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American manufacturers ripped off by Aussie greed
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Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: American manufacturers ripped off by Aussie greed on 07/20/2011 04:49:06 MDT Print View

"DW, please tell us how much is to rent a 3 bedroom house in Tokyo compared to Melbourne or how much it is to eat there western style.
Somehow I think it is disingenuous to ignore some of those points...
Of course you can do it the Japanese way but so you could buy here another sleeping bag.."

Well, I used to pay about Y350,000 per month for a 3 bedroom apartment in a quiet part of central Tokyo. We had underground parking, gardens and gardeners, permanently staffed reception and 24 hour security guards. And the flat and grounds were much higher spec than anything I'd seen in Melbourne (e.g., all windows were German made double-glazed units with built in fly-screens, kitchen was German too with soft-touch close, there was underfloor heating, that sort of thing). At the time that was probably more than Melbourne rent for something similar - but given that even my house here would now rent for about $1,000 a week, there's probably not that much difference now.

I'm glad that you asked about eating out: Tokyo is so much cheaper than Melbourne - even at the Michelin starred level - that it's embarrassing. I used to feed a family of four at a good family restaurant for what a single main course can cost here. Even Epicure has admitted that Melbourne's prices are internationally stupid. It's also worth pointing out that Australian cheese and meat were cheaper in my supermarket there than they are here ...

And sleeping bags - well since I bought a superb quality Nippin 800+ FP bag with Dimension Polyant fabric (6C/500g roughly) for about $285 at current exchange rates I don't really need to buy anything from WM.

Truth is that Tokyo is now a better place to live than Melbourne - better, cheaper food, superb public transport, it's unquestionably safe and even the people are friendlier. The shops have the best stuff from all around the world, most of which simply isn't available in Australia at any price (the bushwalking shops are the best I've seen anywhere) and it's also, generally, cheaper for shopping (with the exception of Patagonia).

Edited by Arapiles on 07/20/2011 06:30:10 MDT.

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
wages and the like on 07/20/2011 06:23:22 MDT Print View

Australians work some of the largest amounts of unpaid overtime in the world, and have been increasing this over the last few decades. It's certainly been a part of the productivity tradeoff which has assisted high wages. Simple supply and demand in many industries has led to high wages as well,] and that has flowed on to other areas of the economy.

When all is said and done we are laughing. Our biggest economic issue currently is whether to increase interest rates as parts of the economy are overheating. Good problems to have. We are selling vast quantities of raw materials to purchasers globally, for record high prices. The real price of consumer items has fallen dramatically over the past decades as we have stripped back protectionist tarrifs and similar barriers. We now have so much free cash as a nation that we can afford to be annoyed at how much shoes and backpacks cost in other nations.

We have good wages, moderate taxation, a social security safety net and universal healthcare which allows people a level of health appropriate for a leading first world nation. We also annihalated NZ in the netball (but did just get beaten by Samoa in the rugby and the glory days of 16 test wins in a row in cricket are behind us for another generation though, so it's not all good).

Retail models globally are in a period of flux. C'est la vie.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Re: Re: American manufacturers ripped off by Aussie greed on 07/20/2011 12:03:47 MDT Print View

"I can see what you're saying, but I get paid an annual salary and my contract actually says that I will work whatever hours are required - in the past that has included lots of weekends and 90+ hour weeks - "as required"."

That sounds more like indentured servitude than employment to me. At least in your case it's spelled out, instead of hidden like it is here.

I have two main reasons for detesting overtime, particularly when it runs to excess:
1) If you're working a lot of overtime, you're not living. Ergo, you're a slave in all but name.
2) Productivity goes down quickly over 40 hours per week. In IT it's been universal that the people working a lot of overtime are not only the least productive, but in fact the most destructive. I was always wasting a *lot* of my time fixing problems that the introduce with their late night and over-the-weekend checkins. Henry Ford made same observation, and started the 40-hour work week thing because of it. He found that limiting people to working 40-hour weeks got MORE out of them than making them work longer hours, because as their quality went down, and their morale went down from burnout, beyond a certain point, overtime work lead to negative productivity.

Needless to say, I don't work overtime. When a manager tries to make me work overtime, I find another place to work.

Wild Exped
(bankse) - MLife

Locale: OZ
Jules on 07/20/2011 16:59:25 MDT Print View

There is no arguing the status quo though I dont think good management has been more the case than being in the right place at the right time. We were always going to to well from supplying raw materials to feed chinese grown. Could be proved wrong but the regulations on trade will have most effect on the other primary industries once the 'flux' turns back on us. (I believe) It will start to show in the protection given up rather than any advantage of easing tariffs. Going further along this route the final nail would be to further ease foreign ownership laws. While the current situation does appear rosey, its skin deep however viewed.

Back on retail 'greed', its a storm in a teacup for consumers, anyone with more than a glancing interest in saving a $ can find ways to source gear. Domestic retailers, however, should be very worried. Even the local online options are overpriced and operate in too small a market to turn a long term viable profit in competition.

Placing restrictions on imports to protect them all is a desperate move.

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
Paul on 07/21/2011 05:02:07 MDT Print View

Agree with much of what you say - I will note though that it's easy to make a balls up of good fortune.

Gerry - geeze he makes me laugh. His whole business model is predicated around destroying the old school chopping centre and strip mall by using cheap outskirts land, franchisee tenants and undercutting the market. He then cries foul when the market changes around him. Buy the bloke a box of tissues.

jacko vanderbijl

Locale: Shelley Western Australia
Australian options on 07/21/2011 05:07:32 MDT Print View

This is a site I often visit for info but my first post as this is a major issue for me.
Australians not only get ripped off big time for pricing but our suppliers are locked into deals with the major producers and our options are limited as well.
Here in Perth as an example of pricing a Thermarest Neoair regular is sold by only one supplier and they charge AU$329.95 while REI list it at present at US$149.95. Remember at present AU$1.00 = US$1.07.
Yes we have an excellent lifestyle in this country with good wages, conditions and a social welfare structure that makes the USA look positively third world in comparison.
Some retailers do struggle with huge costs but the real reason they can charge what they do is because most of the large producers have franchise or distribution contracts with a limited number of retailers.
Take the case of Go-Lite Backpacks. Retails in USA for US$150 - sole Australian supplier is an internet based shop (which is hardly likely to have Melbourne CBD costs) which sells it for AU$260ish.
The ability to buy on the internet is reducing their ability to "lock us out" of the products we want. I bought my neoair from an Irish Ebay shop (purchased on a Friday night and received on the following Tuesday!) for just on AU$200 landed.
My personal attitude is if the price is about 120-130% of the internet price I will look at buying local but for the rest I go "surfing". I have a down sleeping bag bought here at one of those 50% off sales which makes them competitive (if not great). I have things like alloy cutlery bought locally, but no-one here even distributes a TarpTent or a ULA backpack so guess where they are coming from. My titanium stove and pot came from End2End in the US. My experience is service and helpfulness of overseas suppliers far exceeds the very poor support and service by Australian retailers.
My message to fellow Aussies is to search the world not just USA and make your own choices. Remember nearly everything is actually made in China anyway.
FYI Neoair's are actually made in Ireland as well as USA.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Australian options on 07/21/2011 11:22:26 MDT Print View

"Yes we have an excellent lifestyle in this country with good wages, conditions and a social welfare structure that makes the USA look positively third world in comparison."

Sounds like your pricing is part of the cost of living in a civilized country.

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
nick on 07/23/2011 02:36:35 MDT Print View

Bang on mate, nothing goood comes without some costs.

Michael COllins
(themikec) - F
Re: American manufacturers ripped off by Aussie greed on 07/25/2011 23:56:20 MDT Print View

Totally Agree.
I shop in the US from Australia using an online mail forwarding service. will give you a US postal address to send to and forward it to where you live.
they can also consolidate multiple packages from different shops to one package and save on shipping.
Happy shoppping.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Australian options on 07/26/2011 08:20:48 MDT Print View

Hi Nick

""Yes we have an excellent lifestyle in this country with good wages, conditions and a social welfare structure that makes the USA look positively third world in comparison."

Sounds like your pricing is part of the cost of living in a civilized country."

Just to be clear - our health system is a hybrid of public and private funding: the universal public part is funded by taxes on salary, not by pension contributions by employers. So neither the health system nor the retirement/superannuation/pension system nor the welfare system are direct costs to employers or form part of their cost base.

(Joomy) - M
Update on 09/01/2011 06:50:55 MDT Print View

Just a small update: Paddy's has just dramatically reduced the price of WM sleeping bags. An Apache MF is now $500, about 40% cheaper than before...

Edited by Joomy on 09/01/2011 06:55:50 MDT.