As much as I love online shopping, internet retailers really haven't found a way to satisfy my Gen Y, I-want-it-now impulses when making purchases.
A few weeks ago, I was contemplating buying the PlayStation3 game Fallout: New Vegas. Despite it not being the newest game around, it was still relatively highly priced, up to $69.95 in some bricks and mortar retailers. The cheapest in Australia was $49 at, unsurprisingly, JB Hi-Fi.
I decided to turn to online, where I found I could buy it from the reputable UK online retailer Zavvi for £12.99 or roughly $22 Australian, with shipping included.
A bargain, I thought, and so I ordered it.
This was 17 days ago. Zavvi emailed me 10 days ago informing me that the item had been shipped. As of this morning, it has still yet to arrive.
In the meantime, in aiming to cure my boredom with my current selection of games, I went out and bought another game I was looking at from a bricks and mortar JB Hi-Fi store.
Not all online retailers are this slow, but there is generally at least a week of waiting between purchasing and receiving goods from overseas online retailers, and this points out one of the many reasons I disagree with Gerry Harvey's call for the GST to be added to goods bought from overseas. There already is a tax on these items and it is called time.
While low, low prices from online retailers come about as a result of the high Aussie dollar as well as a lack of GST and outrageous retail mark-up, domestic shopfront retailers will always have the advantage in that I can walk into the store, pay my money and walk out with the item I've purchased and start using it right there and then.
Instead of whinging to the government about how unfair it is that Australian consumers don't want to pay higher prices in their stores, Australian retailers could adjust their prices with just a slight mark-up over their online counterparts and it would be much more attractive to consumers to pay a slight bit more for a product instead of incurring the tax of waiting for a cheaper overseas version of the same product.