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Alan Hawkins

Professional journalist and communication consultant.


East London Accommodation

CONVENIENCE AT A COST

Most of the old neighbourhood green grocers, or cafes as they were sometimes fondly known, seemed to have slowly disappeared over the years. With only a few remaining, these small owner run businesses have been replaced by the more modern fuel station shop.

The Hawkeye team selected a sample of five popular products and compared the prices of three forecourt convenience stores against the same sample from our nearest Spar. While it wasn’t surprising to find the prices to be higher, we were a little shocked to find the premium to be in excess of 20%.

Convenient maybe, but this comes to us at a cost. At the Spar, where 2lt of milk is sold at R16.99, the same product was on offer at the Beacon Bay Engen (Beaconhurst Drive) for R21.50, a 26% difference. The worst example was a large pack of nik-naks which was R7.99 at Spar, compared to R11.80 at BP Express in Pearce St. Berea, a whopping 46% premium.

While the fuel station owners might complain about having to trade around the much regulated fuel prices, there are certainly no controls on diesel fuel or the odd consumer trap hidden amongst their shiny shelves.   

THIS WEEKS TIP

A 20% premium when spending R10 might only be R2, this doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re regularly stopping at your nearest brightly lit fuel station, you’ll be amazed how the number will soon become meaningful. To convert an old idiom into the modern vernacular, look after the cents and the Rands will look after themselves.

This week’s CHILLI AWARD goes to the Buffalo City Traffic Department. In addition to the lack of visible presence of your officers in general, the unchecked chaos and the blatant disregard of the law by the taxis in Devereaux Avenue simply has to be stopped.


Members of the Hawkeye team assessed the friendliness and efficiency of numerous local businesses during this past week. Our focus was not on the management or sales staff as one tends to do, but on the often forgotten but important general assistants. The joint winners of this week’s CHERRY AWARD are coincidently both located at The Hub in Beacon Bay, well done to Body Culture Health Centre and Preston’s.