A blighted future – The price of an apple



Metropolis- Maria-children of the poor


Sometimes, the most innocuous events bring you up hard against the realities of our modern life…

On the way home today (30 July) I stopped briefly at a supermarket to purchase a few items that we’d run out of at home.

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Having found the half dozen items I needed, I waited patiently in the queue at the checkout. My mind was elsewhere – mostly pondering events at the anti-animal testing rally I had covered earlier in the day.

The woman in front of me paid for her goods and walked off.

As I moved to the eftpos terminal to pay for my items, I noticed an apple had been left in the trolley, and alerted the checkout operator that the customer had forgotten to take it with her. The operator took the apple and placed it beside her monitor-screen and said,

“No, she left it. She couldn’t pay for it.”

I hadn’t realised. I’d been so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I had not noticed the incident (otherwise I would have happily paid for it myself). The checkout operator said that in the past she had often paid for shortfalls where people were obviously on low or fixed incomes, but she could no longer afford to do it.

On the low wage that many checkout operators earn, it is tragic that the poorest paid are trying to help those who are even worse of financially.

I took a cellphone pic of the apple, sitting by the operators monitor,


apple at supermarket


When peoples incomes are so stretched that they have to forego something as basic as one single apple, then we have arrived at a sorry state of affairs.

Is this to be  our “Bright New Future”? Or have we arrived at it, already?

And is this what people expected of our smile and wave Prime Minister?

Meanwhile, the NBR released it’s 2013 Rich List…


rich list 2013



= fs =


  1. An apple may be an example for problems of afford-ability of food, same as how poor and struggling consumers may make decisions to not buy such a healthy good, simply due to lack of income.

    Yes, the income and wealth disparity in New Zealand is disgustingly bad and deserves condemnation, same as similar situations deserve in other countries.

    What has besides of that also always generated my ire here in New Zealand is the fact, that so many common agricultural goods here cost more than in many other developed countries, be this in Europe, North America or some other places. I know that the situation may be a bit different in places like Japan. But generally, the fact that apples, vegetables and so much else that is grown and produced here in great quantities, and sold at higher prices at New Zealand supermarkets than say in ones in London, Frankfurt, Paris or cities in the US, is absolutely appalling.

    Repeatedly issues about this have been raised and discussed, and mostly transparency can be seen where farmers and growers produce their produce, how much it may cost to transport, but generally the duopoly supermarkets in New Zealand always refuse to let anyone look at their figures and margins.

    So one can suspect where the “rip-off” is occurring. Some alternative greengrocers are often cheaper than supermarkets, which supports that allegation.

    While Pak’n Save (I name them as there is some unintended, hidden product placement in the story photos) and Countdown and the likes dispute they overcharge customers, I do not believe them. Pak’n Save may be a bit cheaper, but they are also considering adopting yout rates and new work rosters, disadvantaging their staff.

    Income is another issue, and as New Zealand has become a comparatively low wage economy for too many, due to focusing so much on low value added primary production, on low paid service industry jobs, for too many life is a daily struggle, trying to cope not just with food costs, but high rents, low pay, low benefits and increased charges to be paid for other services and utilities. House prices are so high as in few other countries, when measured on average incomes, especially in Auckland and Christchurch.

    Clearly the present government is not interested in changing this, as they have increased the income gap, maintain social injustice, resort rather to beneficiary bashing, draconian welfare changes and also reduce rights and protections for many workers. They look after the shareholders of big and not so big business, even property and other speculators rather than look after the rest of New Zealand.

    The answer is simple, boot them out, to make room at least for the “lesser evil”, a Labour led government. I would dare to hope for more and better changes, but we are at the moment left with a leader of the opposition that has chosen to stick and sit it out.

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