Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

8.2.08

Bureaucrats to rescue 'working families'.

Early one morning, I went into a Safeway supermarket. The regular - small - punnet of strawberries was $4.98.

Then I went to the high street fruit market. The double punnet - 500g - was $2.99. The strawberries were better, smaller, fresher.

I went into Coles. The 50g pack of pine nuts was $2.99, or $59.90 a kilogram. The toasted ones, 50g, were $3.79. That's $16 a kilo just to toast them, on top of your $59.90. Dried apricots, about $45 a kilogram.

I went into the nut shop in the mall. The pine nuts were $24.99 a kilogram - toast them yourself for free - the apricots $23.99.

I went into Safeway again. A pack of flat bread was $1.79 - on special.

I went to the deli. The flat bread - A1 Bakery brand - was 99 cents. It was fresher.

I went back to Coles. The truss tomatoes were $6.99; the Granny Smith apples $5.99 and the the capsicums (green) $4.99.

Back to the fruit market, where the respective prices were $3.99, $2.99 and $2.99. And better quality.

It took me all morning.

Mr Rudd has just announced a government inquiry into supermarket prices to assist his favourite demographic, 'working families' (what, even the children work?).

I think I've just done it, Mr Rudd.

And your inquiry will probably take all year.

So why don't you just send me $250,000 and I'll send you my results.

The hell with $250,000. Send me a million and I'll throw in a powerpoint presentation complete with pictures of ripe fruit and people scratching their heads in supermarkets and pointing at apples and lots of text and big figures all in different font types and sizes, just like your bureaucrats would do.

I'll still be saving you money. After all, you promised to cut government spending, didn't you?

8 comments:

Ed said...

Nice work. Ocean Trout $29 a kilo at Coles; $25 at the expensive prahran market. This has given me an idea for the Hun. Perhaps I should share the spoils.

kitchen hand said...

Go for it, Ed. There's a million examples: delis selling La Fiamma and other brand bean varieties for 79 cents-99 cents; supermarkets charge $1.12-$145. Canned tomatoes as low as 79 cents in delis and markets; supermarkets well over a dollar. On it goes.

Butchers are generally cheaper as well. For some reason, the perception remains that supermarkets are cheaper in these specialist areas, possibly because of their widely advertised loss leader specials. They'll sell a couple of thousand $7.99 chops but more than make it up on the $36.99 fillet. Not that they take the loss, the farm gate does - for volume.

kitchen hand said...

... $1.45 ...

kimbofo said...

This happens here in the UK.

I've just discovered my local organic butcher sells delicious chicken much cheaper than the supermarket giant I usually buy it from. I had always been lead to believe that the stuff in the organic butcher was way too expensive for me! But it's actually a few quid cheaper than Tesco. Guess where I'm buying my organic meat from now on...

Dr. Alice said...

KH, you should absolutely send Mr Rudd your results. Problem is, what happens next? Does the government then mandate lower prices in supermarkets? Price controls are very iffy things.

If there were some way to publicize the better produce and lower prices at farmers' markets... but these days I think people pay for convenience and being able to shop at odd hours like ten p.m. (as I did last night). Besides, I think everybody knows about farmers' markets by now.

I hope you get your $250K though.

kitchen hand said...

Good move, Kimbofo.

Dr. A., I'm sure nothing will happen next, just more posturing about 'working families'.

Julia said...

Just found your blog, love it, especially this post, a subject close to my heart.

Sadly, many people pay for 'convenience'. The supermarkets know this and bump up the price, slapping discount stickers around the aisles to delude people that they are getting the cheapest product. I think (ie, hope) more and more people will wake up to the price and quality factors and start shopping around. Support small businesses!

kitchen hand said...

Julia, I agree - the discount thing is a complete sham.

Thanks for visiting and your kind comment.