Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Supermarket chemists expand

imageMy twitter has just been ‘followed’ by yousave chemists, which is another chain of supermarket chemists, this time emerging from New South Wales. yousave continue the Chemist Warehouse model of using cheap goods in bins and aisles to attract sales and customers to improve margins in dispensing prescriptions.

It’s a clear retail trend – not limited to Chemist Warehouse. We seem to love bins and shelves where we can grab a bargain. But do we always know what’s best for us? The professional ethos that previously governed chemists is being seriously challenged by aggressive consumerism.

How can we turn this around?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Over a coffee at the Mediterranean

With a neighbour, I recently met with the General Manager of Chemist Warehouse, Damien Gance and Group Manager, John Paris. Over a coffee at the Mediterranean supermarket, we discussed the issues raised by a retail model like Chemist Warehouse that does business by competing with supermarkets.

During the meeting, I was impressed by the sincerity of both Damien and John. They both cared greatly about the profession of pharmacist and firmly believed that they were going good.

I’ll post some thoughts about their position once I’ve had time to digest it, but overall it did seem an important conversation to have in the context of where we are in Brunswick. Maybe in other neighbourhoods, this kind of development may have happened without any fuss.  Maybe it’s the way that different cultures meet in Brunswick which makes you believe that common good is a deliberate choice, rather than something inherited.

I’m sure that Brunswick is not unique in this regard, but we always like to believe our neighbourhood is special, don’t we?

Monday, 1 June 2009

Squeezing out the last drops of the Brunswick Baths

The wonderful Brunswick Baths, a precious jewel in the crown of the People's Republic of Brunswick, has unfortunately taken a step down the privatised path by restricting two of its swimming lanes to a private company specialising in swimming instruction.

The Baths claim they are forced to do this because of council financial requirements. The private lanes are relatively empty, leaving the normal public customers squeezed into the remaining few lanes.

Is this progress? The pool is there to provide the citizens of Brunswick with the opportunity for exercise and enjoyment. Why does this public facility now have to provide special privileges for private customers who will pay extra? How much money is now going into the management of an extra company overlaying what the Baths already provide?

Isn't there an alternative? Can't fees for everyone be increased instead?

It's just not Brunswick!