Crowd-scorning an accountant

Heard of crowd sourcing? …yeah..thought so..boring, much more fun is crowd scorning and a perfect example of that happened yesterday.

In this article, Steve Waite, partner at accounting firm BDO, has taken it upon himself to argue that GST should be applied to all online transactions, to level the playing field and to “give our retailers on Main Street a bit more time to adapt to the brave new world confronting them”.

Not surprisingly, the accountant has been treated to concentrated vitriol of a sort previously only applied to district court judges who believe that blogs are devil-spawn and not news media.

A couple of samples, of crowd-scorning in full scowl mode:

I must say that I am disappointed to hear comments like this from a supposed expert.

I am buying online not because it’s tax-free but because some retailers charge ridiculously high prices, and it is their own greed that is causing the problem.

For e.g. USD298 Marc by Marc Jacobs bag (NZD360) is being sold for in excess of NZD700. Why would I pay this much when I can buy online for NZD360 – it’s still going to be NZD414 with 15% tax, much cheaper than what the high-end boutique store on High Street charges me.

And;

Actually, there are many more reasons to buy online other than price.

I get far better selection, service and products delivered from overseas in only a matter of days and it is more than 15% cheaper than buying locally from a shop that ‘doesn’t have it in stock’, has a surly shop assistant or poor service. Our retailers really need to step up there game (I have been involved in retail at some level or another for 35 years) as I get sick of shoddy goods, poor service, poor selection and inflated prices of products that have sat on their shelves for months (or longer).

I have had nothing but fabulous service and great deals from overseas for many years….buy local…yeah right.

Mr Waite’s article has attracted more than 200 comments, approximately 99% negative and most pointing out that GST is only a tiny fraction of the difference between local retail pricing and international pricing.

One can only feel sorry for the poor accountant who appears ill-equipped for the modern “brave new world”.

As noted by a few commenters, some of us have been buying stuff online for twenty years (in my own case, a bit longer than that, in fact since Compuserve linked our shores to the world of interconnected networks in 1987 or 1988). How much more time do our poor luddite retailers require, if 25 years is not enough for them to figure out this interweb thingy?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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