It was love at first swipe. I still remember the first time I held a gleaming iPhone in my hands. The smooth surface. The shiny cover. The high-resolution display. The awe-inspiring idea that the entire bank of human knowledge - from the bible to Wikipedia - resided in my palm.
Today, I am a woman scorned. A woman betrayed. A woman who has fallen out of love with her iPhone. Why?
Quite simply, Apple is ripping me (and you) off blind. And it’s all completely legal. Aussies regularly pay twice what Americans pay for identical IT products, including devices, downloads, software and games.
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Australia still has the haves and the have-nots, but more people now see themselves in the ‘have not’ camp. How else can you explain the hue and cry over cost-of-living pressures when Australia is, by all objective accounts, doing quite well? Are we becoming a nation of ‘must haves’?
Another report out today makes clear the blindingly obvious fact that prices will almost always go up, and it’s their relationship to incomes that matter – and on that front, the average Australian household has more disposable income than ever before.
The AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report says the average Australian family is better of by $224 a week in real terms. You can read the full report here.
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Tailgating a fussy grocery shopper is a bit like watching porn. All that squeezing, rubbing and sniffing of the stone fruit and the long, fawning glances at the root vegetables. It’s enough to make you grow your own. Or shop at midnight.
Unfortunately for those of us put off by “touch-feely shoppers”, things are about to get worse. Cue Woolworths new “try before you buy” policy on fresh produce, with Coles expected to followed suit.
Woolworths says their policy is aimed at boosting the “quality of their fresh foods”, but to the shopping weary it’s just another chapter in the “great Australian supermarket wars”. A tiresome battle between our major food suppliers with scant regard for what we actually want from our grocery chains.
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With Australia continuing to have some of the fastest growing food prices in the developed world, you have to wonder if Australian consumers are being milked by the major supermarket chains.
After all, Coles and Woolworths control over 87% of Australian supermarkets over 2,000 square metres. That clearly gives them plenty of market power which allows them to push up grocery prices and hence Australia’s food inflation.
Sometimes, however, they keep us guessing about their real agenda. So while we are hearing a lot about fresh milk prices coming down, we don’t hear much about what’s happening with other prices being charged elsewhere in the supermarket or at petrol bowsers linked to Coles or Woolworths.
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Have you been getting excited at the rise of the Aussie dollar? Well, you should be. Of course, those planning an overseas trip will be particularly excited. A strong Aussie dollar gets you more foreign currency to spend on that overseas holiday. The benefits of a stronger Aussie dollar, however, should not stop there.
All Australian consumers should be getting excited as the Aussie dollar surges upwards. Why? For the simple reason that all imported products should now be much cheaper.
The economics is simple. Just like a strong Aussie dollar buys you more foreign currency when you go overseas, a strong Aussie dollar means importers can ordinarily buy foreign products at effectively lower prices.
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