“Like” Discrimination

Whether we like it or not, discrimination has existed in all societies since inception. Unfortunately, as society evolves, it’ll continue to increase and become more prevalent because communication is increasingly instant and easily distributed.

Before anyone gets themselves in a knot, I’ll state that I am certainly not a proponent who endorses discrimination in any form (note: I didn’t say knickers in a knot, I wanted to include everyone). Whatever the type of discrimination, it is usually the persons complaining most loudly about it that perpetuate the most discrimination, and in fact bring attention to the “cause” when often none was intended in the first place. In an increasingly intermingled world, everyone belongs to a minority group of some kind, and maybe we are all getting a bit soft and sensitive when things don’t go our way.

Discrimination always finds new areas to venture into. In employment circles, there is now talk of Age discrimination taking over Sex discrimination. Although most people make the Age association related to older workers, it can affect any age group. Gen Y is stereotyped as the “me” generation that moves on at the change of wind direction. But if we just take a look at Australia’s up and coming Sports stars we find that the level of dedication and training they put in every day for many years to be at the top of their game would put past generations to shame. Yet perhaps because employers are not very good at giving pats on the back to show they “like” their employees, many employers fail to tap into Gen Y’s dedication in a work context.

Internet Discrimination

New Discrimination is being brought on and controlled by technology. I tried to enter a free competition recently, but you could only enter by having a Facebook page. I know many people who have better things to do than “Like” other people’s Facebook pages or Tweet there comings and goings, and wish to maintain a level of privacy. These people risk being excluded from opportunities.

Google currently controls an estimated 70% of the Internet Search market, and was recently told by the EU Competition authorities that “there is an abuse of this dominant position” and that they will need to find a way to not penalise competitors in their search results. Google may be fined up to 10% of its sales for the breach. This is hot on the heels of England and other countries identifying that Amazon and other multi-national internet based businesses that are large retailers in those countries have not paid any tax in the countries to which they sell their products. Australia also struggles with how to collect tax from these non-traditional sales models, which is quickly becoming a global issue to tackle. If no one is prepared to pay tax, and Governments can’t find a way to collect it, then how can we expect any services to be provided? This also discriminates against “old-style” businesses who need to play by the rules of the country where they reside and conduct most of their trade. The recent GST review on imported internet goods found it uneconomical to collect GST on purchases of less than $1,000 (the current threshold). This was an easy cop out because it would be an unpopular tax amongst voters, but sadly the review didn’t include an evaluation of the effect that this rapidly increasing purchasing method has on the viability of existing locally based businesses. Why not simply add a $20 surcharge to all freight on overseas purchased goods up to $200, and then apply a GST Surcharge of 10% thereafter? Local businesses already collect GST and other taxes for Government by building it into the prices charged (on all sales amounts), so this would be no different and would level the playing field.

Price Discrimination

There is an emerging trend of Price Discrimination. We’ve known for many years now that Australian’s pay more for products than the same product sold in other countries. My article “Comparisons – Think Big” in May 2012 covered this in some detail. The new price discrimination that is emerging is largely hidden to the victim. Web-based retailers can and do charge higher prices to customers in wealthier suburbs, and some retailers have experimented with charging regular customers more.

Don’t expect Price Discrimination to be dealt with by any level of Government. Some businesses (and indeed Governments themselves) have been using Government provided schemes for discriminating on price for decades. For instance, people who have been issued by Government with Student or Seniors cards have been identified by businesses as price-sensitive, so Fast Food stores, cinema’s, transport networks etc have tailored campaigns to attract these customers. And hey, in the interest of efficient use of resources, we all stand to gain if these businesses can fill vacant seats (even at reduced prices) when utilisation is low.

Win $500 Cash – Facebook Competition

Life is quickly becoming a popularity contest. I still have one foot in each camp, and don’t have a personal Facebook page. I’m excited about my life, but don’t have the time to bore the rest of the world with it. RD Williams now has a Facebook page, which is already attracting a following. We aren’t going to spam the world about what we had for lunch (Pizza, if you’re interested), but as the content is relevant to the users, we have already found that many of our customers Like this means of communication to keep up to date with what is happening in our business and the industry overall. I guess we all like to be liked, so please take a look at our page, https://www.facebook.com/RDWilliamsAustralia. Anyone who “Likes” our Facebook page by the end of February goes into the draw to win a $500 Gift Voucher. So as to not discriminate, the competition is also open to anyone&n bsp;  who forwards a copy of this newsletter to another Earth Moving business – just make sure you cc joshm@rdw.com.au when you do it to be included in the draw.

Competition closes 28th Feb 2013. Winners will be announced on our Facebook page and notified by phone or email.

Well, much as I Like being a part of our inter-Face with all our valued customers, I also Like seeing you all here in person, and had better get back to it.

As always, onwards and upwards!

Fred Carlsson
General Manager

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