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COVID-19 Price gouging alerts

Hughes IGA in Canberra is selling rolls of toilet paper separately- 2 rolls for $3. They have packages piled up behind the checkout and provide 2 rolls in separate plastic bags. This is outrageous and should be stopped. The demographics include older and retired people.

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Are these rolls individually wrapped like the ones in the bathrooms in hotels and motels or unwrapped las though they have been debundled from large retail packs.

Our local Supa IGA had individually wrapped rolls this week in the aisle but I did not check the price.

As packs of toilet rolls sell for around $1 per roll normally and around half that on special, $1.50 per roll would be a ripoff.

However, if they were the individually wrapped ones, the price is probably fair.

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No they’re not individually wrapped. They have been taken out of a big pack and then put into plastic shopping bags.

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Hi @Gnat07, thank you for passing this on.

Is it only the price you are objecting to?

Or is there an issue with the stock being held behind the counter, and not being available off the shelf. Perhaps also in packs of 8, 16 or 24 rolls?

The relative value of the two packs is worth checking, for brand and specification as well as the number of sheets. Perhaps if they are a long roll and quality 3/4 ply? Four packs of these can retail from around $3.50 up to more than $5.00.

Do other stores in your area have supplies of TP?

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It is a blatant rip off which I am objecting to.

There is no TP on shelves in supermarkets in Canberra. I have driven to 6 separate shops in South Canberra and have checked with friends both North and South and they report the same.

I talked to a staff member at Coles in Woden who advised trucks are not arriving every day as they usually should and they have no control over what is being delivered . The last two deliveries had no TP.

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Perhaps the extra $1/pair covers labour to seperate and bag the toilet paper?

On the plus side:

  • They have some
  • they are stopping the hoarders purchasing large quantites and leaving nothing for others
  • they aren’t asking exhorbitant amounts like the gougers on ebay, FB marketplace, etc. (I saw one ad where they wanted $50/roll)
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What I want to know is where is all the TP? I keep hearing that Quilton, Kleenex and Sorbent are now working 24/7 to keep up the supplies, and yet when you try to order online or you go to a supermarket, theres none, or very little, available for purchase. so who is hoarding it now, because its not the customers anymore.

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Definitely not “food for thought”.
Still it’s useful to some when there is a problem to solve. :rofl:

Despite some industry advice suggesting otherwise, at least one retail supply (Woolies home brand) is imported product. Source of supply unknown?

P.S.
Ordering on line relies on the obvious - stock in hand, but also where home delivery is not available “in store pick up” isn’t a solution either!


As of 12 April 2020

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Good question.

Are the commercial buyers such as hospitals and hotels which are being filled with quarantiners have unprecedented requirements needing to get stock? I assume that they get first dibs.

If social media is to be believed, there are many entrepeneurs exporting toilet paper.

Final guess; maybe papier mache has been revivied as a craze?

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A relative of ours was behind an elderly man who had a 36 roll package (the only size on the shelves), but only wanted 2 rolls. The check-out person told him their “hands were tied” they couldn’t break the package. She offered to pay for them and give him his two rolls. She then left the rest with the check-out to hand a roll to anyone who needed them. In appreciation they gave her a Loyalty points boost equivalent to a $1,000 purchase. She was quite moved by his predicament - 36 rolls was more than a year’s supply for him.

The following story shows that the likes of EBay are cracking down on profiteering.

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I would say that apart from the price gouging there’s a hygiene issue here.

Less than a roll a week? He could certainly spare a square!

I suspect that there have been a couple of issues with toilet paper - which is starting to make its way back to the shelves (finally) in my local supermarket:

  1. A few people started hoarding. This reduced the amount available on shelves.
  2. Some people saw the shelves emptying, and thought they could make some money (such as the individual mentioned in @zackarii’s linked article). I suspect that a fair proportion of these people actually used debt - credit cards - because they thought they were investing in ‘a sure thing’; now many are likely to have problems repaying that debt.
  3. Once the rest of the population realised that there was a run on toilet paper, we checked our stocks and figured that we would run out in a week - or two - or four. The demand outstripped all possibilities of supply, and so the shelves were stripped bare.
  4. Finally, people have what they see as sufficient toilet paper, and so the shelves are returning to normal.

I did hear something a few days ago about toilet paper not being like many other products. Some product expect, for instance, a big rush at Christmas - not toilet paper, it generally faces the same demand all year. This means that when there is a sudden rise in demand, manufacturers have no easy way to meet it.

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One can only hope.

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A couple of years ago (I must have been bored), I dated our toilet rolls and worked out each lasted us a fortnight. Fortunately Quilton 36 rolls was on a very good special last year, so we still have enough till 2021.

Our little supermarket responded to the panic (you would have to be desperate - they are twice the price of the next town) by taking pasta, rice etc out of the original packaging and putting a half cup to 2 cupfuls in small freezer bags, unmarked, unweighed, and over priced.

Our ‘wharehouse’ supermarket had pallet loads of 25kg bags of rice for less than $1/kg and left the hoarders, profiteers, charities and large families to buy. They were very responsive - one staffer told me they kept a close eye on social media and stocked up quickly on anything trending locally. I was there 2 days ago and they were completely out of toilet paper; that might be a strategy to divert hoarders to the Big three. They didn’t seem to be doing higher prices on anything. Independently owned, they offer good specials on healthier food (not highly processed) and their pricing is good.

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You mean it went out of fashion and nobody told me? What am I to do with all these ducks, elephants and igloos?

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Use them to store your yo-yo’s for later?

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My yoyo broke :frowning_face:. So hard to find good yoyo strings lately.

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Our little “supermarket” (well you could fit it in a house) has taken packaged pasta off the shelves. As of last week (I go once a fortnight for milk & bread) all pasta and rice are in unmarked plastic freezer bags marked $3.50 with no other information. Looking at Colesworth pasta pricing of $1.60 to $5.30 per kg, that makes these bags about 6 to 10 times their prices. I doubt people are rushing 30km from a town with the Big 3 to snap up overpriced goods from them, so it is the elderly who can’t travel who are paying it.

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Legal?

Trade measurement,

and product requirements,

https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/labelling/pages/default.aspx

For Qld - Office of Fair Trading for clarification and making a consumer complaint. Although when you are in a rural environment and there is only one nearby local place to shop?

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/fair-trading

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How the worm turns … went to our little town to shop. They now have stock at or near Use-By and selling cheap. Half price or less. Lots of lines - yoghurt, cheese, bread, etc. Probably caused by people by-passing their overpriced stock.

Called into the butcher, grabbed a vac pack of sliced roast meat (use-by today - half price) when the butcher then offered me 10 more - free, including the one I was about to pay for. Into the freezer they went.

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