Today we just found out that Obama will be making a quick visit to Las Vegas on Sunday morning, I’ve booked a helicopter trip to the Hoover Dam and The Grand Canyon on Sunday and now LV airport will be in lock-down mode and my flight could be cancelled. When the President is in town, all airspace is closed down for his arrival. When we left LA for our flight to Vegas we had to hold on the end of the runway because the Space Shuttle was making it’s final landing on the back of a 747 before it goes to the Space Museum in LA.
Jenny has taken the kids to see David Copperfield at the MGM Grand tonight so I get to spend the night taking in the sights and lights of Vegas. I dropped into the Apple Store at the Showcase Mall on The Strip to see the new iphone 5. Note the prices listed at the bottom on the photo. That is why retailing in Australia is dying when we have to pay 3-4 times the price everyone else pays in the US, and it has nothing to do with scale or economies of size. We just get played for fools and are ripped off in Australia by greedy retailers and a high cost of doing business. Plain and simple.
I went out to Barnes & Noble bookstore off South Maryland Parkway and browsed the shelves. What a range of books and the prices are half what we pay in Australia. We are doing ourselves no favours with tourism either. Everyone I have spoken to says Australia is too expensive to visit. As I paid for my books at the cash register, the shop assistant said that this particular store would close by next year. A sign of the times as e-books and Amazon take over the entire publishing industry.
I did some retail therapy and walked around a few of the huge shopping centres over the last few days to gauge consumer sentiment. I can tell you all the big stores here (Macey’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales) are dead, no one is buying and everywhere you go everything is 30%-75% off.
I saw an interesting report for Caterpillar Heavy Equipment where they have a back-log of equipment stock-piled because Chinese demand has slowed. This is a real worry for Australia, if such a big company here in the US has to stock pile equipment the warning signs are there for our economy. Our Government relies so heavily on future mining royalties and the new resources tax that they will be in for a big shock. Rough times ahead. The US is starting to recover, but I fear Australia’s problems are just beginning.
Customer service here is at a level that Australia will never reach, everyone is polite and so helpful and it saddens me when I compare this to say the retailing experience back home. We have no idea. The last few days have made me realise that even within my own firm we are poor in customer service and I’m going to address this within my own business in the following months. It’s almost embarrassing.