Life’s a Bitch for Gerry Harvey6 January 2011
Retailers in Oz are feeling the pinch, apparently. And why is this? They’re laying the blame squarely at the feet of we financial and computer-savvy people who buy goods from overseas because we don’t have to pay GST on purchases under $1000. So I buy 4 books from the USA for $108 plus postage. Without this facility I would have had to pay well over $200 from an Australian supplier. Asking me to pay a 10% tax on the import wouldn’t have deterred me in any way as I’m perfectly capable of calculating that I would still be a lot better off. As someone pointed out in the paper today, when a particular TV costs $400 in the USA and $1000 in Oz, the GST doesn’t really enter into it.
Adding GST won’t benefit the retailers – just the Government. But I’m not even sure about that as the cost of collecting it would be enormous.
We’re just doing what the retailers have been doing for ages – sourcing goods from the cheapest possible place. They have had no qualms about putting Australian companies (small retailers and manufacturers) out of business while they imported vast quantities from China but now we can all do this, they’re squawking.
I’ve no idea what some of these companies feel is a reasonable mark up but, as a friend of mine pointed out, a magazine with a cover price of US$6.99 is being sold here with a cover price of AU$20.95 – and the AU$ is at parity with the US$. One of the big names behind this campaign, Harvey Norman, last declared a profit of $232 million, an increase of 8% on the previous year, and their profit for the last quarter declared (September 2010) was $77.7 million. Gerry Harvey himself declared an income of $738,000. Forgive us if we’re not able to give him the commiseration he feels is his due.
I would advise anyone who would prefer to buy from a bricks and mortar shop locally to haggle. We recently bought a new television and David told the salesman what price he had found on the internet – so they immediately reduced the price by that amount. He also haggles with credit card companies and had the interest on one card reduced by HALF – he still threw the card away incidentally but it did show that most costs are negotiable.