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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Woolworths story is being misunderstood.

I know I sound like a "misery-guts", but the story which is circulating is just not right.
It is most certainly not true to say that Woolworths is donating its entire supermarket sales - as presented in certain circulating emails.

Sure Woolworths are promising to donate "its entire supermarkets profits from all Australian Woolworths & Safeway supermarkets, for the day".
I know it sounds generous, but frankly, this is open to an awful lot of "accounting adjustments". How do we know what constitutes their "profit" for that day?
This story is doing the rounds, and is producing a huge amount of interest. However, while their idea sounds great, it is getting far more attention than it deserves. The story is being repeated incorrectly.
That is a PR bonanza for them - unjustifiably.

Furthermore, there is another aspect to this story.
People seem to overlook the fact that Woolworths and Coles dominate the Australian food industry. They have totally depressed the Milk market. Dairy farmers are barely viable, these days. Soon, we will be importing so-called "fresh milk" from New Zealand.
Similarly, the vegetable growers in Tasmania are being squeezed unmercifully, in the face of pressure from the supermarket cartel. Again, they are being told that New Zealand suppliers can provide potatoes, peas, onions etc more cheaply than the Tasmanian farmers.
These people give NOTHING away.
They carefully worded their promise, no doubt hoping that it would be misunderstood in exactly the way in which it has been misunderstood in the email to which I am responding. Be careful folks.
Personally, I buy NOTHING from Woolworths and I will continue to follow that policy.

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Here are several responses i have received, via email:

Hi Denis
Thanks for copying me on your email to Ms Muir. I agree with much of what you say in your email, however, many people shop at Woolworths anyway so if they do so on the 23rd instead of the 22nd or 24th it is an opportunity to help with drought relief. It's good to see you question these things and I was in two minds as to whether to send the email on or not but in the end thought that I should.
Thanks again.
Cheers for now

Thanks Denis, I appreciate you looking into it. You are right donating “profits” is quite different to donating their entire takings for the day.

I don’t like cartels nor what Woolies is doing to the farmers – it is not only the farmers in Tassiey that are being affected, it is also Qld and possibly elsewhere. Woolies instituted their own quality control system in order to knock out all the little farmers and are buying absolute crap from the big growers with whom they have gone into bed – however even the big growers will be screwed in the long run as once they have them signed up on a contract and they have dropped their individual marketing agents they are stuck with whatever price woolies wants to pay because the agents won’t have them back.

The other thing I notice about Woolies is that virtually on a weekly basis there is less and less choice – they are cutting out a lot of items and also a lot of items are no longer available in smaller containers – only large eg my Caro – an alternative to coffee beverage. The large container goes off by the time I get to finish it.

I will circulate your email.

Thanks again.



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