We have always been told that consumers should be allowed to decide where they should shop so why don’t we allow consumers to decide whether a supermarket or shopping centre should be built in the first place?
All too often we hear of protracted and costly disputes about whether a major supermarket should be built in a particular town or city. Sadly, these disputes can turn nasty, especially as major supermarkets have shown a tendency to fight local Councils and even residents through the Courts and have spared no expense in doing so.
Then, of course, you have major supermarkets and shopping centres pushing for the biggest possible development they can build. These oversized developments may be far in excess of what’s needed to service the community and usually look like big concrete boxes.
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This week we learned the painful truth that men don’t like to spend too much time in supermarkets.
In a bid to placate their poor, overwhelmed male customers, retail giants like Coles have begun tweaking store layouts so “man-friendly” items can be found at the front of the store.
Apparently, as revealed by The Advertiser, blokes just want to “get in and out as quickly as possible”.
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I had just bought eight large silver balls for the new 2.3 metre (7ft for you who haven’t caught onto metric) Christmas tree when I heard Tim Flannery on the radio warning that we were doomed, again.
What struck me about this report, and all the discussion with climate change specialists and professors who teach this stuff, is the continual use of the word “we”.
Me. It’s me. It’s my fault.
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Are you sick and tired of the big jumps in petrol prices when one petrol retailer pushes up prices and other retailers follow within a few hours or less? Are you annoyed when you buy petrol at one location only to find that it’s much cheaper at the location up the road?
Well, you should be! You are being ripped off! And it happens regularly. Wouldn’t it be great if all motorists had access to all petrol prices in real time through their smartphone? Wouldn’t it also be great if, while you were driving, a smartphone app alerted you to the cheapest petrol price within a one, two or three kilometre radius of your current position?
That would be great because motorists could then have a reasonable chance of finding the cheapest petrol station with the cheapest petrol prices at any particular point in time. There would be no need for motorist to physically travel around to find the cheapest petrol price. The smartphone app would do the searching for the motorist instantaneously. It’s so obvious isn’t it?
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Who is looking after your retirement savings?
Twenty years after the introduction of compulsory superannuation, an alarmingly high proportion of Australians are unable to answer this seemingly simple question.
This week News Limited published rankings of the nations best and worst performing super funds over the past decade, based on their investment return after fees and taxes on their default product.
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Did you feel ripped off this holiday season when you parked your car in the city, at a shopping centre or at the airport when picking up or dropping off loved ones?
If paying inflated petrol prices wasn’t enough, motorists are now also being hit with inflated parking rates when they go shopping or to the airport. Then, of course, there are the CBD parking stations that cost an arm and a leg.
It’s these CBD parking stations that consistently cost motorists dearly as the fees at the CBD parking stations start climbing the moment that boom gate rises to let you in.
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Thanks to the high dollar, Australians have become the world’s most savvy online bargain hunters. Parcels with cheaper DVDs from the US, computer games from Hong Kong and books from Britain now arrive on our shores in the thousands every day.
Australian buyers obviously know how much they can save by shunning domestic retailers for their overseas competitors. Little wonder when, say, Steve Jobs’ biography is selling for $44 in Australia but for the equivalent of just $18 in Britain. Some British online retailers even offer free world-wide shipping.
What most Australians are probably unaware of is how much more they could save if it was possible to buy other goods internationally. Cars for example.
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Well, well, some politicians never cease to amaze us. Just when you thought all was lost with competition law and practice in this country, we have Wayne Swan standing up last week for a more competitive market place by prohibiting the acquisition of ASX Limited (ASX) by Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX).
That was very good decision and needs to be applauded. Now ,Swan has let the side down in the past by allowing bank mergers to go ahead - thereby destroying competition in the banking sector. But on the ASX and SGX deal he certainly did the right thing.
Of course, big end of town interests and their advisers and other supporters will criticise Swan, but such criticism needs to be dismissed for the simple reason that those big end of town supporters have an obvious vested interest in more mergers and acquisitions.
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