The shocker is that people are still spending time and money on this kind of survey. This newspaper report on a report in the most recent edition of the Consumers Association of Ireland magazine, Consumer Choice, completely passed me my last week.
I mean, come one, with a headline of “Tesco groceries still cost 18% more in South despite cuts”, it’s not really news, is it? It’d be like seeing the headline “Brian Lenihan denies Nama is a developer bail-out”.
Only a couple of observations. I don’t believe a sampling of 25 items from a supermarket that sells thousands of items is a valid statistical analysis. It’s not even a decent sampling of the items that a normal consumer would buy every week.
Okay, you may say, it’s because they’re the bog standard grocery items that we all buy every week that makes them relevant. I’d give you that, but only if the 25 items didn’t include a “Walls Cornetto Strawberry six pack”.
The clincher of the complete pointlessness of this story at all is in this quote from whomever wrote the article in Consumer Choice:
… major retailers should disclose the profit margins in their Irish divisions to introduce transparency into the debate.
This, coming from an Association where some of the board members, and some staff, steadfastly refused over the course of a year to reveal any details about which other organisations they “represented” the Association itself. And an organisation where it took freedom of information requests from some board members to discover the expenses received by other board members when carrying out those “representative” duties.