Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The ethical - and peculiar - shopper


Picture: Sasha Woolley, The Age

I do my best - and have done for forty years - to be an ethical shopper. I take time in front of the shelves to read labels. I boycott for all sorts of reasons - animal welfare, political reasons like apartheid and nuclear testing in the Pacific - and I am an unashamedly Buy Australian shopper with a strong preference for Product of Australia rather than Made in Australia.

Food labelling that a consumer finds sufficient and informative is a hot potato in Australia. The consumer's adversary in getting good labelling can be found here.

But back to my main reason for this post, this article.

I am not only an ethical shopper. I think I am a peculiar shopper. I am at the stage where I loath going into Coles and Woolworths because of all the stuff going on which is peripheral to my grocery shopping purpose.

Do you have FlyBys? No. I don't tell the check-out person what I really feel. Coles, you are not offering enough points for me to allow you to breach my privacy and link up all my purchasing information to your database.

And I wish Woolworths would stick to its task as Australia's largest food distributor instead of trying to sell credit as well. There are times when I walk the aisles feeling like I am being stalked by a money-grabbing predator.

My preferred supermarket is Maxi - not enough of their stores and they are only in Melbourne. But, if they ever grow up to be big, I hope they don't learn the bad habits of the majors.

In the meantime, a cost-conscious shopper like me asks:
If supermarkets want to get the consumer in their door, why not try getting rid of the all the frills which add to costs and show us no-frills prices without the sleazy consumer manipulation surrounding some of their house brands and provide us with good old fashioned service.

The last is a big ask because we moved to supermarkets from behind-the-counter shelves and grocers complete with home delivery.



I used to have a grocer who came to your house and took grocery your order and then went away and brought it back. A boon for the ill, the housebound, and young mums with kids.

But then, when supermarkets were first established aeons ago in the USA, the whole purpose was to forego the service!

So Coles can offer frequent flyers and Woolworths easy credit -
but this peculiar shopper is not interested.
I want simplicity - in price and service and marketing.
racism-free

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