Letter to Apolónia

Reader Geoffrey Shaw replied to Apolónia Supermarket’s letter published in The Resident’s January 28 edition

Thank you for your letter dated December 31 2004, which arrived at my address on January 22 2005 – but never mind, it was nice to hear from you and thank you for replying in English. To go through the points you have raised:

1 – I can assure you that some of the items that you sell are much more expensive than your competitors, but, as I did not purchase these items, I have no information to send you to substantiate this statement except for the Ribena. I worked out that it was 40 per cent more expensive per litre to buy the two litre bottle than to buy it in the 600ml bottles, and one would have expected the reverse to apply. I can assure you that I do not check each individual item, but there are certain things that do stand out.

2 – Stock control. I did, for a long period of time, keep a record of when you had Ribena and when you didn’t. You may remember that I did discuss this with you on your premises and I can assure you that it seemed to go in cycles of not having this product for six or seven weeks, and then having it for four or five weeks. This was a product that I did buy on a weekly basis, but because of your stock control situation, which I probably made worse for you, I did bulk buy the item and kept my own stock at home. But it wasn’t just Ribena. A lot of the items you sell, that are not obtainable elsewhere here, tended to go in a similar manner i.e., brown sauce, cheese sauce granules, frosted shreddies, fruit malt loaf, suet, crumpets, lemon curd and so on.

3 – The difference in IVA rate on Ribena. The particular bill I sent you was for concentrated Ribena Blackcurrant Original. All the same bottles. This is the only Ribena I purchased from you. So here lies a totally confusing situation as to why there should be two different IVA rates charged on the same item and also the difference in price. I don’t know, and maybe you could correct me here, of any other Ribena products you sell, that would be in this price bracket. The small packets of diluted Ribena, I would have thought, would be much lower in price.

I have enclosed another more recent bill for the same Ribena Original, which you can see has been charged at IVA of 12 per cent but at the lower price.

I do thank you again for replying to my letter, but I don’t really think that you have answered my queries. You, obviously, have things here in the Algarve that other supermarkets don’t stock, but they are becoming more aware of having to supply customers’ needs, especially with all the foreign residents and holidaymakers.

Yours faithfully,

Geoffrey Shaw