from what I’ve read, many customers were not happy. A number of customers report severe sunburn, even when they applied the sunscreen as recommended.

So maybe take logos, as well as SPF claims with a grain of salt.

 

So, what is the answer? 

People have told me that zinc sunscreen is better than cream.

People are often warned to avoid the sun in the afternoon completely, if possible. If it’s not possible or you’re at an outdoor event, (like The Red Hot Summer Tour where I was burned to a crisp) here’s what you can do:

Shirt

Don’t where sleeveless or short sleeved t – shirts. Best to have the sleeve go around the elbow, if not below.

Shorts/ pants

For heaven’s sake, women, DON’T wear short shorts or skirts, you’ll regret it, trust me! Your knees will cop it. For about a week, I’ve had to apply Aloe Vera cream and put up with, at times, excruciating pain from sunburn. Make sure shorts/ skirt cover the knee at least. 

Hat

Wide – brimmed, of course. It helps if it has a string around the neck to hold it in place, too. The hats you could buy from the Red Hot Summer Tour were really good.

Shoes

Although they may be uncomfortable in Summer, I think closed is best. Wear shoes that cover the top of your feet, because they can get sunburnt, too. For me, I did get sunburnt on the top of the feet, (I wore sandals at the RHST).

 

Could festival/ event organisers make changes for the future?

There was a bit of shade around the outskirts at the RHST, but not actually in front of the stage where all the performers were. Could this be a possibility for future festivals? I’m not sure. You weren’t allowed to have summer umbrellas in front of the stage, either. I get that would have been due to safety concerns. I just wonder if there could have been a tarp or some sort of covering over where most people were sitting. Or at least have the event in an area with plenty of trees (there was surprisingly very few at North Gardens in Ballarat, Victoria where the RHST was).

 

If you’d like to see some pictures, check out my Instagram @saraharnetty.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Culture Retail and Marketing

It’s been six months since the ‘single – use’ plastic bag ban at Coles and Woolworths

Woolworths material ba
It’s been six months since Cooles and Woolworths introduced a ‘ban’ on traditional plastic shopping bags, instead introducing thicker plastic or material bags

Maybe Coles and Woolworths were on to something.

Despite the initial backlash against grocery store monopolies for their decision to ban ‘single use ‘ plastic shopping bags, women’s site Mamamia reported that around 1.5 billion less plastic bags have become waste.

Also, the National Retail Association also confirms that other major retailers have started to follow suit. I know that Big W have had both thicker plastic and material (nylon?) bags on sale for a while.

I haven’t been against the move by Coles and Woolworths in introducing the material/ thicker plastic bags. But I do think the way they went about it was bad PR. Due to public anger, both Coles and Woolworths have made concessions. Woolworths had their bags free for a limited time. Coles backtracked completely and reintroduced the plastic bags. Then they backflipped…again.

Even after that, to save their image, Woolworths claims that all proceeds made from the bags (A$1.00 for the material and A$0.15) are donated to environmental and education charities.

Reactions to the change

There have been mixed reactions about the changes from both members of the public and the media.

While many have praised Coles and Woolworths for trying to phase out thin plastic bags, there have been plenty of criticism as well. Some reactions  against it have been arguably exaggerated. Gay Alcorn from The Guardian Australia pointed out flaws in the San Francisco study that claimed that people died of food poisoning due to dirty material bags. The study was not peer reviewed and has been dismissed by PolitiFact.

Personally, I’ve never had any problem. Generally, I take one bag for shopping and nothing has been spilled or broken. In regard to meat, raw fish and chicken — food that can produce e – coli — I make sure that I have a cool bag with me. That seems to work well.

I’m not against the move, but I do find it ironic that mini plastic bags are still used to buy fruit and vegetables. I can’t see why they couldn’t have found another (possibly free), alternative for that. Plus, not having fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic would be good too.

Any other alternatives to plastic bags? Yes. Paper bags. They can be useful to use as bins too, so there’s less need for home bins that need liners.

I’m actually surprised about the impact that the changes in bag policies at Coles and Woolworths have made (or tried to implement). Now, let the  war on plastic straws begin. And plastic bin liners. And… fill in the blank.

What do you think abouut the move that Coles and Woolworths ban? Let me know what youu think in the comments below.

Categories
Culture News Retail and Marketing

#NotAllFeminists #NotAllTransAllies

Popular Australian clothing,  brand, Peter Alexander, has come under fire for pulling pajama tops saying “Boys will be boys”, after one mother complained that the slogan was sexist on their Facebook page.

Did you read that? ONE mother allegedly complained that the slogan ‘boys will be boys’ was offensive and sexist.

To be clear, I think the complaint was silly, as was the move by Peter Alexander. What next? Are radio stations going to pull the Choirboys’ song of the same name?

 

I agree with Herald Sun columnist, Sky News presenter and 3AW regular, Rita Panahi who said that the brand should not have bowed down to one complaint.

I want to emphasise this. There was ONE complaint by ONE woman. Needless to say that this is NOT representative of all women or all feminists.

This is NOT representative of tarnsgender people, non – binary people or their allies. 

This is one idiot who made one comment and Peter Alexander was a fool for such a knee – jerk reaction.

So, in the coming days, let’s not turn it into something it’s not:

  • It’s not representative of all feminists
  • It’s not representative of all progressives
  • It’s not representatives of all transgender/ non – binary people and their allies

It is only representative of one idiot who decided that a well – known saying was offensive and one idiotic company that decided to overreact to that one complaint.

Categories
Culture Retail and Marketing

Amazon US pays no tax. Where is their competition

Last month, Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski exposed that the online store Amazon had not paid federal taxes in 2017. He also condemned how workers are treated.

I’ve bought CDs and books from Amazon. However, I haven’t for quite a few years. I think it’s appalling what Kulinski exposed about the company. I feel quite bad for praising them for attempting to set up store houses across Australia last year.

Here’s the thing: where is Amazon’s competition? What drew me to Amazon about eight or so years ago, (maybe longer), is that I was able to buy CDs that I couldn’t find in store. I was looking for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts CDs specifically at the time. Found three on Amazon. All my Christmases had come at once!

Top: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Greatest Hits, bottom left: Alice Cooper's Alice Goes to Hell and bottom right: Joan Jett and the Blackearts' Sinner
These albums I got from Amazon a few years ago. The Joan Jett ones I looked for ages in stores but couldn’t find them.

Left: Joan Jett "Bad Reputation", Right: Suzi Quatro Rock Hard
Two more albums from Amazon. Again, not available in traditional stores around me at the time (or now, for that matter).

A few weeks ago, I found Arch Enemy’s latest CD, Will to Power in Sanity in Lavington, New South Wales.  None of their earlier albums were there.

What about online? I looked at JB – HiFi online store. Only Will to Power and their 2016 Wacken album, As the Stages Burn was advertised. Sanity’s online store do have War Eternal on sale. Two Joan Jett CDs, are available on JB HiFi; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ Greatest Hits  and Up Your Alley, which is good, but what about Bad ReputationSinnner?

Rightly or wrongly, this is where Amazon has the upper hand, at least for CD sales.

So, what can be done? First, the US and Australian governments should crackdown on tax evasion, any employee exploitation and lack of satisfactory work conditions. From a consumer standpoint, there needs to be much better competition in both online and traditional stores. Stores should offer earlier popular albums from artists and bands as well as their latest. Also, a plea for stores (both online and traditional), please don’t exclude artists. Offer a whole range. Us Joan Jett fans are out there! Do the same for your online sales.

 

I guess people may think it doesn’t matter now that most music can be downloaded from iTunes or heard on Spotify. But, there have been news reports that even vinyl has made a comeback over the past couple of years. I’ve seen vinyl of contemporary albums being sold in JB – HiFi. But, again, the selection I saw was limited.

While I’m a bit of an iPad addict and was a chronic downloader of music when I first got it, I’ve started to miss listening to CDs. I also miss the anticipation of listening to a brand new one. I used to love getting CDs for Christmas, too. I used to almost flog the life out of them. I’d like to do that again someday. But I want to be able to do so ethically, knowing that the purchase doesn’t contribute to tax evasion or exploitation of workers. I also would also prefer not having to go from store to store finding the ones I want.

Do you buy CDs or vinyl or download your music on iTunes or another (legal) site? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Culture Retail and Marketing

Speculations spread about Amazon Australian launch

On Wednesday, Herald Sun reported speculations that online shopping giant, Amazon are set to extend business to Australia by the end of the year.

Warehouses are set to be established in Sydney and Brisbane, as well as the one in Melbourne.

An e- mail obtained by news site, Lifehacker suggested that five hundred businesses have already signed up with Amazon to join their Marketplace during a trial.

Amazon argued that this could help smaller retailers by offering a platform. This will make them rivals with Ebay.

Business analysts and other retailers had warned that the (now failed) launch by yesterday was overly ambitious. However, there is confidence that Amazon could complete the rollout by Christmas.

 

I really hope it goes well for Amazon. I believe the more retail competition we have the better.

I bought a few things from Amazon years ago. Before iTunes took over for my entertainment, I bought quite a few albums that I couldn’t find in a store near me from legends Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Alice Cooper. I remember being thrilled when I found them on the site and when they arrived.

They were all in perfect condition, too.

From top left: Suzi Quatro: Rock Hard, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Sinner, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Greatest Hits, Joan Jett, Bad Reputation, Alice Cooper: Alice goes to Hell
I was thrilled when I found and bought these albums on Amazon.

The delivery times were always fair, often a few days before the expected date.

I think it’s great that Australian businesses will soon be able to join Amazon. I think it really could bring success to all parties involved.

The criticism about Amazon taking competition from Ebay, Harvey Norman and David Jones? I hardly think that Amazon will end up defeating such companies. It might drive them a bit more to better services, make sure stock is up to scratch and that financial details remain secure and transactions are legit (I’m looking at you, Ebay)*.

Not only that, isn’t it great that Amazon is offering small business owners in Australia a chance to develop? The Australian economy and culture thrives on small independent businesses! This will give them akickstart! I think that’d be good! As long as Amazon  abides by Australian consumer law and it helps rather than hinders small business, I really can’t see any problems.

 

 

*Just a disclaimer: I personally haven’t had any bad experiences with Ebay, but I’ve heard of people who have; both buyers and sellers.

How have your experiences buying from Amazon been? Let me know in the coments below.