LETS GET REAL ABOUT BUYING OVER THE WEB
I heard a discussion recently on a community radio station about how people could and were buying products increasingly over the web and the conversation concluded with the announcer declaring that retailers would “...just have to get their act together”.
I recently made myself fairly unpopular with some friends who were discussing how much cheaper they could buy motor vehicle parts from the USA and were grumping about how they were being ripped off, when I pointed out some of the realities of being an employer in Australia.
In our modern, fast paced world it seems few people have time to look behind the quick sound bite or headlines to explore what is actually going on.
First some reality about competition if you are in the business of retailing...the only means you have of competing is on price.
So let’s look at how uneven the playing field for our retailers compared to the USA.
The minimum wage in the USA Federal $7.25/hour Highest state Washington $8.67 for a 40 hour week.
Australia’s is $15.51 for a 38 hour week.
With close to parity in the dollar that means we get paid twice what workers in the USA get.
Annual leave USA under Federal law reqirements........none Usual 10 days annual leave.
Australia 20 days plus 10 public holidays plus annual leave loading 17.5% (non-existant in the USA).
Sick leave.....USA no entitlement.
Australia 10 days including compassionate leave extending from grandparent to grandchild.
Not many people can explain long service leave here in Australia even though all workers have the entitlement so I will explain.
When Australia was being settled there was no local people qualified to run things such as public works or water supply so they had to be recruited from The dear old mother country, the UK.
As an inducement these employed were guaranteed 6 months Long Service Leave every 6 months.
Why 6 months?
So they could take a trip by boat taking 6 weeks to get “home”, have 3 months at “home” and take 6 weeks to sail back.
This leave entitlement still exists even though almost no-one calls England “home” and you can be there in 18 hours by jet.
We have not yet considered maternity leave nor some of the myriad other occupational health and safety laws, unfair dismissals or other laws imposed on Australian employers that many other countries are not subject to.
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not suggesting we reverse the benefits we have.
I am simply saying that before you criticise local retailers you had best take another look at how difficult it is for these traders to compete and recognise that the playing field is far from level.
We also need to understand that the way a modern economy works each of us needs to have our customers employed to sustain our own standard of living.
If you are buying from overseas under $1,000 GST free that is 100.00 not going to your tax office.
Owner / Director
Noble Real Estate