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Online help

SANKA PRICE, [email protected]

Online help

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Come mid-August, Barbadian consumers will have online access to the prices of nearly 250 of their favourite foods and products available in supermarkets.

This initiative – designed to educate consumers, save them money, ensure competitiveness between supermarkets, and reduce the likelihood of price gouging – is being spearheaded by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Acting director, Bertram Johnson, told the Sunday Sun the website is being fine-tuned to ensure when it’s launched in time for back-to-school shopping, the items featured would be the ones most often consumed. He gave the assurance the most up to date prices would be available as the inspectors who monitor prices input them directly onto tablets then upload them to the system.

Johnson added that this was necessary given the swiftness at which prices change in this sector.

Further, consumers would also be able to calculate the costs of travel to purchase the items they want from one or a number of supermarkets.

The system carries the makes of vehicles on our roads and the price of fuel. The consumer would put in where they live on a Google map and the supermarket or supermarkets they have chosen to shop at. The system would then calculate the opportunity costs to purchase the items based on the mileage to travel and fuel which would be used per your type of vehicle.

“We believe this is a powerful tool,” said Johnson, whose disclosure came in the wake of a Sunday Sun investigation into price gouging.

“We are not trying to tell people where to shop, but to tell persons if you shop here, there and there, what the opportunity costs are for travel plus the consumption of the goods purchased. (SP)

Read the full story in today’s Sunday Sun newspaper, or in the eNATION edition.