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Daniel Radcliffe, Portal 2 and capsicums, together at last - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 18th, 2011

10:02 am - Daniel Radcliffe, Portal 2 and capsicums, together at last

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Dear internet, why is it that whenever I click on an embedded YouTube video (or one on the site for that matter), the default starting volume is FULL BORE? It never used to be like that, and I'm pretty sure it started when I started having to use 'old embed code' to embed videos here. Did they change something? Can I fix this so I don't get my eardrums shattered every time I try to watch something? Help meeee...


Here's the trailer for The Woman in Black (yoinked from heartofawarrior):



It looks potentially cheesy and possibly reliant on ambience and sudden fright moments - however Daniel Radcliffe is highly pervable and sufficiently grownup and unshaven looking that I don't feel like a paedophile doing it. He also seems to have put a lot of effort into making sure he doesn't spend the rest of his life being Harry Potter. I find myself drawing parallels between him and Johnny Depp and the effort he put in to not being Ton Hanson from 21 Jump Street forever. I'm watching with interest to see where he goes. Doing Equus (which I would like to see) while the Potter movies were still being filmed was a brave move - he probably would have got roles after Harry Potter anyway but the play framed him as versatile and I hope he continues to take on challenging roles. Compare with Robert Pattinson (also of Harry Potter beginnings) - it'll be interesting to see where they both end up.

In other news, last night I downloaded Portal 2. I have joined the borg, and may have played the first few levels this morning while drinking my coffee. I was struck by the voice of your companion in the early stages. He's not Alistair but he seems to have borrowed a lot of personality quirks and speech mannerisms from him and I'm wondering if Valve did that deliberately to cash in on Alistair's popularity. Hmm ..

Also last night, these two photos appeared on Twitter:


New Zealand grown red capsicums, for sale in Germany.
Euro-NZD conversion = about $5/kg


New Zealand grown red capsicums, for sale in New Zealand.
Price: $20/kg


Back in the olden days, my husband and I had a commercial garden. We grew capsicums out of season, and it wasn't easy. The overheads are high because in order to get them to fruit you have to provide an artificial environment and maintain it regardless of what the weather outside is doing. This was over 15 years ago and even back then, $5 a kilo for capsicums wouldn't give much of a margin to the grower. However at $20 a kilo someone's making quite a lot of money. Top tip - it isn't the grower. So, what's actually going on here?

Well, it's off-season in New Zealand, which means those capsicums have been grown the expensive way and there are less people doing this so there's less around. I would expect to pay around twice as much for an off-season capsicum as I would for an in-season one, to ensure the grower's covering their costs. And that's what we're doing - at the moment red capsicums are around $5 each and in summer I was paying about $2.50 each for them. In Germany, capsicums are in season and the supermarkets have to price them competitively or nobody will buy them. I'm guessing the reason our capsicums are there at all is because of some trade agreement whereby they have to buy them because we buy something of theirs yadda yadda. Or it could be simply that it's cheaper for them to buy NZ off-season capsicums than it is to grow them in Germany at any time of the year. I don't know. What I do know is that in Germany, you can buy capsicums for $1.25 each and in our equivalent season, we pay $2.50 each.

"But wait Tats, that means that even in season, we're paying twice as much for our homegrown capsicums as the Germans are!"

Yes, I know. And the only thing between the auction and us is the supermarket. Enter Sue Kedgley, who's done some research and discovered that supermarkets are putting markups of up to 800% on produce. I have wondered why the 2kg bags of granny smith apples that my offspring hoovers at the rate of one a week never got below $4.00 this season, even though last year they got to $2.00 a bag. Now I know.

The supermarkets say "supply and demand" sets the price. Well, if I'm paying twice what the Germans are for capsicums grown in my own country, my demand's gonna drop off. Broccoli's in season. In fact, all brassicas are. Spinach doesn't change price year round, and carrots are crunchy and colourful. The supermarkets are profiteering, pure and simple, and the only way to argue with their 'supply and demand' bullshit is to stop buying them if the price goes too high.


This 800% markup business, I reckon is related to the GST rises. As expected, lots of businesses put their prices up more than the 2.5% that GST was raised, and supermarkets can get away with it because they specialise in selling you lots of items that each have a low unit price, so you don't notice till you're at the checkout. My local supermarket put icecream up by $1.00 a tub across the board the other day. Bread is now ~$5.00 a loaf if you want it to have actual nutrition. My total grocery bill for the same (more or less) fortnightly shop has gone from $150 to $250 in the last 9 months - and I'm a thrifty shopper.

Not all of that can be blamed on GST - there are economic factors at work here that I don't really understand. But the price of everything is going up and wages are not keeping pace. Someone is making a lot of money from this. Maybe it's those folks who got the biggest tax cuts?

I am tired of paying for someone else's flash lifestyle just because I want to eat healthy. And I'm one of the lucky ones - I can still afford to buy capsicums.

But I'm not going to.

Comments:

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From:crsg
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Had a big whinge at The Boyfriend the other day about the price of food, which culminated in me declaring that when I was ruler of New Zealand (or the world, whichever, I'm not picky), junk food would be more expensive and healthy food cheaper. People are still running news articles about how such-and-such percent of nations are obese, yet it's near impossible to keep up a decent diet when it's a choice between buying healthy food or paying the power bill.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
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I do wonder about the possibility of putting tarriffs/tax on junk food similar to those on tobacco and alcohol, and offsetting against removal of GST from produce and staples.

I haven't thought much about the ramifications of that but if an economist wants to drop in and educate us, I'm all for that.
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From:thomasbeagle
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
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If supermarkets are gouging on capsicum pricing, is there anyone else making easy profits by buying them from the grower for the same price and only making half as much profit?

Anyone know what capsicums are going for at the markets and in the independent greengrocers?

(I've just stopped buying them until the prices return to something I can afford.)
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From:tatjna
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Once I'm living in town I'll be able to answer that question! ;-)
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
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I want to see Equus too - it's one of my favorite plays, and from what I heard, he was excellent in it. And I hear he's doing How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, too.

Also: a clip from the Graham Norton show - Dan Radcliffe AND Colin Farrell?! The universe must REALLY love us! lol
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From:tatjna
Date:August 18th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
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That was awesome.

(i already knew who Tom Lehrer is)
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From:richdrich
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
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Ok, I have a bit of inside knowledge here from my time at Checkout & Run...

Supermarkets make roughly the same amount on all their lines when everything is taken into account (floor space, labour cost, wastage, etc). Beer, for instance is compact and has a long shelf life, so it's cheap to handle. Fresh is quite the opposite.

Most people working in the NZ grocery industry are overworked and badly paid. The industry is also pretty inefficient by global standards - one reason the Europeans and Americans pay less for food is that the companies are much better at what they do. (They have to be, with half a dozen competing businesses).

Half the supermarkets in NZ are owned by Aussie chain Progressive and the rest are independent businesses with a purchasing coop. Those owners make quite a bit of money and yup, they don't pay enough tax. I think that's true of most NZ business areas (although with food, there's limited competition and a fairly defined template, so it's harder to fuck up completely and go bankrupt like Whitcoulls did in bookselling).
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From:octopusgrrl
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
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Hear hear! I've cheated a bit - bought a big jar of roasted red capsicums for about $5-6 to use in the recipes that need them!

I managed to grow some tiny black/purple capsicums in my greenhouse last year but the summer wasn't really sunny enough down here for things to ripen up properly. I'm going to try again this spring and plant them a bit earlier to make the most of what summer we get :-/
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From:thatgirljj
Date:August 17th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
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I have nothing to say about NZ pricing policy... but I will say something about growing stuff.

I'm pretty sure you're "red capsicums" are what we here in the US call red bell peppers. And man, you are very right that they are a pain to grow. We actually live in a very good climate for them and our garden produces other peppers (jalapenos, poblanos and Japanese shishitos) like they are going out of style. But those damn red sweet peppers are so fussy and pest prone we have literally never gotten a single one. :-( I like them, so I pony up the cash and buy the expensive ones from the greenhouses in Mexico, but I hate myself for it pretty badly.
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From:38
Date:August 17th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Oh,I didn't know those were called capsicums! I always thought the word was "bell peppers". Or maybe you can use both? No clue :)
Anyway,that's a ridiculous price increase.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 17th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
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I think that might be a localised terminology thing.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:August 18th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
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Heresy! Capsicums are my staple for stir fries. ;-p
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From:bekitty
Date:August 17th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
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Note to USians: yes, what we NZers call capsicums are the same as your bell peppers.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:August 18th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
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I think food is pretty cheap in NZ still, compared to the prices I'm paying.... but maybe I'm just used to seeing prices 5-6 times higher and am not consciously accounting for the conversion rate anymore.
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From:whatifitworks
Date:August 18th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
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I am staggered at how much those capsicums are.....

But then I haven't been in a stupermarket for ages ... they may be that much here too for all I know. At the market they vary seasonally from $2-8 and perhaps $5-12 for "organic".

How many supermarket chains are there in NZ? There are only two here (Coles and Woolworths) and this is generally seen as the root of all evil, both my driving prices up and driving them down far enough that farmers can no longer make a living and go out of business. That, coupled with the fact that all the produce is giant and tasteless, is why I shop at markets.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 18th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
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According to richdrich above, half our supermarkets are owned by the Australian company Progressive (albeit under different names), and the rest are independent businesses operating within a purchasing cooperative.

So yeah, lack of competition has a fair bit to do with it I think.
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From:clashfan
Date:August 18th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
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On the West Coast of the US, they're around US$2 apiece. That's around NZ$2.40 or so. This seems quite a bit less than what you're paying. But they're coming into season here, now, I think. IANAG.
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From:pythia
Date:August 18th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
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I have never found Daniel Radcliff even remotely hot before, but in this...hmmm. Hehe. *pervs*

I went to buy a cucumber the other day and they were over $5 each. Balls to that, says I.
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From:ophe1ia_in_red
Date:August 18th, 2011 06:55 am (UTC)
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I was struck by the voice of your companion in the early stages. He's not Alistair but he seems to have borrowed a lot of personality quirks and speech mannerisms from him and I'm wondering if Valve did that deliberately to cash in on Alistair's popularity.

I don't know who Alistair is, but the voice is that of the English comedian Stephen Merchant, co-creator of The Office, if that helps.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 18th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
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I don't know who does Alistair's* voice (ok quick google and now I do - it's Steve Valentine).

* Alistair is the main companion-character in DA:O. He's English and sarcastic and dead funny.
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From:maholic
Date:August 18th, 2011 08:28 am (UTC)
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its kind of well known (i thought) that new zealand has a duopoly problem with supermarkets, there are essentually 2 supermarket chains here... and they offer discounts 1c difference to each other AT THE SAME TIME...

in summary, kiwis are paying a lot as there is no competition at all, this isnt just for food prices, but thats a different story

the other problem is actually the cost to pay minimum wage here is excessively high, we also have a lot of taxs and health and other costs that an employer must cover, a supermarket however has pricing power, they pay the grower not much here... and charge whatever they + the other duopolists agree on... (28% tax for workers + 3% kiwisaver + 2% acc + 15% gst + insurance + renting (wonder what commercial rents are like,,, could be an issue for supermarkets, esp in wellington as wellington city council charge a fortune for people to rent commercially, probably as they waste millions every year on pet projects from stupid idiots (another ramble lol)

woolworths and progressives? i dunno, check wow-asx out sometime as a stock ticker, a stock up 11 years in a row, thats a ponzi scheme like bernard madoff, stocks dont just go up like that, unless they keep increases prices steadily over a long time... which is what they ahve done for over a decade

oil costs in nz are very high however , around 50-60% of the cost of oil is due to government taxs , road user charges, acc etc...

so some % breakdown as a guestimate , based on milk price

1.11 wholesale milk for 1 Litre...
retail price $3.50

1.11 X 1.15 x 1.5 x 1.3 would factor in gst + fuel + taxs(wages in other words) =$2.50 cost for supermarket to put on the shelf... then they got to pay power to keep it chilled, maybe 10cents? so profit of $3.50 - $2.60 = 35% ? pretty hefty really

in australia, they sell milk for $1.90 on discount (constant discounts there as a lot of supermarket competition... )

these numbers are made up of course, but you get the idea...

minimum wage here is EXCESSIVELY HIGH, but the cost of living here is even higher... if you price min wage here in USD or EUros... or even pounds... its a pretty good wage on a purchasing power parity... but since the cost of everything here is so damn expensive, due to historical distance overpricing (everyone overcharges kiwis, from computer games, to rugby jerseys, to food) the excuse was the distance, but the reality is, a market gets used to a price point, and a company will keep that price point, till competition arises to cause all of the prices points to re-adjust...

so till that time, us kiwis are being idiots by paying these prices and not starting companys up to reprice things properly... if labour was smart, they wouldnt rant about minimum wage and no gst on food, they would do the old style government control (its in these days, hve a look at most countries, government control of banks / companys...) they would start a new supermarket chain up that is based on a less insane markup... it would be profitable, it would be cheaper than pak n save, and would actually make the government money... but the wholesalers would probably try charge an arm and a leg, so they would need to have a wholesaler as well... in essence the entire supply chain would need to have government entitys and then the supermarket duopoly is ended... the other answer is to just do some actual probing into the anti competitive behaviour of most here, but our country is a pawn and its too small, if such probing occured, companys would shut up shop, and pull money out of this country (we are desperate for overseas money due to such a low population) so that is a fail too :)

so yea, government controlled wholesaler - supermarket chain... just like kiwibank but with milk cheese and veges...

just an idea :) its a lefty idea too

the other idea (promote/help rich people to start a competing chain up... to spend their money to make money and save people money, but obviously the risk is too high for the reward so it hasnt happened yet)

any fiddling with gst makes tax system more inefficient... companys would exploit the loophole and try classify stationairy as carrots... etc



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