Sign could have stopped sticker stoush

21/01/2021

Someone has laid a complaint with the Commerce Commission over New World’s Smeg knife promotion.

A frustrated New World customer who cannot get one of the supermarket chain’s promotional knife blocks has lodged a Commerce Commission complaint alleging a breach of the Fair Trading Act.

New World’s owner Foodstuffs has run a highly-successful giveaway of Smeg knives and knifeblocks over summer. But the company has all but run out of the blocks and says it cannot get any more.

The customer, an Auckland businessman who didn’t want to be named, said he believed continuing the promotion when New World knew the star attraction was unavailable amounted to misleading conduct under the Act.

Foodstuffs says it is confident it hasn’t breached the law, but Consumer New Zealand say the man may have a case – and says New World stores that have run out of stock should be posting signs to warn customers before they buy groceries in the hope of securing a knife block. . . 

They are very good knives.

We usually shop at New World and with catering for a couple of Christmas parties, buying ingredients to make 21 Christmas cakes and some other reasonably big shops it wasn’t hard for my farmer and me to collect enough stickers to get all the knives we wanted.

Others have been slower to collect the stickers you get with every $20 spend and are finding they can’t redeem them.

The booklet in which you stick the stickers makes it quite clear the promotion is only while stocks last. However, shoppers probably don’t know that stocks are low or, in many cases, no more until they try to redeem their stickers.

It has probably been a very good promotion for the supermarkets if people have, as I did a few times, added something extra to their trolleys to ensure they got another sticker and I am sure I’m not the only one to be grateful to have a new supply of good, sharp knives in my kitchen.

But at least some of the good will have been undone by the disgruntled who haven’t been able to get the knives they wanted as stocks ran out.

The staff at my local warned me when stocks were running low and it’s very much a first world problem but Consumer is right. A sign could have stopped the sticker stoush by warning people before they shopped that supplies of the knives and knife blocks had run out.


Look at retailers not producers

03/08/2011

Federated Farmers and Fonterra are both pleased that the Commerce Commission has decided it has no basis for a price control inquiry into milk.

However, it’s not ruling out a further inquiry  into how Fonterra sets the price it pays farmers and what it charges other processors.

Sue Chetwin from Consumer is calling for a milk commissioner and  Labour and Green MPs want the Commerce select committee to launch another inquiry.

If they’re doing that, should look at the whole supply chain.

The Commerce Commission report said there was enough retail competition between  two major supermarket chains, dairies, service stations and other retailers.

I’m not so sure about that. Almost everything is more expensive at dairies, service stations and other small retailers. Those are the places you go for emergency supplies, not normal grocery shopping.

That leaves the supermarket duopoly.

It is difficult comparing prices here with those overseas because of the exchange rate and different taxes, but our observation at restaurants and supermarket during our recent trip to the USA and Canada was that food there seemed to be cheaper than it is here.

Some prices in a Walmart in Canada were: beef mince $9.50/kg; T bone $16.22; sirloin $11.10; stir fry $15.06; roast beef $12.06; bacon $10.44; pork tenderloin $10.96; pork chops $8.80.

I don’t have local comparison for these, but a  New Zealand boneless leg  lamb was selling for $14.92/kg  at Walmart, I saw it priced at $29.99/kg at a New World  here yesterday.

A frozen leg of New Zealand lamb was $13.62/kg.

It looked good but beside it were Walmart’s own brand of frozen loin chops selling for $20/kg. The bag was full of ice and had they been a tenth the price we might have contemplated buying them for dog meat.

Eggs were $2.98/dozen; skim milk cost $1.38/litre, full cream milk was $2.77/litre..

Cheddar cheese cost $13.43/kg which, taking the exchange rate into account, wouldn’t be much different form here.

The only thing that was far more expensive – and to our admittedly biased taste buds, not nearly as nice – was ice cream. A small cone cost $5.

Prices recorded at one supermarket and the gut reaction from purchases at other supermarkets and restaurants aren’t much to build a case on.

But our overwhelming impression was that food was cheaper and we wondered how much that had to do with greater competition between supermarkets there in contrast to the duopoly which operates here.

If there’s to be an investigation into food prices it needs to be a thorough one which includes retailers not just producers and processors.


Unit pricing – yes please

13/11/2008

If 700 grams of whatever costs x and 1.3kg costs y which is cheaper?

I stand in the supermarket faced with this equation and go back to school maths classes with trains travelling in opposite directions and different speeds and I know there’s going to be a crash because my mind just goes blank.

Because of that I’m with Consumer magazine which has made a call for retailers to display unit prices.

Buying two packs of 100 teabags could be cheaper than one 200 pack, but it was harder to figure the best deal when comparing such things as 700gm and 1kg blocks of cheese, it said.

Consumer said manufacturers and supermarkets did not make it easy to compare prices and sometimes smaller packs worked out cheaper than large packs or bulk items.

Even if it didn’t save me money, I’d welcome the move as it would free me from from the stress of revisiting those long ago maths lessons.


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