Sometimes, I miss America

There are definite shortcomings to living in a very small country. Many companies (even those owned by the government) are true monopolies. Lack of competition keeps prices pretty high; for instance, the big milk products company, Fonterra, for which Hubby works, charges New Zealanders the same price as they charge for milk products they export. 

We do have McDonalds, Burger King, KFC. I see tv ads for Target, so I assume they are in the big cities. I saw a K-Mart once in Palmerston North. There are a few other chain stores, all NZ owned, but very few opportunities to 'comparison shop' in our part of the country. As hard as it was to learn to do, I did figure out that I should buy something when I see it because there is no guarantee it will still be there next week. That goes for everything from cereal to a pair of scissors to garden seeds. 

Recently, Missy's grandad died and we paid for her to fly back to Stratford from college uni the bottom of the South Island. The cost was not important for her to fly about 1440km or just over 700 miles, but we did inquire about bereavement fares. 

Today we found out how much of a break we got with the reduced fare--a whole $70. Compared to the cost of the last-minute, full price fare, it hardly seemed worth the effort she put in to prove she had been to a funeral.

Sometimes, it's not an easy world to live in. It's times like this that I miss the American way of business.


Amy said...

I'm sure you do and it's understandable. My brother in law is from New YOrk and he also works for Fonterra. One of the reasons why he moved here was because NZ is more secure, him and my sister witnessed 9/11 and it made them realize how different and safer life is here, although sometimes with our crime rate I question that one :-(

aspiritofsimplicity said...

it must be difficult to live so far from home.

Little Wandering Wren said...

Don't you think it is interesting working out what you do miss when you are away from home?. When we arrived in Asia I missed the customer service side of things I was used to as well. It seemed there was very little flexibility or scope for a personal decision making, everything was "cannot"! I do love American Customer service I must agree :)
Wren x

bj said...

A very interesting post. I didn't even know about the cost cut if you had attended a funeral.
Thanks so much for coming by...please come again soon.

Marja said...

I know what you are talking about. NZ is an expensive place to live and
it is getting worse. We had the same with lamb. My mum paid less for it in Holland than we did here. The best of all get exported and we pay
a lot for less

Nathalie H.D. said...

A very interesting post. I wonder if people living in remote parts of the U.S. also experience lack of supplies? It's something I've definitely seen in Australia too.

On bereavement fares I've worked for Qantas for many years but I'd never heard of them. I've seen cases where we did our best to get a seat on a full flight for someone attending a funeral but I don't believe we had specific fares. But then I worked in operations, not in sales. As a passenger, I never would have thought of asking for one.

Nathalie H.D. said...

What an interesting post ! Although I've worked for many years for Qantas and then as a travel agent I'd never heard of bereavement fares. Doing our best to get a seat on a fully booked flight for someone attending a funeral, yes, but offering a specific fare, no. As a passenger I never would have thought of asking for one.

As for lack of supplies, I've also seen this in Australia many times and people seem to have a fatalistic approach to it, which I think is a strength.

As expats we always compare our country of residence to our home country - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad but chances are that the day you go home to the U.S., you'll miss some of the things you liked about NZ... so enjoy them while you have them!

Nathalie H.D. said...

And another thing - I wonder if people living in very remote parts of the U.S. also suffer from lack of choice and high prices ?

joanna uk said...

Thank you for your comment on my new blog petal.pics
What you describe happens in the UK just as much. If I like something, I immediately buy a copy, whether clothes, shoes or basic staples like paper towel and tissues. I know that in a few weeks the standards will have lowered. If a company gets sold, the products are very good just before the take-over, but then drop dramatically. It seems to be a constant war between manufacturers and us punters. They try to get us any which way. Sad but true. I still think the value of living in a country like your new home, is worth while. Wish we could arrange it.Especially now that our prime minister has given away our countryside to the frackers. It makes me weep to think on it.

sonia a. mascaro said...

You did a very interesting post.
I never had the experience to live abroad...

Love your header's photo!

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

It's all about pros and cons Bettyl.
I guess it's about population and competition.

However on the good side we are far enough away from conflicts in other parts of the world - a good thing surely!