I read an article last week written by Jessica Ervine who says she has fallen out of love with her iPhone, because she is fed up with being ripped off. Ripped off, she says, because she lives in Australia and Apple’s prices are far more expensive here.
It’s not just Apple, she says its also Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, amongst others.
Now, I really don’t want to open this can worms again, I got into enough trouble when I wrote my post The Cost of Living: Australia and the US Compared. That one caused a bit of a rumpus, I can tell you, and one commenter accused my hard yakka of being “a tool that sympathises with corporate and government greed & incompetence.”
Over at the Courier Mail, they had a fancy graphic, me, I’ll just have to type it all out by hand. Here are the prices she wasn’t happy with…
Prices of stuff in Australia:
- Apple MacBook Pro (13 inch: 2.5 GHz) – $1349
- Apple iPad (Wi-Fi plus Cellular) 16 GB – $679
- Apple iTunes new release music singles – $2.19
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Game – $89.99
- Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic (complete) – $385
- Sony 8GB Video MP3 Player – $319
- HP OfficeJet Pro K8600 printer – $599
- Microsoft Excel software – $189
- Microsoft windows 7 Home Premium (Full version) – $299
- Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 Family Pack – $199.95
Total Cost – $4111.13
I went looking for the same stuff to see how much I could get it for here in Australia. I didn’t search hard; I picked whatever came up at a reasonable price on page 1 of Google.
Here’s how much I could have got this lot for; my prices are in the same order as the above:
- $80 – $192.51
My Total – $3295, to a maximum of $3407.51, depending upon which Sony 8 GB Video MP3 Player she was looking at.
Talking of that Sony 8 GB Video MP3 Player, including it in her figures was pretty meaningless; there are a zillion different model numbers and prices for Sony 8 GB Video MP3 Players. Honest!
Well, all right, there’s more than one then. Anyway, I have no idea exactly which product it was and couldn’t find anything quite that expensive here.
Incidentally, everything in the USA was cheaper, the total over there (I didn’t check her prices, took her word for it. Why? I don’t know…) was $3112.63. You can see the full details of those prices over at the Courier Mail.
Not much in it now, is there? And maybe Jessica should come shopping with me next time. There is also a question mark about sales tax in the USA, I’m pretty sure that online prices exclude the tax until they know which state you come from, and then it’s added on.
That would be a real leveller, wouldn’t it?
So how could her prices be so drastically wrong?
The answer seems to be quite simple. If I look at their fancy graphic, it says that the source of these prices is Choice, a consumer watchdog, from June 2012.
Let me remind you, this article appeared last week. If somebody wants to announce to Australia how badly we are being ripped off, wouldn’t it be nice if they were to do their own research? Or at least use up-to-date figures?
I don’t know if the goods in America have gone down in prices since June either, but what I do know is that quite a few people want to bang on about how expensive it is here in Australia and, of course, it rubs off on the population.
Bad news sells, but it also puts people in a bad mood. I’m not trying to say Australia is a “cheap country”, but most of us wouldn’t really enjoy living in a country where a loaf of bread is 10 cents, when you can get it. The message I want to put across is that we live in a modern country with normal prices.
For me though, the writer of this article answered her own question when she asked “Have you ever wondered why drinks at trendy inner city bars cost wildly more than the same drink in a pub in the suburbs, even though transport costs would presumably be lower to the inner city? It’s price discrimination.”
No, it’s not, it’s called overheads AND what the market will bear.
Of course a bar in an outer suburb is going to have lower rents, rates or whatever it is they pay. I think all of us would hope a drink in a dingy bar with threadbare carpets and worn out furniture would cost less than somewhere in a trendy designer decorated bar in the heart of the city with a resident DJ along with a top quality sound system wouldn’t we? (Gasps for air.)
Cigarette smoking has increased in Africa; do you think that would have happened if they were $20 a packet? How can the tobacco industry sell cigarettes for $3 a packet in Nigeria?
Because it’s what the market will bear and overheads (government taxes included) are low.
I’m no big fan of Apple or Microsoft, no fan at all actually, but this sort of thing has been going on forever. The market will pay what the market will bear and we all need to live with it. So let’s not whinge and moan about the price of stuff in Australia when wages are so high here and, frankly, those of us lucky enough to be here shouldn’t really have too much to whinge about, from a global perspective.
But then, maybe that’s why some people pick on prices.
I’ll stick with my hard yakka theory.