Web v Aussie retail and the 20 per cent rule
I can be a bit tight. How tight?
I am currently engaged in a standoff with Optus over a $2 “non-direct debit fee” over my mobile phone account. See, I refuse to be pre-emptively fined for the non-payment of a bill which isn’t actually due yet just because I won’t give them my account details in advance. This could also be a matter of principle. But as some have suggested I don’t have any, so the jury remains out there.
Be that as it may when it comes to ski gear, you know I will be looking for a good price (see my previous column about Aldi if you are in any doubt).
As such I have travelled the world and back on my computer, on occasion wasting so much time to save a few dollars it has effectively rendered the purpose of the exercise moot. But hey, that’s me.
In the US there’s been Sierra Trading Post – I used to find them good but started to note that the delivery price went up and the gear was a bit hit and miss. Level Nine Sports are cheap and have a healthy fixed delivery price of just $29 to Australia but sometimes a bit thin on what I want. Then I let my fingers move across the Atlantic to the UK. Sports Direct certainly have some great prices but their winter range is a bit so-so.
Which takes me back to Australia.
Last year I began shopping around for a pair of these babies.
Despite trawling Google search results to the point of getting listings from Eastern European countries I didn’t know existed, the best I could do was about $US 620 and that was sans delivery and when the exchange was almost level.
So at that point I did the hitherto unthinkable and started thinking about shopping in Australia.
As I had visited Wilderness Sea ‘N’ Ski at Liverpool once before and found the experience quite reasonable, I looked ’em up and lo and behold I could get them for under $800. Factor in I was heading out of the country and could get back the GST and then claim them as a legitimate tax deduction (told you I was tight), and things were looking up. On top of that they offered great customer service (Wilderness have been in operation since 1978 – a veritable lifetime in this industry) and I’ve since been back to buy my son a pair of ski boots which again were at a great price.
In my own head I have now adopted what I call the “20 per cent rule”. If the local retailer is coming within that range of the overseas price I will always take the Aussie option. Good customer service and competitive pricing is worth at least that methinks. Outside of that and I may still waiver.
Finally, let me say I have no particular affiliation with Wilderness Sea ‘N’ Ski. They don’t give me any deals that the average punter wouldn’t get and until I told them I was writing this and asked for a picture they really wouldn’t have known who I was. But of course now that they do I expect to be buffed out like Shaun White.
Waiter, bring my kassbohrer!