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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Countdown to oblivion (supermarket stuff)

26 March 2020

How can the government declare a state of emergency? Facebook is still up!

As I write this we're just 6 hours into the big 2020 lock-down but there has been a steady stream of cars passing by my house since I got up several hours ago.

There have also been a spate of burglaries around the town so at least some groups within society seem to think that this lockdown doesn't apply to them. Let's hope that the powers granted by the "state of emergency" allow police to meter out some rapid "justice" to anyone caught looting or endanger the lives of others while the rest of us are stuck in our homes.

Right now, I'm feeling like a bit of a victim myself to be honest.

I've already mentioned the injustice of ISPs removing data-caps for those on low-cost plans, effectively meaning that I pay twice as much as them for what is now exactly the same service.

And now, if I'm informed correctly, the same will apply to Netflix.

It seems that paying for the HD version of Netflix will soon (if not already) only get you the SD version. Are they going to discount my bill to the SD cost? If not, I'll be pretty pissed off.

Then there is Countdown...

Apparently they're trying to convince us that they're doing the right thing by discontinuing their specials over this trying period of time. We're being told that it would be unfair for them to advertise specials that, due to high demand, may not actually be available in the shops when you get there.

Hang on Countdown, that doesn't seem to bother you any other time -- when I roll up to buy one of your advertised specials only to find the shelf bare.

They're also claiming that the logistics of repricing stock would take up too much staff time.

Excuse me... you have heard of computers and barcodes haven't you?? Nobody's going to bitch if they get a better deal at the checkout than the price listed on the shelf so just leave the shelf stickers alone but update the SKUs in your point-of-sale system eh?

And if all of these are insurmountable problems then how is it that New World seems able to continue offering discounted prices on chosen lines -- inspite of the other challenges they face at this time?

The reality is that, despite denials, Countdown (in my honest opinion) are gouging customers because they can.

The laws of supply and demand have kicked in and Countdown see absolutely no reason to reduce prices when they're able to sell everything on their shelves.

Bugger the poor people who rely heavily on discounted specials to make ends meet during their weekly shop. Oh no, corporate greed trumps any concerns that Countdown may have for the greater good of the community.

If Countdown can't manage the logistics of product-specific discounts, how about they simply, to show their compassion and connection to the community, offer a small but important discount right across the board. How about a 5% discount at the till on every total?

Given the huge profits they're making right now, that would likely have little impact on their massive bottom line for this quarter but it would show empathy and a social conscience.

Fat chance!

And while they're at it, I honestly think that those who serve on the checkouts of our supermarkets should be getting a bonus in the form of "danger money". Hell, there are plenty of other far less dangerous jobs that get such a top-up to acknowledge the risks involved so why not these people? If anyone's right in the firing-line for infection, it is the checkout operator who has to interact with hundreds of people every day -- any of who could be carrying the COVID-19 virus.

I certainly hope that Kiwis have long memories and that Countdown will become a no-go-zone for those who may currently have no option but who are less than impressed with the profiteering that we're seeing right now.

Your thoughts... do I have this all wrong?

Or are our cobbers from across the ditch screwing the snot out of the poorest Kiwis at a time when we should all be helping each other to the best of our abilities?

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