Saturday, January 26, 2013

Would You Like Fries With Your Milk?

On the Gold Coast McDonald are now trialling selling milk at their stores. You can read the article about it here. They're packaging this action as something altruistic and benevolent. It's you and McDonald against the evil duopoly of Australian retail. Excuse me???

I don't live in Queensland and I've never been to the Gold Coast. Are there really that few independent retail outlets up there? There seems to be no shortage of IGAs elsewhere. I see the role of the IGAs as akin to what Don Chipp described as the role of the Australian Democrats (remember them?) which was "to keep the bastards honest." The duopoly may have a monopoly on the retail market but, as long as the IGAs exist and we keep them in business, then retail remains a little more fair, anyway. I certainly don't see this as the role of a multi-national. In my cynical opinion, McDonald is doing this for one reason and one reason only: more money. And what's worse, they're cashing in on people's fears of the duopoly.

Picture this, you have to dash out and buy milk so you go to good old "Maccas". You really only intended to get milk but those fries smell so good. Some people will just buy the milk, others won't. And for every customer that buys fries while they're there, McDonald has made a sale it wouldn't have otherwise made. I think it's opportunistic.

What I will applaud is McDonald's decision to sell Norco milk. This is a company that is still locally owned. If you think about it, though, the same people who are concerned about the duopoly are probably the same ones who care about buying local milk. That is also a clever strategy by McDonald.

On the upside, however, if someone is concerned about the duopoly and buying local, they're probably not going to be interested in helping McDonald profit either. It can call itself "Maccas", package itself as being "true blue", sell lamb burgers and local milk but, let's face it, we all know it's a multi-national company and probably worse than either Coles or Woolworth.

One thing is for sure: if I'm ever forced to buy milk at McDonald in the future, I'll be buying it without fries and won't be upsizing!


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