Dodging the duopoly: can three shoppers avoid Coles and Woolworths for a week?

Can you avoid the duopoly? We invited three people to go shopping for a whole week without visiting Coles as well as Woolworths and to keep a journal of their experiences.

The three of them spent less than they usually do. However, this is where the similarities end.

The location you are in and the way you shop, buying without the big three could be easy or a huge hassle.

“I was desperate to flake”: Molly Glassey, inner Melbourne

I’m a market-based enthusiast who can boost any shortsightedness on the weekend with the post-work Coles or Woolworths trip. When I decided to leave the two big chains for one week, I figured it could be as easy as buying a little more fruit and vegetables on my off days and eating out to feel satisfied if everything other options didn’t work.

I thought it would be simple.

And just 24 hours later, my sticky date pudding was in the oven, but there was no ice cream from the freezer. Wanted to shave.

IGA isn’t averse to junk food the way that the other two do. The shady gelaterias don’t make sense in the midst of a price-of-living crisis. The only thing I wanted was a Connoisseur at half-price from Coles. Day two, and it was the same story again. I decided to prepare tacos but forgot to possess taco shells, or cheese grated as well as sour cream (don’t be astonished by my love affair with Tex-Mex). Every day throughout my week of abstinence, there were things I had to finish off an evening meal that I did not have in my pantry: dry pasta, canned tomatoes, and tissues! I considered visiting a chemist in order to buy tissues for my snotty child, but I was a bit embarrassed to use my card for anything less than $5. I’ve never experienced it before at Woolies or Coles and let them pay the cost. Take on the power.

It wasn’t easy. This isn’t due to the fact that we have a baby and all, but because I’m so familiar with “popping” out and grabbing something. I want to blame the monopolistic capitalist entities. However, I think the culprit is me. Perhaps it’s the result of a bad experience from Covid lockdowns when visiting the shops was an opportunity to breathe a breath of fresh air “Sorry darling, I need to pop out as we’re dangerously low on moth balls.”

But I certainly saved some money during the week. I’m a shopper for deals and often spend more than I intended at Woolworths and Coles. In actuality, the last time I actually did “pop out” to IGA IGA, I was not lured to buy more than I actually needed. The small-scale grocers should be working to improve their spending techniques.

While I dislike Coles as well as Woolworths for their flashing lights, cheap tricks, and massive profits, I do frequent them several times throughout the week, swooning over everything and enjoying it.

Have you saved any cash? Yes, I certainly find myself buying more than I really need at Coles and Woolies.

Did you make any time? No.

Would you repeat this? Sure, but not without a reason.

‘I’m a convert’: Jasper Peach, regional Victoria.

The area I live in is regional Castlemaine. There aren’t Coles and Woolies. There’s a huge IGA and a smaller version, which locals call the IGB. In our chaotic household, which includes my social worker husband and two small children, Woolies deliveries typically arrive every fortnight. We purchase pet food, cleaning items, dairy, freezer, snack items for lunch boxes, and pantry items at the grocery store online.

Refusing to place an online order this week was an enjoyable surprise.

I found that the local shops have friendly staff who will carry everything to your vehicle. I felt like an actor from The Sullivans, however, with a slightly reduced bulk purchase box of Bonsoy. The things I typically purchase online for a great price were easily accessible and not as expensive as I thought they would be.

I typically go to the store for fresh fruits and vegetables at Harvest, as well as their sister store, Sprout, to buy bread. So, no changes were required at Sprout. Both shops are open several every day, and the owners operate the soup kitchen on Monday evenings. The ability to build relationships with the shop’s owners, like Jo, Ro, Patricia, and Paul, is an important part of the small-town experience.

Vegetables were a struggle in the crisper drawer after I’d searched for a ridiculous menu. I’ve discovered that battling perishable items only for a few days at a stretch is much more cost-effective than buying items that are wiped out of my view (and consequently my mind) when they’re thrown in the bin.

We already bought toilet paper in large quantities and were using period clothes instead of buying disposable period-related products. We bought the meat we had in our freezer and a variety of other items purchased on sale and an organic meat delivery every month at the local Jonai farms.

I often go wild at the discount shops Discounter Buy Miles when I’m visiting Melbourne. Stop food waste! With fellow tightarses! Cheap wheels of cheese! I was visiting town to attend a writers’ meeting this week and came across this web-based bonanza of goods for just $181.

Some blocks could be used to build several of the weekly dinners here. The Cheaper Buy Miles’ meal kits for $3 can often be a solution to this “you want dinner again?” problem. It’s as simple as adding protein, veggies, and $1 of noodles.

As long as the icy poles and plates of snacks are filled with plenty (chopped raw vegetables, crackers, cheese, salami, fruits), the kids won’t think about what they’re eating for the meal. They like to enjoy watching Bluey and eat lots of carbs, then drink a glass of milk before falling asleep.

Did you cut down on time? Yes! While Woolie delivery may help you save time, the motives behind delivery aren’t relevant after you’ve shopped at least once a week and stopped planning for the event of an apocalypse.

Do you think you’d do it again? Absolutely, I’m a convert.

“I’ll always require a major player to fill any gaps’: Raachwani Western Sydney.

Western Sydney is still awash with ethnic grocery stores that range from Lebanese up to Indian, Indonesian, Greek, Nepalese, or Turkish, and I thought I had everything needed to survive in a week, based on what they were selling.

Being a single male living in a home all by myself, I figured it would be an easy task, especially since I often go to my local Lebanese retailer, Fruitopia, on shopping excursions.

I am fortunate that my local mall, Lidcombe, has three independent grocers and an additional spice shop to add some spice.

My first goal was to purchase as many fruits and vegetables at Fruitopia as I could. Then, follow the experience with a trip to the famous (it is named after the lighting in the front, so it’s possible to take selfies at) Fresh Asiana for anything I’d left out, and I hoped for the most satisfying.

Fruitopia was well-stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. I bought a lot of my favorite items, such as tomatoes, lettuce, onions, radishes, radishes, and chilis.

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that it also had an amazing variety of dried pasta, lots of cheeses, plenty of dips and sauces, and a fantastic snack aisle, which included an impressive selection of Cheetos and Lotus Biscoff biscuits (a popular Muslim with the community).

It also featured an excellent selection of spices. However, the tuna that was canned was chili-seasoned. This says that it is not the typical client.

At that point, I was left with a few minor items for cleaning, like bread, paper towels, and some fresh herbs, which I would rather purchase from Asiana in the end.

While Asiana offered many more fresh herb varieties than I needed in addition to the sesame oil and kimchi I was searching for, They did not have bread or paper towels.

Then doubt began to set in. As I was looking for slices of bread from the neighborhood BreadTop, I walked away without paper towels, and I felt a bit sad.

I’m not usually doing one major purchase every week. Instead, I buy when I’m in need of something, which is why it’s hard to make a clear comparison. However, I would think I spend anywhere between $70-$80 on a huge purchase.

The food items, along with an unplanned visit to my local butcher shop that is halal (my regular shop anyway), were just over $60. Still, it took about 15 minutes more than I normally do, and I spent an entire week wiping up spills and using tissue for my face (expensive and mediocre).

Did you manage to save money? Yes, about $10

Did you cut down on time? Nope! Moving up and down the stairs between different supermarkets and looking for the final few items took about 15 minutes to the time I spent in my shop.

Do you think you’ll do it again? I was really tempted to complete the entire thing and thoroughly liked the variety and slightly less expensive options at Independent Grocers; however, I’m convinced that I’ll need a big supermarket to fill the gap.

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