A Very Pukka Cuppa

I’d been shopping at Ion Orchard In Singapore. It was just before Christmas after all and I was feeling a little flagged so I stopped into the TWG Tea Salon and Boutique in Ion Orchard for a pot of that wonderfully refreshing brew. Feeling a little peckish, a scone with jam/jelly and clotted cream was also ordered.

Whilst the TWG Tea Salon was only established in 2008 (it is a Singapore company) the decor, service, tea and scones were very Victorian in flavour and appearance. Tea and scones was about $20 and whilst expensive, it is a lovely spot for people watching and it is a very pukka cuppa.

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.


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.

Chicken Wars

“It’s the chickens Mulloes … they don’t like it up ’em” or similar words came from Jack Africa, one of Doug Mulray’s morning radio show character voices from many years ago. I saw Chicken Wars on Christmas Eve.

We’d been to Coffs Harbour with Mum to buy her the surprise Christmas present of Mamma Mia (and more of that later) and were currently on our way back to her place. We stopped at Woolworth’s at Nambucca Heads for the rest of the makings for Christmas lunch (Thomo was cooking and therefore looking for an easyoption or two). As we walked through theFruit and Vegetable section of the Supermarket we noticed that there were no barbecued chickens. None in the hot food keepers or the big display case. There were, however, many birds rotating in the big chicken cooker.

We shopped.

As we had everything Mum said she was going back to the chicken counter to see if the chickens were cooked as she wanted one for Toby. They were cooked and being unloaded to the display case. There was also a rugby scrum of about 20 people wanting chickens. Elbows and shoulders were being used to great effect and more than once was heard, loudly, the expression “I think I was next!”

The classic line came from one woman however who, after managing to shoulder herself to the front of the scrum, got her chicken fresh from the roaster and exclaimed “goodness – it’s so hot!”

Well hello – what do you expect – it was straight from the Roaster after all!

Seems the Co-op Supermarket in Macksville ran out of hams and had to phone around the region to see if they could beg, borrow or steal more. They had also ordered 300 chickens for Christmas Eve – not bad for a town of 7000 people.

Oh, and yes, we got Toby’s chicken as well – although no chicken wings as both Nambucca Heads and Macksville had sold out of them.