Singapore Airlines–you got to be kidding!

imageI went to book a flight on SQ from Brisbane to Jakarta and then on to Singapore. Singapore airlines quoted over $4000 Aussie dollars for that in economy class. Now I know that the airlines all have restrictive trade agreements with travel agents in Australia but really, $4,000? Malaysia Airlines at $700 will definitely get this one!

imageJust to make sure I was not being unfair to Singapore Airlines, I did a flight booking for Brisbane to Singapore only. That was $590. So do I conclude that the cost of travelling an additional 1 hour 40 minutes and return is $3,410?

One more check to be really really fair.

image

So, it seems that for $690 I can travel to Jakarta from Brisbane on Singapore Air. The return flight Jakarta to Singapore is the one costing $3,300. Er, just for interest, I checked the first class flight, Jakarta to Singapore. That was one US $846 so I have no idea where the other $3,000 comes from!

Singapore Air, you may be a great way to fly but your booking system has a wee issue or two

Why Aussie Retailing is Dying

borders OK, you don’t need to be an intellectual genius to work this one out – and this is even worse than the usual issues as this is electronic. The image above is from Borders Australia, for the supply of an eBook (for those of you not familiar with the technology, it is a book in electronic form so its production, storage and delivery costs are negligible at best). OK, Borders Aussie is selling the electronic book for $10.95.

Sony, who I purchased an eBook reader from, sent me their regular note this week and I went and had a look at what was on offer. The screenshot below is from their website.

sony The price for this book, $2.99, was a price set by the publisher, not the bookstore.

OK, so maybe I am being a little unfair here as it is the price charged to Americans and you need a US address ((for the record it is not that hard to get a US address, there are a number of services offering that, including my own bank for that matter)) – however, it is a publisher set price and I for one cannot see why the electronic version in Australia is $8.00 more. Anyway, as a final test and to be totally fair, I went to Amazon dot com and checked the Kindle version. The screenshot below is from Amazon dot com.

amazon I’ll let you draw your own conclusion about this!

Online tax push gains momentum | Retail | GST | Myer | David Jones

Online tax push gains momentum | Retail | GST | Myer | David Jones.

So, basically the Aussie retailers want to ensure that GST is charged on goods purchased overseas online which, at the moment, is GST free if the value is less than AU $1000. They are arguing that the cheaper online shopping is costing them business.

Right.

Let’s see. I can order off the Internet when I want to. I don’t have to just go during shopping hours. When I order something, the online shopping system is polite. Many places have a real person who can take inquiries when you are shopping. It is also designed to be helpful to me. I order the goods, pay for them and generally the delivery charges are reasonable and they deliver to my home as soon as possible.

Compare that to shopping at Myers or Harvey Normans, for example. Walk into a department and stand around looking lost for 10 minutes as Mrs Slocombe talks to one of the other staff about her pussy. Or be unable to ask a question as there is only one staff member on in the department and they have a queue of 6 people to serve at the cash register. Even worse, have to ask a question about some technical gizmo because the store is too ignorant to put complete information next to the gizmo. Then when you buy something, be told that delivery will be next Tuesday as that is when your area is serviced.

I like shopping at Officeworks (who don’t appear to be calling for this change) as I can do my shopping there at 11:00 pm at night, after dinner, when I have time. There are staff there to answer my questions and they can. Bunnings, I can go to after dinner as well for my hardware, certainly up to 9:00 pm week nights. Woolies, Coles, same story.

Here is an example of what the retailers are not saying about their current problems in selling stuff to Aussies over the counter:

Bose QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones – their Australian price $499. That is, the Recommended Retail Price if you buy them in Australia is $499 and that is what most places charge. However, I can source them in the USA for the price of $299.

OK, let’s add the 10% GST on and that makes the international price $329. Add another $20 for shipping and that makes it, hmm, $349. Still $150 cheaper than the price in Oz.

Yep, getting the GST added on is going to make a difference … not!

It’s time the retailers stepped back, looked at their business model and instead of looking for excuses, looked for solutions.

iBookstore Australia Launch: iBookstore Opens In Australia | Apple

Australians can now use ther iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as a serious e-book reader after Apple opened the doors to its iBookstore today via iBookstore Australia Launch: iBookstore Opens In Australia | Apple.

This is what Asher Moses wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald of 3 November 2010. What a dumb statement!

I am Australian. I own an iPod Touch and I have been reading books (seriously) on it for some time now via the Amazon’s Kindle application – an application that is portable across my non-Apple PC, and my non-Apple smartpone as well as the iPod Touch.

The rest of the article goes on to sing the praises of the local service where again, it seems, that Australians will be forced to pay a premium on books – e-books in this case. I suspect this is the industry “protecting” the Australian literary e-industry from nasty foreign incursions and the devastation of competing openly.

Moses notes, on prices, that

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books cost $12.99 each on the iBookstore, compared to $US8.99 on the US version of the iBookstore and $US8.59 on Amazon’s Kindle.

At $4.50 a book difference between iBookstore Oz and Amazon … well, you don’t need to be a brain scientist to work that one out. Hell, I’d like to know with an e-book store how the iBookstore Oz can mark-up the price 45% above the US iBookstore price.

I think I’ll keep using Amazon’s Kindle software at the moment – Kindle and Calibre – my two e-book friends.