I am so frustrated with this economy. The cost of goods in my area is just getting stupid, out of hand, expensive, and to the point that my dollars are floating away abroad becuase I am finding it necessary to watch my bottom-line. Everything from getting good selections, fair pricing, to poor customer service and online shopping that is convenient and accurate, are causing me to go into consumer withdrawal. Hearing the cries from retailers on the news is just making me sick because it is they who are digging their own graves, as we search beyond to shop with a click of the mouse, or a swipe of the screen. With the Internet, consumers can fight back with the freedom to shop around the world to find what they want, and at better prices. I think it is time that the retailers wake up and smell the money floating way from their cash registers. Well, anyway, I am now at the point where I just do not care any more, my money will go where the deals are: screw the local economy with its taxes, price fixing and lack of selection.
We all know about this evil thing called “Country Pricing.” If you do not know what this is, watch “Market Place,” on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website, and there you will find videos on why Canadians are getting gouged at the till by our retailers. In short, we are absorbing higher prices, while offsetting pricing in the United States, giving them cheaper pricing, only becuase those manufactures feel that Canadians can absorb those costs. The simple solution is to either buy in the U.S., or abroad. Which is where E-Commerce comes into the picture, becuase this tool gives you the consumer the power to find better pricing than what is offered in your own backyard. Sorry, I know your local retailer is crying because they are loosing their shirts with this pricing scheme, and the lack of customers beating down their doors because of this, but the bottom line is that most of this pricing is fixed, and can be corrected, according to the C.B.C. So my solution is to search out the best deals–on-line.
I am finding that most of my purchases for “fun” items like, toys, clothing, electronics, tools, and home hardware, to mention a few are coming from China and India. I used to buy from right here at my local retailer for these items, but with cutbacks, a shrinking wage gap, and taxation, my dollars are getting stretched to the point that I started buying from the U.S., but now their prices are starting to soar causing me to seek deals further abroad. So, the end result are my dollars going directly to overseas countries, and that spending is growing rapidly as the economic climate in Canada seems to be falling flat since the 2006-07 rescission.
If my local retailers want me to come back and shop at their outlets, they then have to treat me with respect. I found a few pet peeves that really turned me off from shopping at their locations.
- A working, up-to-date, website that shows their prices, items, and accurately show what is in stock, or what can ordered if not in stock. What I am finding are stores that seem to give the appearance to having a great website, but when I phone them up, or enter their stores, I often find that they do not anything close to what their website offers. One store I went to, a couple of weeks ago, sold an complete range of items that were not even listed on their website, and as a consequence, I told the store clerk that it was unfortunate because I had just purchases some similar items from on-line (albeit at a cheaper price, but still).
- Lack of good items, or poor selections. This is a big one for me becuase the last thing I need to drive to a hundred stores, a hundred kilometres away, wasting all that fuel, only to find that no one has what I am looking for. Again this boils down to good advertising on websites. If your website does not show what you have, then, you guested it, customers will not find you.
- Scams and B.S. O Kay, this is a wide open area of issues for me, and one that I am not going to spend a whole lot of time on. Everything from warranties, to miss labelled products, I have had problems with. For example, I bought a T.V., last year from a retailer here in Langley City, and discovered that it had been previously used, and had damage on it. When I took it back to the retailer, they totally denied it, and said that this was my fault, but after many phone calls and trips down to their office, I managed to get a replacement. I will never walk into that store, ever again, until the management can prove to me that they have changed – period. What I found is that consumers have little recourse if the retailer is represented with poor policies and performance by its staff. This is were the term “buyer beware” comes into practice. Take heed to customers responses when comments are given, especially on their websites.
- Convenience. This is where the web beats out walking into a store, hands down. I had always thought that in the future, local stores would have a type of online buying that would mean me making the purchase, then in the same day I could pick it up, or they deliver, and I would be happy. Some how, this version of online shopping never took off, at least in Canada. Sure, some stores claim that they do this, but I have nothing in my local area that even comes close to it–that I am aware of. And yes, I will wait the two weeks get my D.V.I. patch cord from China becuase the difference is five times cheaper than it is at the closest Big Box Store to me.
So, you can guess how I spent my hard earned money over this holiday season.