Friday, September 30, 2011

the cost of ethics

A couple of weeks ago our town centre supermarket closed down. They have built a much larger store, complete with petrol station, a mile or so out of town on the opposite side of town from where I live (which given the small size of Kaitaia doesn't actually add that much distance really!).

Where PaknSave used to be was on my way home from work, I walked past it most days and would pop in for a few things at a time. I don't do the main grocery shopping so seldom need to buy much at once in any case but I also have to walk home with it, I have never gone to buy more than I can carry on a regular basis no matter where I've lived.

Whilst in theory the new supermarket is within walking distance it's not a very practical option for me, certainly not worth the effort involved for half a dozen items as it would require a special trip - I've no other reason to be out that way.

There is a shopper bus service that has been set up twice a week but it doesn't fit in with my work hours. So where does that leave me?

Well many of the things I bought there I can find in other shops in town - at a higher price but some I can't so I'll need to go there occassionally, albeit in someone's car, which therefore means I could buy more at once but bang would go my carefully worked out budgeting strategy...

So.... do I vote with my feet and purse and buy what I can in town each week as before, paying the higher price financially yet supporting those traders who are in the town centre serving those of us who don't have a car? Or do I figure out a weekly or so system for getting out of town, paying less but buying into the car orientated culture that has caused the shift in the first place (parking at the old store was a major problem).

Fortunately my finances can probably cope with a few extra dollars a week to buy most things in town but for many others in town who have walked to PaknSave to do their shopping - including pensioners in the nearby flats - the chances are it starts to create some hard choices over where the money goes, on bills or food?

Will the shift out of town mean people are less likely to shop in the other town centre shops now? Will businesses suffer or benefit? Usually the trend is for them to suffer, another reason to shop locally for me. We have enough empty shop units on the high street as it is, not to mention high unemployment.

Ah well, more incentives to get to the market early on a Saturday before all the veggies have gone and to get some more planted in the garden!

1 comment:

Martin said...

Experience shows that if the new supermarket offers pretty much everything most people would need on a weekly shop at no worse prices, they'll go there.

And that'll be an *alternative* to the town centre, not a *supplement*. It'll be a one or other choice far too often.

Sadly convenience is a precious commodity to most.