To give the Government its due, as much as FuelWatch and Grocery Choice are third-best choices, they do, at the margin, provide extra transparency and at last Grocery Choice doesn't inhibit competition as FuelWatch does. Next in line will be BankWatch to keep an eye on bank mortgages, then Carbon-trading Watch to see who is ripping off consumers by charging too much for carbon.
Those Captains of Industry must be quaking in their boots. The grocery chains seem to work on the principle of price matching, so expertly done by the fuel companies. The fuel companies all subscribe to one company that monitors prices around the country and immediately know what their competitors are doing. How can the government and consumers, compete against that? The supermarkets have armies of price checkers making sure that the competition is not eating into their market share.
Just over half of Aussie shoppers (including me) don't compare prices before going shopping. Can you imagine older people on a pension hopping on a web site to look at a generic basket of goods and work out that it is cheaper to shop at Coles this week. The basket will be very skewed by the typical shopping basket of families not living out their lives on tins of tuna and toast. Based on my own experience on any given week, most of the staples cost about the same and it would take very diligent shopping to save over 5 percent on a continuing basis by doing your homework.
Take tuna. Cans of tuna in Australia used to be very close to a dollar a can. Now they are closer to two dollars a can. That said, you can still reliably get tuna for about a dollar by using the specials. Yesterday, it was 7 for $7. You just have to do what you have to do to get the price you like.
Unit pricing, which is set to be introduced, makes a great deal of sense. Simple and useful for most consumers. Even granny can use that one. No abacus required.
Run Kevin! Duck for cover behind the transparent obfuscation of these "Hey Look, We Are
Having looked at Grocery Watch, it is less useful than the Australian Government Public Toilet Location Site. At least you can get cheap peas there.