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Grocery Watch

August 5th, 2008 at 08:54pm

Good evening Stuart,

I see that the ACCC have decided that their amazing solution to everything, a website with a list of prices, would be a good idea to keep the supermarkets in line.

For petrol I can almost understand it because it’s a very small number of products which can easily be compared between outlets…I don’t, however, see how “grocery watch” is going to have any chance of succeeding when each supermarket has thousands upon thousands of products. The only way that such a website would work is if either the supermarkets are required to report their prices each day which would take a bit of work, especially for smaller outlets who might want to have some discounts during the afternoon, or if the ACCC were to pay people to walk around each store every day noting the prices on a portable computer which reports back to the website.

Having the supermarkets do it would mean that they need to spend more time monitoring their own prices, a cost which would effectively be passed on to consumers, and having the ACCC run the monitoring operation would require a massive increase in their budget, which would get passed on to us as an increase in taxes. Ultimately, for the website to work, our cost of living would have to go up…it hardly seems worth it to me.

As for mandatory unit pricing…well that idea has been floating around for ages…it’s nice to see that the ACCC know how to take credit for an idea though.

Enjoy your night!

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

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August 2008

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