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  • #16976
    Topdriller
        • Topics: 76
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        • Practcally Cretan
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        Member since: 3rd March 2007

        I was back in the UK last month and "she who likes to shop" commented on the relatively low price of a large number of household goods that most people buy across here on a weekly / monthly basis e.g. shampoo, washing powder, deodorant to name just a few. 

        The relatively high price here on Crete is down to two things i.e. the cost of bringing imported goods to an island and the continuing demise of sterling versus the euro.

        Today £1 buys you €1.07 compared with €1.48 two or so years ago.  Since a large number of Brits across here rely on their Sterling savings or pensions to live on Crete everything we buy locally is almost 30% higher than it was two years ago.  What’s more, because the UK banks are offering historically low interest rates on these savings the problem is not set to improve anytime soon.  This even more so since most commentators think the UK’s economy will take longer to come out of recession than other parts of Europe.

        What’s more, many of the large UK based supermarkets i.e. Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco, Lidl, etc. are discounting certain basic goods – lost leaders – so as to entice shoppers into their stores.

        It struck me that if the Brits wanted to reduce their living costs here on Crete the simple thing to do would be to buy their basics across in the UK and then have them shipped here to Crete. 

        Now quite obviously the cost of shipping would be prohibitive if doing this on an individual basis but if basic goods were bought in sterling in the UK and then shipped in bulk to Crete the savings for the individuals involved over a year would be significant.

        There are several locally run business enterprises who do this already but they generally bring in UK goods which you can’t usually buy here on Crete and because of this the mark up is high so as to give the owners of the business a profit.

        What I’m suggesting is a cooperative i.e. a number of like minded people agree to buy a large quantity of basic every day items and then ship them to Crete.  The cost of shipping would be spread across the whole range of goods bought and therefore the shipping costs would amount to no more than a few pennies on each item bought across.  There would be no mark up at this end – because it’s a cooperative – and therefore your sterling would go far further than if converted to euros and you then buy in your local Champion, Spar, Inka etc.

        True, you’d have to order in bulk and order sufficient goods to cover six months at a time but long term your savings could potentially be considerable.

        It’s just a thought at the moment and might be hard to organise but it’s no different than what any wholesale business would do except there would be no mark up at this end i.e. everyone who participated would benefit equally.

        I’d be interested to know what others thought about this idea because it seems fairly certain that sterling is not going to see €1.48 anytime soon.

        Jon
        Edited:"Sticky" so it is handy at the top of this Board!

        Compare hotel prices and find the best deal - HotelsCombined.com
        BullionVault

        #17282
        john4d
            • Topics: 1
            • Replies: 57
            • Total: 58
            • BIC Old Hand
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            Member since: 29th January 2006

            Yes I would find this interesting, worth investigating anyway. No sterling won’t reach 1.48 again but the Euro might!

            John

            #17494
            Bell
                • Topics: 15
                • Replies: 35
                • Total: 50
                • BIC Old Hand
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                Member since: 14th September 2009

                I find this definitely interesting, it certainly makes sense.
                I think there might be a bit of problem when the bulk goods reach Crete. Distributing them to the various homes, would certainly add to the the costs. If they were kept in a central location for people to collect, that might be cheaper.
                Collecting their goods twice a year shouldn’t be much of a hardship. People without a car, might be able to work something out with a neighbour, who also has goods to collect.
                All we need now, is a volunteer in a central location with enough space to store the goods for a short time, and who would be willing to take on the role of administrator to make sure that everybody takes only what they ordered!!!
                Perhaps someone who supports one of the animal charities would be willing. A small donation twice a year when collecting goods shouldn’t upset anyone. :D :D :D
                Bell

                #17642
                BJ
                    • Topics: 36
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                    • BIC Old Hand
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                    Member since: 6th March 2006

                    I would find this interesting if organised properly, I questioned why marks and spencers clothing was so much more here than in the uk and the reply was of all things (wages and shipping costs) Alsotried to get various department stores to send things here offered to pay all costs etc and the reply was (We do not sent to greece) Why?? Cheers,
                    BJ 8-)

                    #17751
                    Topdriller
                        • Topics: 76
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                        • Practcally Cretan
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                        Member since: 3rd March 2007

                        The first thing to do is find out the local cost of all the staple items people normally buy and want and then compare against the best UK prices. (The only way this will be cost effective is if we save money.) Again, the only way this will work is if people buy goods in volume and that means buying things in the UK that they’d buy weekly or monthly over here i.e. we buy in bulk.

                        I have a friend here on Crete who owned a trucking company which ran Artics between Colchester and Athens. He sold it when he retired here but he still has the contacts etc so it should be easy to work out weights, dimensions, prices etc.

                        Since we’re all in the EU there shouldn’t be any erroneous import charges but this is something we’d need to check out and confirm. Because the goods would be for personal use – non profit – this should not be a problem – but then this is Greece!

                        Distribution once here would be important as would the contact at the other end who would buy the goods.

                        Because the trucking company is based around Colchester it would make sense to buy in that area so as to reduce the cost to get the goods to the trucking company’s depot.

                        If enough people are interested in doing this I’ll investigate further re local prices, cost of shipping etc.

                        Again, this would be run solely as a cooperative with everyone gaining i.e. this is not a business for profit but a business to save annualised costs for all those who decide to participate.

                        It would have to be run along the lines of a quasi business though because people would be paying up front and therefore they’d need confidence in the fact their money would be spent correctly, the goods would arrive as stated etc.

                        I’d also suggest the first shipment would have to be limited to x amount of commonly needed goods so that we keep it simple, test the premise and don’t over complicate until we build up the relationship with the buyer in the UK, the trucking company etc.

                        Jon

                        #17829
                        x5kmt
                        Participant
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                            • Practcally Cretan
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                            Member since: 12th November 2005

                            73485743554E4B4B4255270 wrote: Since we’re all in the EU there shouldn’t be any erroneous import charges but this is something we’d need to check out and confirm.Because the goods would be for personal use – non profit – this should not be a problem – but then this is Greece!

                            I think this could be where you may have a problem John. If the assorted items were bulk packed, as a single load ie in their original packaging of multiple units as collected from the cash and carry or whatever. (12 cans deodorant, 24 shampoo etc) It may be hard to justify that they could be classed as personal imports. To justify that I would think you would need each purchaser to have an individually addressed package of items shipped ready for collection in Crete, different/mixed quantities of items in one box.

                            There could also be the possibility that from a Greek tax point of view, collecting the money for the orders and the the distribution of the goods by an ‘organiser’ or ‘agent’ was considered to be a taxable supply and may, therefore, require them to be registered for business.

                            The difference between the service that Nomad provides, for example, albeit charging for shipment, is of course that the items purchased are bought and paid for in the UK, your ‘customers’ will be paying in Greece.

                            As you say a lot of research to be carried out, it could be a minefield from a logistical point of view.

                            Kathleen

                            #17891
                            Topdriller
                                • Topics: 76
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                                • Practcally Cretan
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                                Member since: 3rd March 2007

                                Kathleen,

                                I agree it could be a minefield which is why much thought and investigation would have to be carried out first.

                                However, I don’t think the payment thing would be a problem. Since everyone would be paying in sterling (so as to maximise their buying power) and because they presumably have their sterling bank accounts in the UK no one would be paying anything over here in Greece. In fact, I’d suggest we would open up a UK account and anyone participating would pay directly into that account from their UK account and then the newly opened cooperative account would pay for the goods purchased in the UK.

                                But I do agree it would have to be well researched and indeed checked over by a local accountant to ensure there was no future comeback.

                                I might run this past my accountant in the next week or so to check that what’s being proposed does not fall foul of some legal red tape.

                                Jon

                                #17940
                                latsida
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                                    There are various haulage companies here who make regular runs  to the UK.
                                    why not place an order with the retailer in the UK and then get them to pick it up and bring over here. They do not charge much for small loads
                                    If the scheme takes off then you could start  expanding
                                    Co-ops, bank accounts, accountants, business registration and tax etc.  all seem like a lot of hard work for toiletries and household essentials.
                                    the shampoos that I use retail at the moment in Boots at £3.69 and around 4 euros here so there is not that much difference.
                                    If there is something I need that I cannot get here I get someone to send it or bring it over.
                                    Good luck anyway, think you must be missing the cut and thrust of the business world
                                    christine

                                    #17982
                                    Topdriller
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                                        My wife likes Listerine – maybe she’s trying to tell me something! It’s 8 euros here in Spar and under £3 in the UK. The mark up on Head and Shoulders is similar as is Lynx deodorant i.e. almost double the price.

                                        As you can see I’m a squeaky clean kind of guy.

                                        Jon

                                        #18017
                                        witsender9
                                            • Topics: 47
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                                            • BIC Full Member
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                                            Member since: 27th September 2009

                                            A bunch of us discussed doing this last winter when the euro fell, starting a co-operative for favourite, expensive items. We abandoned the idea after doing some research. However some people are ordering items from the nearest Tesco to the Nomad depot where they are brought here for around £29 ( see the Nomad site for exact prices and volume ). We have not done this yet but have asked our visitors this summer to be tea mules etc. Last week we talked to a couple who are now bulk shopping at Tesco and they believe the cost of bringing it here is minimal.

                                            #18049
                                            latsida
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                                                Hi Jon
                                                Asked my better half to check some prices this morning in Neapoli.
                                                Specifically Listerine cos although we have a bottle could not remember it being so expensive.
                                                Well he remembered, but says it was either 3.48 or 4.38 in the Ariadne store for the 250 ml size ,perhaps yours was a larger bottle?
                                                I understand that Champagne will be heavily discounted this Xmas in the UK ,huge savings there I think!!!!
                                                christine

                                                #18076
                                                Topdriller
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                                                    Member since: 3rd March 2007

                                                    Christine,

                                                    Just checked e-Bay to see what a single 250ml bottle of Listerine would sell for – £1.78 + shipping of course.

                                                    I think the point is that you could save on most non Greek goods if you ordered in volume and probably more so if you bought them in volume from a Cash and Carry rather than a supermarket or on line store.

                                                    I’m not saying this is the only or indeed the best way to go but it seems to me that the demise of sterling makes this an attractive option if you planned ahead and knew what basics you’d need in 2010.

                                                    I decided last year to keep a spread sheet of what we spent across here and the monthly supermarket shop was considerably higher here than back in the UK. I wasn’t anal enough to break it down into individual items but when I queried the household’s premier shopper – she’d say interrogated – it was pointed out that basic brand name goods like shampoo, deodorant, washing powder etc. were often double the price of those in the UK.

                                                    I’d not heard of Nomad and maybe that is a different / better way to go but with sterling so low and inflation about to let rip next year it’s definitely something worth considering.

                                                    Jon

                                                    #18101
                                                    witsender9
                                                        • Topics: 47
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                                                        • BIC Full Member
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                                                        Member since: 27th September 2009

                                                        Hi, last night I was rushing to go out so did not take the time to explain properly. Web site for nomad is http://www.nomad-international.com then click on to crete express. To shop at Tesco I gave as an example, shop on line, pay for it and ask it to be delivered to the nomad depot. As you will see you can shop anywhere as long as your shopping can be delivered to the depot. Nomad depot here on Crete is Vamos or they will deliver. The trick is working out the quantity the £29.50 box will take. They are very helpfull. Our problem was not being able to get boxes from Scotland to the nomad depot. Hope this is helpfull.

                                                        #18121
                                                        latsida
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                                                            Hi Jon
                                                            Vat in the UK is set to return to 17.5 next year from 15% now.
                                                            here VAT is 19%,although this does not add that much to the total of imported goods should imagine it has a knock on effect, transport etc.
                                                            speaking of which the dispute in Pireas has lasted nearly a month now, how would that kind of problem affect your plans?
                                                            there is an article on The Times today about food and other items in Supermarkets in the UK whose size and packaging has shrunk but the same price is charged or even higher!!
                                                            Maybe we should all just buy gold!!!!!!

                                                            #18136
                                                            sokin
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                                                                lets think a bit differently.
                                                                say halkiadakis. 32 shops selling things in crete. say that they want to have 100 specific products of a brand in all their shop (eg soap). they will make for example 32×100 items = 3200 items. lets say they order another 3200 just so they stock up. it comes to 6400 items.
                                                                does sainsburies have 32 shops? do they have the same buying price like halkidakis does in order to add their profit and sell?
                                                                add on top the 19% vat and that we import some things and you can see why some of the expense is higher here.
                                                                needless to say that its also higher due to greeks charging normally more and operating under less competition and ”trusts” among companies that set up prices the way they like. (milk scandal was out a few months ago)

                                                                so the qustions now are.
                                                                do you still get the same product just coz it has a name or you get a different one that does the same thing but doesnt have a brand name?
                                                                then again do you really need all the products you get or are we buying things coz we are a consumers society?

                                                                if the answer is yes to the two questions above then either you have to change buying habbits or country.

                                                                #18151
                                                                Topdriller
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                                                                    Sokin,

                                                                    If my wife could find an equivalent, lower priced locally manufactured product on the Halkiadakis shelves then believe me – she would far prefer to buy it here.

                                                                    I buy all my clothes in the States – always have because of my height (6′ 6") – and the lower prices they sell for. Cretan shops cater even less for tall people than UK based shops. The reason is obvious i.e. Greeks (and indeed the majority of Brits) are not as tall as I am.

                                                                    Because of this, clothes for tall folk are usually more expensive in the UK because there is a smaller market and therefore prices have to be tagged higher because monthly sales are lower.

                                                                    I’d also suggest that we buy branded goods – such as shampoo, washing powders etc – because through trial and error we know that they work. I’m quite sure that equivalent Greek made goods work equally well but what would it cost to try all the goods on the shelves to find one that does the same as the branded goods we’ve used for years.

                                                                    And finally, there are some things you can’t change i.e. like it or not most Brits have been brought up using such things as deodorants. We may well have been brainwashed by UK advertisers but I for one like to know that I don’t smell of stale sweat when eating out with friends, queuing in the bank etc. In my experience the same can’t always be said for the people who are eating at the next table or standing in front of me in the queue?!

                                                                    Jon

                                                                    #18163
                                                                    latsida
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                                                                        Hi Jon,here is a site for you
                                                                        britishonlinesupermarket.com
                                                                        they stock most items and send to all parts of the EU for a fixed price per weight with a deal from Parcelforce .

                                                                        #18171
                                                                        witsender9
                                                                            • Topics: 47
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                                                                            • BIC Full Member
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                                                                            Member since: 27th September 2009

                                                                            Agree with you entirely. I passed on information I’d picked up as I went along. Now I buy greek products or supermarket own brand. Washing powder is expensive but I watch for the offers. Example Ariel, the largest size + the next size down banded together was 19 euros and at the check out received 2 large fairy liquids. Was well pleased. We wanted to bring over my husbands kilt thats why I know about Nomad, he can’t get a kilt here!
                                                                            In Champion I bought a greek hair colour for 3.90 euros and got a friend to translate instructions and it was great, every bit as good as what I used in the UK.
                                                                            HP sauce is my weakness and I can get it here no problem and the butcher opposite Sinatras, Georgiopolis has excellent black pudding, what more do I need?…………
                                                                            Last winter when we were sitting talking about bringing things over was all about nostalgia, all about settling in and a bit of homesickness. As this winter approaches my cupboards are stocked with greek products that are exciting, interesting and stretch my reading skills. For I have moved on and I beleive truly moved here.

                                                                            #18179
                                                                            witsender9
                                                                                • Topics: 47
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                                                                                Getting the cost of living down is a primary concern to most of us. With this in mind I googled ‘home made deodorant, toothpaste etc’ with very interesting results. Thought I’d pass this on. Did the same with food, e.g. – money saving recipes. Thank you for starting this topic it really got me thinking and taking action.

                                                                                #18187
                                                                                LGiddings2
                                                                                    • Topics: 41
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                                                                                    Member since: 11th September 2009

                                                                                    Hi,
                                                                                    In reply to BJ – Marks and Spencers now deliver to over 80 countries around the world, including some really remote and or bizarre places but not to Greece.
                                                                                    When I emailed customer services I received a patronising reply saying that they had received no feedback or interest from expats in Greece – which was the reason they did not plan to ship here; however they do ship to Bulgaria! I cannot believe they have any more interest from people living there!
                                                                                    Can we all please bombard M&S so they will start sending me stuff?!! Pretty please!
                                                                                    And for any one wondering why I don’t buy local; I have 3 children to dress and the choice here is awful overpriced market tat or gorgeous but uber expensive designer wear. Apart from Zara I am stuck! And the M&S here is hugely overpriced!
                                                                                    xx LGiddings :)

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