A kilogram is always a kilogram, but despite that Australia doesn’t actually have a standardised system of measurement across all states. That will change next month, with potential money-saving benefits.
On July 1, National Trade Measurement will take over the regulation of trade measurement from various state bodies. Trade measurement covers the quantities of goods we buy every day, including groceries and petrol. One of NTM’s duties will be to ensure that retailers have accurate measurement equipment and that buyers aren’t being short-changed.
This isn’t as major or obvious a change as the shift to unit pricing last year, which made it much simpler to work out what the cheapest option was from a range of similar products on your local supermarket shelves, even where packaging sizes differ.
However, it does offer some potential for savings. As Richard Marles, parliamentary secretary for innovation and industry (and the man pictured with an improbable selection of fruit above) pointed out when announcing the initiative:
If you lose one per cent of a weekly $200 grocery shop because the scales are wrongly calibrated, over a year you would be down more than $100.
NTM offers some common-sense guidelines for ensuring you get value for money when buying any measured goods (fruit, vegetables and petrol being the most obvious examples):
- Make sure you can see scales and that have been set to zero
- Check that the price charged matches the one advertised in store (I’ve personally found problems when self-scanning in supermarkets)
- Packaging can’t be charged for weighted goods — this shouldn’t be a problem with plastic bags, but can be an issue with cloth sacks, for instance
If you think there’s a major measurement problem with equipment in your local supermarket or petrol station, raise it with store management. If that’s not satisfactory, contact NTM via the link below.
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