Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

August 19th 2012
Letter: Online shopping costs to the local community

Dear Editor, We receive Imparja TV & often have commercials about the need to support “Local Community Businesses”. As a resident I am concerned about the trend of online grocery shopping and the consequential effects to this wonderful community unless this practice reverses.

I am primarily talking about everyday household food lines, which are supplied through the two supermarkets on Magnetic Island and two other Convenience stores. Everyone probably shops online for various items & it is a convenient method of having goods delivered. I am not discussing my own challenges as a Pharmacy business owner nor wish to in this forum. If anyone wishes to make comment about the Pharmacy, I am happy to receive him or her through my channels, not the media.

My questions to those who primarily use Coles (C) or Woolworths (W) online or in Townsville are these.

1.Q. Who does C or W employ from Magnetic Island? A. No one or negligible.

2.Q. What MI Community events does C or W sponsor? A. School vouchers, how many million do we need to redeem?

3.Q. Which MI Fundraisers do C or W support on MI? A. None. Only Corporate media catching events.

4.Q. Which other business on MI benefit from C or W online deliveries? A. The barge x 1 truck x 2-3 deliveries per week? The driver maybe buying a pie & coke, ironically from one of the supermarkets.

5.Q. Which sports team does C or W support on MI? A. None

6.Q. Who stands to benefit from the juggernauts C & W? A. Shareholders only & their staff, maybe if they keep register staff!

7.Q. Who sells the most alcohol, cigarettes in Australia & owns pokies? A. C & W

8.Q. Who employs your teenage children looking for part-time jobs on MI? A. Not C or W.

9.Q. Who is tired of being asked for support on MI but not been supported themselves as businesses? A. Not C or W

10. Q. Who has experienced MI without a supermarket or other services? A. People who lived here > 20 years ago.

Now I am sure people will tell me it is expensive to feed families on MI especially with teenagers, which I have to look forward to. However, both supermarkets provide good specials, good quality meats, do free home delivery and you can even order online if that is your style of shopping. The convenience stores bend over backwards to help us & provide quality products.

I know other families who have survived, shopping local, feeding teenagers and enjoying our great quality of life.

First it was the butcher, then the baker, what next? Anyone sell candlesticks?

Please reconsider whom you support because I know business owners have to carefully think about their costs, stock variety and also ability to employ and sponsor. Ultimately the support we have benefited from businesses may disappear. How will property prices go with services disappearing? Can you afford to risk this?

Just recently I purchased a heap of material from the Hardware for a kids' fort. I was helped with the costing and eventual materials, which were delivered free of charge.
Personal service I never would’ve got in town, nor the convenience. Give the locals a go; you will be pleasantly satisfied with Service

Alan Patterson

Letter: Online shopping costs to the local community
August 19th 2012
Sorry Alan but on some of your comments I must disagree, the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables at the 2 supermarkets on the island are NOT fresh at the most it will survive for 2 days after buying (not everybody can shop every 2/3 days) and the quality of the meat leaves a lot to be desired. I applaude the Arcadia for their fresh goods at a competetive price but I for one will continue to shop onlin
August 19th 2012
I totally agree with what Alan is saying. If you can't support our local businesses what hope is there. If you dont support one day you just may wake up and they all will be gone.
Wendy Tubman
August 19th 2012
Yep, with you Alan.
Nelly Bay
August 19th 2012
I'll support the local supermarkets when they price themselves back into the market, the fruit and veg at IGA is revolting, i gave up yrs ago. I work on the mainland (who would have thought) and will continue to support W, i try to avoid the island S/M's as much as possible. Alison, i might wake up one day and "they" will be all gone, so what? Alan, sorry mate, my wallet talks the loudest, i can consistently buy more for less at C or W... Will C and W drive everyone else out of business leaving only C and W to then jack up their prices...? Most likely...
August 19th 2012
I too agree with Alan.My husband does all the shopping - saves stacks on ' specials " and as two old age pensioners we have no complaints. He does enjoy his shopping and meeting Island people.
August 19th 2012
I shop online for a lot of day to day household goods - and those I can't get on the island. There are also other fresh ingredients I can't get on the island.

While I do shop onlne for stapples, staff at Foodworks and IGA will attest to the fact that I also shop on the island on a mostly daily basis.

I support local businesses and for the main part it is Food Works for day to day goods (this is due to to the lovely staff and owners).

I would also like to say that the Arcadia Store has some of the best priced and freshest ingredients available. As well as beautiful different ingredients; they have amazing bread from 3 loaves on Friday and Saturday.

I buy locally almost every day but I also buy online.

Alan Patterson
August 19th 2012
@M Trenarryray2. Thank you for entering the discussion. I guess tastes are subjective. Have you retried lately? We only buy fruit & veg on the Island. We refrigerate most like most NQ's. We do not experience the "going off" you suggest & only buy weekly.
Now doubt you all have heard how C & W are squeezing the farmers! So "Nelly Bay" your "wallet talks loudest". Pity your wallet doesn't have a name! I disagree, I think if you watch what you buy you don't necessarily save that much. I tried online once & gotta say it was not that great! C & W have great loss leaders, but once in store they grab your money as much as the next retailer. Move to central Australia if you want to experience limited choices & services.
Alan Patterson
August 19th 2012
Oh "Nelly Bay" my wallet only person! "Who Cares" . I do! So do the people who work in these S/M's. Maybe you can look them in the eye & tell them you don't care about their job. Look their kids in the eye while you are at it.
Remember it is only money talking right?
Nelly Bay
August 19th 2012
Oh boy, Alan calm down. "Move to Central Australia if you want to experience limited choice and services"... Why would i need to do that, i live on Magnetic Island, i experienced limited shopping experiences everyday, thats why i started to pick up my groceries after work in TSV city. You have immediately assumed that i must experience great customer service and am also happy parting with my hard earned at W and C, i'm not, SOME of the kids that work there (C and W) have the personality of a milkshake which leaves me wondering sometimes how they deserve their job when there would be plenty of hardworking kids who would jump at the chance to work. Remember this discussion is only about groceries right? Did you stop to think i buy most other things "local" before heading over to the dreaded mainland? Of course it is money talking, i thought i had made that reasonably obvious. If i had enough extra disposable income i would be happy to pay an extra 30-40+% just on my weekly shopping bill. Should i take up break and enter as a hobby or maybe pawn some goods so i can do my weekly shop here? In fact with the recent ferry ticket price rise i am contemplating moving back over to the mainland, i know you would be ecstatic with that news, i'll let you know if that happens. But would you be equally ecstatic to learn that my family and friends who come up from Adelaide almost each christmas (and some at least once during the winter at some point) wouldn't bother to come over if i didnt live here? They buy everything "local" when on holidays here, buy big they do too. I bet Jessica Johnstone from the TSV Bulletin fired you up as well... Last time i checked i lived in a democracy, i've had my say like you have had yours.
Alan Patterson
August 19th 2012
Dear Nelly Bay
I am calm. My point was if you personally like that there may not be services then "Central Australia" would be an example of what happens when services disappear.
No I don't want you to move & am glad your family visits. Hopefully they have a great Island experience.
Obviously the local services don't suit everyone, all the time. You made that clear in your situation.
My appeal is for people to reconsider what they support because once services go, jobs & sponsorships do aswell.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, pity you couldn't put your name with yours.
I don't even know what you are referring to with regard to the Townsville Bulletin.
This letter comes because of my concern for the community at large. I am putting my name down as someone who does care before job loses & the cry of those who complain "there is nothing on Magnetic Island"
Good luck with your choices!
Jan K
August 20th 2012
We shop locally and online. But the majority is online as the prices here are too much. We are self funded retirees and I don't think IGA honour the scanning code of practice.
Very Concerned
August 23rd 2012
There is something happening in IGA and Foodworks that is more worrying than expensive groceries - but I'll get to that in a minute.
First, I do support locals as much as possible, many times a week. I also shop online and travel to the mainland for supplies.I do understand the difficulties of running a business - been there.
Now that's out of the way I'll get back to the big worry.
Over the past 5 weeks I have been overcharged $24 at Foodworks and at IGA! This has been happening for some time but the past few weeks have been the worst. I check my dockets every time I make a purchase from any shop.
I wonder if this is an island phenomenon? I've never experienced this to such a degree anywhere else and I know other locals who have the same problem.
I suggest these two businesses train their staff a lot more efficiently. What do you think, Alan? (abridged Ed.)
Alan Patterson
August 22nd 2012
I have to say I am surprised not one person has refuted my 10 points by online C & W shoppers.
Nor has anyone answered the question "How will property prices go with services disappearing? Can you afford to risk this?"
I didn't post this letter to bash businesses online. I would hope people extend complaints to management courteously. I am not interested in "why" you support C or W, choice & the perception or reality of price is obvious.
My question was if you "online" shoppers are happy to see sport sponsorship, jobs & service disappear!
Only "Nelly Bay" said they didn't "care" if services disappeared. Judging by the next response they were probably "trolling" for a reaction. I might respect their opinion if they had self-respect to leave a name!
Apparently this letter has caused a stir. Good. I remember the days when people complained there was only 1 supermarket & complained. Has anyone thought what happens to 30-40 jobs disappearing from 1 supermarket? What about the transport deliveries & jobs there? What goes around comes around, that is for sure.
C or W pay $265 return to bring a truck over here. The cost of these deliveries paid by you the consumer on a sliding scale dependent on how much you spend. You are subsidising their free ride! Do they pay rent here? NO
If two pensioners "Shirley & Alan" can enjoy local shopping, I put the challenge back out there that most of us can too!
As a business owner I will be asking more questions when I get asked for donations or support. If you are not as an organisation prepared to support Island business then I don't see why the support should be reciprocated.
I think we have a great community, one which has great achievements. I just want people to reconsider the "costs" to our community.
August 20th 2012
I believe it is like everything we are told in life and that it all comes down to moderation ! Everybody can't afford to shop on the island 100 per cent of the time and everybody that shops online still shops on the island too!
August 20th 2012
Yes I have tried lately and still standby what I said previously, I am retired and I did not retire to 'make do' both on quality and variety I will continue as said before to buy online
August 22nd 2012
I buy online especially when I have a big bulky order as it suits my budget for a start. Oi I wish Coles or Woolworths did deliver booze with my order but other companies do that as well. I also pop into IGA and FW's when on a small shop. Fair enough if they have decent specials but half the time what is on special isn't what I would buy in the first place. I support other island businesses so it all comes out in the wash.
August 25th 2012
I believe that both the supermarkets on the island and C and W serve a great purpose - it is not black and white. Foodworks and IGA are indespensable - they do provide a great service to many who live on and visit this island, and we shop at their shops regularly for bits and pieces, we would be lost without them. On the other hand, having a large family, we simply cannot afford to shop on the island - we have a food budget - and cannot afford $100 for a couple of bags of food. I have also been caught out just about every time we buy vegetables - getting them home and finding out that they have been packaged to look fresh but are actually off - it makes me very cranky - I might as well just throw my money in the bin!I am very thankful that we have C and W, and actually think that it increases property prices Alan - we live on a tropical island and have great services - we should be grateful - there is room for both. I have owned a small business in a small community before, and the community will support you if you provide similar prices to the big guys and great service.
August 27th 2012
Dear Very Concerned
What do I think about register mistakes? They are mistakes. I hear from online shoppers they have "mistakes" too! Everyone makes them. Check your docket & speak to management. If they "undercharge" you, I am sure you would do the same.
August 29th 2012
Alan ,I shop "locally" last time I heard we are a Townsville suburb. As for property values decreasing, ask a real estate agent, I did and they think it fantastic that we now have Woollies and Coles on the Island, great to promote the resale of houses, no more making do! always able to get what we want when we want. It's not about shopping locally anymore Alan, the internet has seen to that, it's about business' moving with and keeping up with the internet. Your chemist business has the same problem, people are buying pharmaceuticals online ,nothing you can do about it but join in, place your pharmacy online ,match the internet prices and watch your business grow, before you say what about the staff, someone has to fill online orders, pack and send, we are just rearranging retail shopping. Also have you asked the post office what they think, they are benefiting 100 fold from internet sales through their deliveries. This is not about Woollies and Coles delivering to the island, this is about the internet revolution....just like Mr Hirst here, he saw the internet for what it was way before anyone else. Also Foodworks, Nelly Bay online store needs to be brought into the 21st century for them to stand any chance competing with W&C
August 29th 2012
Oh by the way Alan the butcher was cut by the very supermarket you are trying to defend!!!!!
The Baker was not a fatality of C&W
August 29th 2012
Better to do without than accept second rate 'rip off' prices.
August 29th 2012
Thanks for your comments Bryan. I agree with you about the Internet age and take your point. Foodworks provides online shopping & free delivery. My concern for propery prices is based on regional towns when services disappear. Good answer though, who else better to talk to about property prices than the real estate agents. No offence to my friends in real estate, but they they will always look for that silver lining & saying C & W do home delivery just makes the sales pitch better. As for FW competing against C & W or anyone else for that matter, seriously. Predatory prices, 80% market share, intimidatory pricing pressures on farmers but the consumer doesn't care as long as they get their milk for $1 per litre. I am standing up for local business, not particularly supermarkets. I understand the new supermarket put pressure on the butcher. I wish he was still here. I made a point of buying meat from him. I wish the baker was still here too, I understand there can be a host of reasons why a business goes. However, I don't want to see anymore go, nor people leave the Island because they lose jobs. What the post office has lost on mail they pick up now by online sales. My argument was not against online purchasing, just at the expense of Island business, jobs, sponsorships etc. what does C & W contribute to this community other than people/families having the perception of not paying as much or the reality of it in their own pocket? Don't complain when the local supermarket pulls it's sponsorship from the local AFL team because little Johnnie's family dowsn't support them! Just a hypothetical, no inside info at all.
August 30th 2012
Another issue is resale of businesses. My understanding with the bakery, it closed down because it did not sell!
Services disappearing makes it harder for other Island businesses.
Secondly, C & W online supporters. Tell me how you will order & receive your groceries in the event of a natural disaster like Yasi? No power. No phone. No mobile coverage. No local services. Do you really expect C & W to come to the rescue? Maybe some army amphibous landing with your online groceries!
August 30th 2012
Alan , times are a changing and we all have to move with the times even IGA and Foodworks. They are both from the same umbrella company surely they could consolidate and make their prices reasonable and competitive . Also it's most of little "Johnnie's" family doing all the online grocery shopping, so maybe signage around the 2 big shopping stores plus your own store indicating that sponsorship is in jeopardy due to lack of patronage. I have had an argument with a friend about this very thing and she said that she pops in to IGA for emergency staples before her next W order. She has no idea and cares even less that her 2 bit purchases won't keep a big shop like IGA afloat. Another friend stated that if IGA or Foodworks close than something else will pop up. All these big stores initially closed all the corner stores, maybe we are now heading back to smaller corner shops on the island for emergency supplies only, once these big grocery stores close on the island. You can even do bulk groceryrun online and they send it to you for a cap of $11 freight charge from Sydney and these food prices are extremely cheap and it's capped at $11 doesn't matter how much you buy. Also Mr Hirst is advertising to your left bedsonline, absolutely everything is going online why not groceries. It just doesn't wash anymore about supporting your local business' , these said business if they want to be in today's market need to be competitive to stay in the game . I have seen so many people buying alcohol from Dan Murphys (me included) even the restaurants don't support the local bottlos, they go to Dans or buy their wine online. I could go on and on but the truth is that if it's too expensive people are not going to buy or patronage that store regardless of loyalty. I think the only ones that are on your side are the singles/couples that don't have to buy bulk and of course you. Sorry mate to be so brutal, you're wasting your breath trying to argue this issue but very commendable that you care.
August 30th 2012
Thanks for your last comment Bryan. This is my last. I have put it out there. People can choose to discuss, agree, disagree or ignore. I don't think it was a waste of time, maybe more people will consider what they support has a flow on effect. Thank you to all the people who have been supportive of this letter to me in person. It has been encouraging & far out weighs the negative comments.
One thing that stops online services is power outs. Hopefully there will be services in the "future" on this wonderful Island & I am wrong. I'd rather that than people being unemployed and support for local organizations to continue.
Nobody has told me though "how does C or W" support this community at large?" Some say it is their hip pocket, some choice, but how do we all benefit?
I enjoy shopping locally, I know I can get what I want & if not the helpful staff are willing to organize it for me. I like knowing their names and seeing the local teens grow in confidence & experience. I do prefer the service offered locally.
Good luck with your choices.
August 30th 2012
Sorry Alan didn't see to reply to,

".......Secondly, C & W online supporters. Tell me how you will order & receive your groceries in the event of a natural disaster like Yasi? No power. No phone. No mobile coverage. No local services........"
you're just clutching at straws here, if and when the Island is hit by a natural disaster the whole of Australia will pull together and give us aid, we won't need to order from C&W because undoubtedly they would have had the same disaster as Maggie in Townsville . You're right about the army, at least they have loads of those amphibious ducks ,that's why I knew we would never be isolated, regardless of any disasters, that's called progress.

Another good point you've just brought up about being isolated after a disaster is a cyclone disaster kit. For goodness sake everyone have lots of food staples in your cyclone kit so IF a disaster does occur it's not desperate and you'll lose those excess kilos that you needed to lose in the first place but you won't starve, I have never heard of a fatality from starving after a natural disaster, in Australia, in fact the opposite is the case, in Yasi we had so much food because we had to eat all the contents of the fridge - freezer. Our street on the second day had a combined BBQ where we all pulled out our BBQ's if we had one and fried up big, we all pulled together and shared. I never even thought to run to IGA or Foodworks for supplies , never even crossed my mind.

Other Island business will do fine, they will adapt as we all have to when things change, in an ever changing world.
Very Concerned
September 2nd 2012
After reading the ongoing conversation regarding small versus big businesses, the conclusion seems that we all try to do our best supporting local shops etc.
Alan, I think you have to be philosophical about this. I would be very happy to only shop locally. How pleasant it is, as you say, to know the staff, stop for a chat,and not have the huge amounts of time and drudgery shopping on the mainland.
Some of us do not have the income that gives us that choice - that's the essence of the problem, I think.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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