Consumerism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Apples: $5.98, or $6.48?

Over the weekend at the supermarket: I was suspicious of this (which is why I took the photo). Would these Pink Lady apples be $5.98, or $6.48 per kilogram? (The Granny Smiths to the left were a different price again.) Come the checkout, sure enough... the higher price. Was I ripped-off? If I had the time and energy, I'd have asked. Perhaps I'll ask next time if the contradictory

Clothes, Consumerism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Belt up: Stockade Leather

A shout-out to a good shop which doesn't have a web site of its own: About once every decade I buy a belt. They last that long -- I get them from a place in Elsternwick called Stockdale Stockade Leather (552 Glen Huntly Road), which I'm amazed is still in business because their stuff is so resilient -- they must get a lot of repeat business. It looks rather like their belts are made i


January Calendar shopping – some good ones left if you hunt around a bit

It's about this time of year that I often go calendar shopping. I generally like to have a calendar hanging in the kitchen, and another in the toilet. Sometimes I'll get given them at Christmas, of course -- for last year I was given two excellent ones -- the Melbourne Train Station calendar, and another of old London travel posters. They've been great, but with the new year, I now have t


All the self-serve checkouts are down, down

It was like a trip back in time to... last year. All the self-serve checkouts in Woolies were down tonight. A long queue at the express checkouts... surprisingly not at the other checkouts (all credit to management, they did have five non-express checkouts open at one time -- rarely seen nowadays). Perhaps the earthquake is to blame. Perhaps not.


If Myer went totally online, would the Christmas Windows turn into a web site?

Myer will close stores in Victoria and New South Wales and shrink surviving stores in response to the two-speed economy and online shopping. -- Myer to close or shrink stores as retail malaise bites Remembering that Myer Melbourne has already shrunk in size by about half, this isn't a huge surprise. Sounds like some of the smaller stores will be closed. I can't see it happening, but I


Quest for the ultimate umbrella

Thankfully my umbrella was not in as bad a state as this one, but it was in need of replacement. And of course via procrastination it was only on Thursday, when it had been raining, that I got motivated enough to go out and look. This is in part because I'm a terrible shopper. Or rather, I'm a terrible buyer. But I decided I wanted to find out if there was some marvellous mega-brolly to


Supermarket specials that aren’t. Deliberate, or just careless?

I've turned into one of those boring people who looks out for specials in the supermarket. This deal is from this week's Safeway/Woolworths catalogue. If you happen to occasionally buy frozen fish and frozen chips, it appears to be a pretty good deal, saving $3.55. (Sometimes I'll use this type of thing; sometimes I'd prefer salmon or barramundi fillets on the BBQ, but either way, combine wi

Consumerism, TV

Online vs local

I find it a little difficult to accept the big retailers' claims that ensuring GST is applied to mail order goods ordered online from overseas will make a big difference. GST is only 10%. Take for example the DVD of Edge of Darkness, which I mentioned the other day. Amazon UK price: 3.97 + 3.68 postage = 7.65, or A$12.18 (and note that more than half the postage cost is a "per delivery" char



I've mentioned it before, but Joel Spolsky wrote a great article a few years ago about pricing, and noted that companies would ideally like everybody to pay as much as they are willing to for their products. In economist jargon, capitalists want to capture the consumer surplus. Let's do this. Instead of charging $220, let's ask each of our customers if they are rich or if they are poor. If t