Category Archives: Uncategorized

Online shopping, intentional GST loophole or convenience?

So over the last few weeks, there’s been a bit of an uproar over the fact that GST is not applicable for overseas online purchases under $1000. Some of the bigger sized retailers have even gone on a campaign saying that it is unfair to local retailers. But are we really shopping online intentionally to avoid the GST or are there other factors behind it?

Seemingly the internet is against what Mr Harvey is saying, the term ‘Dear Gerry Harvey‘ even making one of the top local trends for Twitter and I actually agree with the majority in this respect. Sure I do shop online (internationally and locally), but I also do shop in traditional bricks and mortar stores as well.

What makes me shop online? It’s definitely not because I don’t have to pay GST on my international purchases. In fact I couldn’t really care less if the GST was slapped onto my international purchases as it wouldn’t have played much of a difference in the end anyway. The reasons I shop online are pretty straightforward:

  • Price is significantly cheaper. And by this I mean an amount big enough to make it worthwhile. If this is the only factor in the purchase, GST plays little part, as tacking on 10% for the import is going to make little difference if anything. E.g. 10% of $1000 is $100, but if you’re saving 50%, you’re still $400 better off. If the end saving is only a small margin say $100 or less (in the case of international purchases), I often will just end up buying it from a local retailer, as it’s too much effort with shipping, delivery, extra charges etc.
  • Product range. Let’s face it most of the goods stocked by retailers in Australia don’t cover a wide range. E.g. walk into any brand name technology retailer and they most likely won’t have the most recent products on display/sale, or with clothing try finding petite sized clothing in Australia, again a limited range.
  • Customer service. I choose to avoid certain stores where I can because customer service is poor or missing. Lack of staff to help with purchases, staff who don’t know what they’re trying to sell, staff who just want their commission. E.g. I was in a major sport retailer in the past year needing to buy some soccer gear. I checked the product out myself, picked my size myself then a staff member comes over asking if I need help. I decline and let them know I’m okay as I’ve already worked out what size was right. They then proceed to stick their ‘sticker’ on the box, so when I purchase the sale gets credited to them (even though they clearly did not help me in deciding on my purchase).
  • Convenience. Why would I go to a physical store if I know exactly what I want and can buy it online and get it delivered in the next 1-2 days? This is especially true if any of the above listed factors also apply. And this is not just for international purchases, as I’ve purchased from local retailers online before mainly because of the price and product range factors. And let’s bear in mind that I do pay GST for these purchases.

And whilst I have listed the above factors for online shopping I do have experiences where I have chosen to go to a physical retailer/store because my past experiences were positive. Sure I may be paying a little more in the end, but I leave a happy customer and the experience was better than had I done it online.

I think the big retailers need to reassess their operating model and the market they are operating in today. It’s vastly different to 10 years ago with the uptake and advent of technology. And it’s not not possible as there are many local retailers out there (some even with physical stores), who are surviving and have got my business if I need to look for a certain product. They’ve served me well each time, so why would I change and spend my time hunting across Sydney for a particular product?

And let’s face it, it’s not just online shopping that is taking a chunk of the big retailers customer base. Pick any digital camera on sale at a big retailer in the Sydney CBD. Go to all the major retailers in the CBD area (between Town Hall and Circular Quay), and check their prices. Now go visit all the other stores in the same area that sell digital cameras. I guarantee you will find a better deal in an actual store for either a newer or the same model.

Development Fun

Just a random page dedicated to things I’ve developed/toyed with… gotta get round to putting in links and screenshots though as some of these items I haven’t touched/seen in years! That or I’ve abandoned it.

  • WebGen – intranet generator
  • Riverside Girls High website – Developed this whilst I was back in high school. Haven’t had much to do with it in recent years, but am currently working on a Drupal project to do with the site.
  • Sydney Mashups – my foray into Google Maps. Abandoned because at the time there was a severe lack of free data in Australia (and I didn’t own a GPS!). Though data.australia.gov.au is looking very promising.
  • jQuery plugin – Simple Label

I’m sure there’s also some other random stuff I can’t remember about… I remember there was a spider like script in vbscript!… eek

It starts… well the real start

Today commenced the braces on for me for the next year or so… I’ve decided to keep a running blog of it (if I can remember to blog every so often)…

So in order to get a visual perspective of my dental woes… here are some shots for reference… (or for shock horror!)

Teeth before braces:

Teeth with braces:

Check out how warped the wire is! Eventually it will become straight and the gaps where the extracted teeth are should close.

A hole filled mouth

Well not necessarily of the bad kind. I’ve embarked on my journey to fix the non-meeting front teeth which have resulted in having to get 4 premolars extracted. Got 2 done a few weeks ago and the others just came out this afternoon. So I’m kind of sitting here with a numbed left face and I won’t go into the rest of the detail…

Hoping the pain I have won’t be as bad/intense as before. The first 2 extractions resulted in me having close to 2 weeks intense jaw pain and tension. Worse than when I had all 4 wisdom teeth extracted at once! That was nothing compared to this.

And to add to today, tomorrow I have to see the orthodontist at 7:30am for separators… so I think pain will be the word of choice for the next week or so…

Broadsheet papers are not designed for cramped places/spaces

So I mark my return to blogging with a gripe… I meant to post about this earlier in the week but just got round to it now.

Broadsheet newspapers, you know those gigantic newspapers that fold out and could probably be used as a tablecloth (if you really tried)… well there not designed to exactly be easily read in cramped places/spaces. Like the bus or train for example.

Especially if it’s the morning peak… Have you ever tried yourself to read a broadsheet on public transport? Yep… disaster. So there I am on my normally peaceful morning bus ride which becomes un-normal when the dude behind me proceeds to read his paper the whole paper… So not only does he have a dude to his side, theres the passengers in front… and what do you know the whole way in I get the swish of paper on the back of my head… Argh… at least fold it so it doesn’t attack the fellow passengers…

Sometimes I despise public transport

I’ve decided to start a vent category appropriately tagged ‘Gripes‘.

For my first posting on this new site, I have to vent about public transport.. and the stupidity that a near empty bus does not stop at a city stop during peak hour when signalled. Add to the fact that it is the only bus route into where I live and you have a pretty annoyed passenger (or lack thereof really, considering I never got on it).

Maybe those new proposed ‘Ferrari’ trains might save the day (and traffic?)… Except with the Tcard debacle I’d love to see what ticketing plan they have in mind for this new transport mode.

About

In a nutshell… a on the upper side of the twenties range, year old female who is currently a sport playing Analyst Programmer.

For the longer breakdown feel free to keep reading… 🙂

My name’s Del, though I’m often sometimes referred to by my surname, which seems fitting enough given the somewhat nerdy The Matrix which seemingly put my surname out into the world. Oh and apparently provides others with amusement at coming up with Matrix style jokes/references in relation to said surname in question.

I’m currently an Analyst Programmer dabbling in Java code and assorted other internet related technologies. My previous jobs have all been somewhat related to technology… oh except if you count my first job ever which was as the paper boy (or in my sense girl!).

Pre my geek days I was an active player of all things sporty, but as the geek within grew it kind of declined. But the last few years have proved a change and at the moment I’m happily playing soccer in the winter and cycling when the weather is right.

I love to travel and really like the Asia region and after the big trip of 2008 also the USA (which I’m planning on going back to in 2010). I’ve decided Europe is a little bit far though from Australia… can anyone beat this for an epic journey: 5 hrs airport + 1 hrs flying + 5 hours airport + 10 hours flying + 4 hours airport + 9 hours flying?!?

Shopping Sunday and people who dress as donkeys (or is that asses?)… oh and bicycle couriers playing the trumpet in Martin Place at 8am

I really need to think up of more creative titles for my posts, but really Shopping Sunday it was. After procrastinating whether or not to go to the beach, I got a call from Jess to go shopping for work clothes, so off I went to the city. Anyways where I was thinking of going to had a shark alarm today.

Now, to the second section of my title… brings me to the topic of buskers (otherwise known as street performers). As a Sydneysider buskers in the city has somewhat perplexed me at times. I always seem to wonder what it would be like from the view of a tourist – whether they would find it entertaining… That brings me to the man dressed as a donkey… except as a donkey he wasn’t doing all that much, just standing on four paws bobbing his head from side to side. For some reason I didn’t find that amusing, or entertaining… sad’s not the right word either… it was just weird. Maybe it’s the connotation of a donkey as an ass? I don’t know.

Continuing on with buskers, brings me to the bicycle courier. I just remembered this just then when I was thinking of what it was I had to blog about because it was actually funny. So as I was on my way to work on Friday morning, and there’s this bicycle courier with his bike playing a trumpet in Martin Place… and his trumpet playing was loud. I think he must have been taking an early morning busking break. But seriously, riding around with your bag of goods to be couriered/delievered AND a trumpet?