Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For those of you doing your shopping at Shell

"Service station convenience comes at cost," says the Herald on page A5. An "unscientific survey" has discovered that it's almost certainly cheaper to do your weekly shop at a supermarket rather than a service station.

Convenience or low prices?

That's the choice you have to make when you choose your local service station over the supermarket.

An unscientific survey conducted by the Herald yesterday showed that buying grocery items from the local supermarket could save you about a quarter of your bill.

A purchase of eight items, including milk, bread and toilet paper, revealed savings of $11.13 if customers took the time to go to the supermarket.

Other places that are more expensive than a supermarket:
  • the local dairy
  • going door to door offering people cash for the food in their cupboards
  • Tokyo
On the other hand, it is considerably more difficult to fill up your petrol tank at the supermarket, so it's not just one way.

But Bev Frederikson, who conducts supermarket surveys for Consumer NZ, said service stations were not doing anything to mislead consumers.

[...] The bargaining power of the supermarkets was greater than that of smaller service stations and they could get better deals from suppliers.

Ms Frederikson said the fact that supermarkets were selling a broader range of products in greater volumes than service stations also meant that they could afford to make less profit on each item - in some cases selling "loss leader" items at less than cost to draw people in.

So... no story here then. It's as if a Herald reporter went to a service station, worked out they were paying more than at the supermarket, and decided this was an outrage. By the time someone sat them down and patiently explained that there was nothing interesting about this discovery whatsoever, it was too close to deadline to come up with anything else.

But at least we get to hear from industry types on the social role performed by our duopolistic supermarket chains:
Murray Jordan, general manager retail sales and performance for Foodstuffs Auckland, which owns the New World stores, said supermarket owner-operators were focused on offering customers a "great range of fresh foods and grocery products and a high level of customer service for a good price".
What a nice guy.


  1. Sounds like one tricksy journo just figured out how to get the boss to pay for her shopping.

    Foodstuffs Auckland, which owns the New World stores

    I suppose if I'd never left Freeman's Bay I might not know about Pak n Save or 4 Square either.

  2. In tomorrow's Herald: Bart Simpson voiced by a girl!

  3. You mean I shouldn't be doing my fortnightly shop at Shell?

    Who knew?

  4. I also just noticed that it's cheaper to pick up my pizza than to get it delivered!

    I wonder if this is somehow related.

  5. Oh and is this article an example of what Don Brash said about the media keeping voters both venal and ignorant?

  6. You can get petrol at Henderson pak'n'save. Probably other pak'n'save locations as well.

  7. You forgot to mention part 2 of the article.

    "The Herald unscientifically discover Supermarkets overcharging for free grown food"

  8. "For example, currently in our Connect stores we have a bread offer of three loaves for $4.99 and a milk offer of two 2-litre bottles for $5.99."

    Y'know, you'd think that the reporter would have deployed some bleeding ellipses and clipped out this particular blatant bid for free advertising from the story... but, no.

  9. In Britain, supermarket chains such as Tesco have grabbed large shares of the market for petrol. After all, supermarket gotta have a car park... it doesn't take that much imagination to add a filling station to it.

  10. I'm just wondering why they didnt also add "People who 'shop' at Petrol stations for groceries stupid and fat!". Or is that tomorrow's headline news?

  11. I bought a packet of disposable hankies in a BP the other day. Next day I was in New World and they were 35c less.

    Where was the Herald when I needed them to crusade for me? Nowhere in sight. Bastards.

  12. From the same Herald hack who brought us 'ooh, isn't it pricey in a petrol station'...


    I think there's a pattern forming, of NZH coffee room smalltalk becoming immortalised in print. Must be a slow news geological era.