I lost my temper for the first time in lockdown

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For the first time in lockdown I lost my temper.

I normally work from home and do everything over the phone or zoom so I’m comfortable with the solitude of being locked down in a way that I can see many others aren’t so throughout all this pandemic I haven’t really been pushed into depression or anger the way I see others struggling with.

That changed this week.

This week I almost went into a rage.

And I didn’t see it coming.

It was at the supermarket.

I was just doing my shopping, all masked up and hand sanitized to death, rushing around so I could get out quickly.

I did one of those shops you know like the back of your hand and I suppose I finished it with an expectation of how much it was going to cost.

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That expectation imploded.

The cost was at least $70 more than I had been expecting and when the poor shopping teller told me this, a white light exploded in the back of my brain.

I thought, ‘what the fuck! You greedy fucking super market duopolies! You were fucking is before lockdown and now you are price gouging us while you have a total monopoly’!!!

I wanted to grab the back of the tellers head and smash it repeatedly into the cash register while screaming “Is that enough fucking money you greedy fucks”, over and over and over again!

It wasn’t even that I didn’t have the money, but it was just the taking advantage of us all at a time of a national emergency that so enraged me.

What did I actually do?

I grumbled about the price and didn’t say thank you when the teller handed me the receipt.

I know, hardly a criminal offense and I’m sure the teller barely even noticed me or my flash of homicidal rage.

But if there is one thing that must come out of lockdown, it’s urgent reform of the supermarkets!

They have been allowed their outrageous duopoly powers because they are supposed to guarantee food security, well they are failing at that!

This matters, you aren’t seeing panic because shoppers believe the shop will be restocked the next day, if that doesn’t happen people freak out.

This lack of food security is another argument to have the State step in!

The lie of neoliberalism is that unregulated markets lead to competitive utopia.

They don’t.

They lead to an elite corporate oligarchy who ensure their dominance via duopoly or monopoly. A plutocratic cartel who amputate monopoly rentals from the economy and call it business.

The brutal strength of the State is required to step in and break up such cartels when they bubble to the top and that’s exactly what the Commerce Commission must demand in its reports on the Supermarket duopoly in NZ.

Commerce Commission: Supermarkets are making high profits, face little competition and charge high prices

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into competition in the supermarket sector has found that competition is not working well for consumers and the main problem is the structure of the New Zealand grocery market, in which new players find it hard to compete.

It found “persistently high profits” and high grocery prices compared to other countries.

The report suggests lowering some of the hurdles for new competitors, or, if that failed, creating another major grocery retailer.

“If competition was more effective, retailers would face stronger pressures to deliver the right prices, quality and range to satisfy a diverse range of consumer preferences,” said commission chair Anna Rawlings.

This greedy duopoly between them take half a billion in profits every year!

Fuck them!

 

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34 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed. I have noticed some bottle shop owners are price gouging too (more than usual), such as one of my locals. While not a necessity, self-medicating in smallish doses during a pandemic is necessary at times. Pour yourself a glass Martyn 🙂

  2. Martyn, tbh I feel your pain. The cost of living in Aotearoa is getting out of control. And it’s only going to get worse with further supply chain constraints. Importing costs are going through the roof. Doing business in this country consists of shoveling headroom straight into the government coffers. Everything the government touches turns to shit (housing, child poverty, healthcare, COVID planning etc.).

    • Damn I’m getting sick of people in this country who are so lazy minded, or incurably bigoted that they won’t look further than last week for justification for their self serving myopia… Food prices started skyrocketing before 2010. which was when NZ went from being cheaper than Australia for most of the basics, to being way more expensive.. Even car registration costs had gone past a lot of peoples ability to pay it by 2013.. This myopia is why NZers are now being treated like cattle.. I’ve no doubt you voted for this abuse to continue, and it’s no surprises that you are among the same group now falling over yourselves to shift the blame from the people who set this rotten system up, to the ones trying to fix it while being trapped in a litigious nightmare of ironclad contracts protecting the people who ensure this gouging continues without any interference from the proles.. I’m reaching the point where Going back to where I was before coming back for the sake of my family here, the second I’m able to.. Seriously, the whiners there aren’t as childish, or as self obsessed, and that is truly depressing, because there are some serious thick heads there..

      • Damn, Stefan. I’m glad you were able to get that off your chest. Sometimes you’ve just gotta shed some emotion before attacking someone. I said the government, not this government. Although this one is particularly awful, so was the last one. They’re not trying to fix anything. And nor will the next one.
        Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

      • Bless! I feel your pain over your frustration you consider the lazy-minded. It Jus shouldn’t be allowed. Something.Must.Be.Done!
        Let me know if you can whaen and where you find your nirvana. And if you can, provide me with the details on hoe I might get there, along with all the legalities.
        I’ll be sure to follow – even as your caddie

  3. Fuck them is what I say every time I go to the supermarket.

    I was doing it long before lockdown, too.

    You are right.

    • James check out the specials and use your phone calculator. You are not shopping smarter. They will take your money and then some if you are not vigilant.

  4. Or you could grow up and plant a garden; swap other produce with friends; or god forbid start your own supermarket. At least you have a choice. It could be worse (eg, North Korea)

    • But first he needs to learn weather control. My garden is now a sodden unfriendly mess. Even the spiders have abandoned their long established abode beneath their rustic logs and the wind blew my kale away.

  5. We need at least one other major player but is it worth the investment compared with spending the same money in Australia .
    The huge amount of compliance you need takes the gloss off and a offer to wave some of costs to a new set up could help . The one think we do not want is the government getting involved and stores being run by a minister and another lackluster government agency. They are hardly doing a good job of health education roading prisons to name a few of the worst performing.

  6. Given Auckland is the source of all things COVID, I think the rest of NZ should seriously consider building a wall around the city to keep them away from us. Also some sort of Hunger Games and/or The Purge after it’s all been walled off could work wonders for the rest of the country’s morale.

  7. Yep, lets have state run Markets,
    Oh how I miss the the long waits in East Germany to enter the markets full of empty shelves.
    Sorry, Comrade our allocation of bread didnt arrive today.

    • Hahahahahaha I remember East Germany in all its glory. on my last visit I stared into a showroom for 2stroke Trabants. A real ‘Bombermobil’! The waiting list for it was over 10 years back then. State owned supermarkets? What?…and run by likes of Twyford and Mahuta? Or worse, run by Jacinda? No thanks.

  8. The definition of inflation; is the increase in the money supply.

    Given supply chains, the cost of shipping and an increase in the domestic money supply.. perhaps less products at higher prices. Stagflation.

    I think you need to chill and watch the Matrix. Too much politics.

  9. This is what we get when:

    > The government closes all opposition to the supermarkets in response to the China Virus
    > The reserve bank prints money to flood the country with liquidity
    > The government subsequently blows their fund for fighting the virus on hip hop dance routines

  10. I work part time in a Supermarket. OK, so some prices are going up but I challenge any one of you to do better in these difficult circumstances. Costs of supply, distribution, staffing, electricity, seasonal products etc etc are frightening. Give them a break and be grateful they are still offering good specials.
    Also whilst 99% of customers are great to deal with, the 1% who aren’t cause unnecessary stress for all of us in the store.

    • let local butchers and grocery stores open during level 4.
      there, you have less customers to annoy you and hte customers have a different shop to leave their money.
      Btw, your customers pay your wages, no matter how annoying you find them.

      • Don’t think Garabaldi has the power to let local butchers open during level 4. So the rest is just spiteful and arrogant.

      • Sabine – Garibaldi did not say that he finds customers annoying. Stop telling lies.

        Garibaldi said that 99% of customers are great to deal with, and that 1% cause unnecessary stress, which is very different from what you’re trying to claim.

        Supermarket workers are often underpaid and have done a jolly good job working throughout the quarantines. I think that they’re wonderful, and I tell them this. Many are students with big student loans – and assignments due in too – are highly motivated to do well, and they perform with more grace than you do.

        • Funny that Applewood. I greeted the bus driver this morning with a “good morning” then a “thank you, have a great day”. He literally looked at me in amazement then replied “and you have a great day too”. I could sense immediately this bus driver is down trodden, a person whom the likes of Sabine would spit at. Respect is just not recognized at all and Sabine is just another product of the Aaron Gilmore syndrome of “Don’t you know who I am”. The entitlement of these types is embarrassing. Each provides an essential service yet Sabine demands it.

          • Bert – I do think the people working the supermarkets and the security guards are special – they’re putting themselves at risk for the rest of us, hour after hour day after day, while we pop in and out again, masked and sanitised and then scuttle off back home again. They’re ok, and I often thank them – we’re lucky they’re there – and that could change.

            Bus drivers get abused too – including for the shortcomings of their bosses. Ditto many frontline folk doing jobs the paymasters couldn’t.

    • garibaldi – Yeah, pretty sure that the majority of people moaning haven’t read the Com Com report.

      Page 8 – In 2019, EBIT for the “international sample” of supermarkets that NZ supermarkets were compared to, was just over 3%. The three NZ “chains” were about 4.3%, 4.6% and 5.4%. Somehow, this is meant to be gouging? Who here would set up a business to have a EBIT of 3-5%?

      I am not an economist/accountant – on page 7, they compared ROACE against WACC. ROACE was about four times greater than WACC. The Com Com appears to think this is a crime.

      Don’t get me wrong – the cost of food and sundries in NZ, is way too much. But that could immediately be alleviated to a degree, by the removal of GST. Much in same manner as the price of petrol – about half is taxes/excise.

      • That’s the kicker GST of 15% should be removed off staple food items namely fresh fruit and vegetables. It is a No Brainer.

  11. I get the impression, Bomber, that you have lost your temper just about every time when you are constructing one of your outpourings. I guess it is a diversion from pissing yourself in fear because you haven’t yet received your vaccines that will save everyone…

  12. Your shop shouldn’t be that expensive Martyn, after all it wouldn’t include any meat or dairy right?

    You know Climate Change and all that.

  13. As the family shopper–the most expendable member I think some times…–I monitor prices during lockdown and non lockdown times. And while winter explains $13.99 per kilo tomatoes, other things stand out–like less specials, and less advantageous specials, and more consistent full pricing during lockdowns for just about everything.

    It is totally a duopoly as various studies have shown, and producers and suppliers get stood over on margins and other details if they do not want to be banned.

    Only the wealthy/middle classes can consistently afford to eat healthy these days. So yes, grow a tray of herbs, small greens in pots, sprouts in a jar etc. make bread and baked goods once a week. Shop at markets on the weekend–when open of course.

  14. Well at least you didn’t grab a knife off the shelf and start stabbing people, Martyn, which is becoming common nowadays. Good on you! Agree entirely. Aldi transformed UK supermarkets in many ways, and their food is/was the lowest cost around (after Brexit prices are beginning to rise now). But Aldi doesn’t want to come here due to supply chain issues. It would be great if we could do it for ourselves.

    • As Bobby Whitlock said – where’s there’s a will, there’s a way.
      Things haven’t yet gotten bad enough for the will of the masses to kick in.
      We all know the the duo market operators are doing their best to pull our collective tits. They’re doubling down – not much else they can do really.
      But we (this “team of 5 mill”) gone done it to ourselves so we’ll now get what we’re prepared to allow.
      – Supermeerkats who’ve tried dressing themselves up as being “co-operatives” on the basis of the concept of franchises and franchisees (How very Fonterra)
      – Petrol Stations and all the shit they’re trying to push at the moment – where their pricing doesn’t ekshully stack up with what’s going on
      – Insurance, and all its little preferred supplier and kickback clipet ticker bullshit
      – Building supplies (Timber and stuff we ekshully grow here in ‘lil ‘ole Nuzulln that punches above its weight
      – Logustuks ‘n’ supploi chain ussyouse

      Let it play out @ Liz, although keep up the protest. There’ll be a load of casualties, but those casualties will end up being the force for change. Let’s hope it isn’t too violent although I suspect it could well be as sheeple and the disenfranchised wake from their slumber.

      Nek minnut tho’s eh?

  15. I’m pleased others have experienced the horrors of state run businesses in Eastern Europe.
    Empty shelves sums it up nicely.
    Everybody equally miserable.

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