30 January 2015
Quintas Quarterly Newsletter
Purchasing habits, we need some “local bias”
What happens to the family home if I am insolvent?
Succession Planning
Junior Cert Business Studies (Higher Level) Revision Course
Marketing Your Business
Sales Tips To Help Grow Your Business
Recent News
Heron House,
Blackpool Park,

tel: +353 21 4641400
fax: +353 21 4220055
web: www.quintas.ie

Purchasing habits, we need some “local bias”
by Fachtna O'Mahony, Partner

I’ve observed with great interest some commentary by Idaho and Sober Lane regarding the announcement that Starbucks are to open in Princes St in the near future. I always find such debate very interesting and would be very much on the side of the “locals”. Ironically I had similar debate with a neighbour of mine over Christmas. This neighbour an avid supporter of Aldi and Lidl was waxing lyrical about the impending arrival of Weatherspoons to Douglas. “Great to see it” he argued, “choice and competition is good”. I too am an advocate for choice and competition but not at any cost and I made the point that we have enough choice and competition in Douglas already with the pubs we have but more importantly for me all of them locally owned.

A friend of mine is a Consumer Rights Lawyer,  born in Paris, living in Bordeaux, married to a German, spent all his summers in Ireland, speaks fluent English with a Cork accent is better placed than most to pass commentary on our culture in particular our buying habits. He was always intrigued by the fact that we import Evian bottled water from France yet produce Ballygowan amongst others here in Ireland. To this day he struggles to understand this concept. He said you wouldn’t find a Shop, Bar or Restaurant in France that stocks anything other than French wine and more importantly the reason being is that you wouldn’t find a French person who drank anything other than French wine. He often uses the incident a few years back involving Dominick Strauss Kahn as a typical example of French peoples purchasing habits. When DSK was alleged to have committed a crime or indiscretion in New York he had stayed in the Sofitel Hotel and was arrested while boarding an Air France flight. My friends point being that even in a foreign country they still look to purchase from French companies. My friend himself travels quite a bit, practically always flies Air France and when hiring a car always looks for a Renault. When here in Ireland if we’re out for a meal he orders the wine and if the menu is limited he looks to the Country of Origin before the colour, always ordering French.  When buying a car the French rarely buy anything other than Citroen, Renault or Peugeot. He says such “patriotism” when purchasing is regarded as normal behaviour, indeed an expectation without it being a burden in any way, it’s engrained in their national psyche.

I to a certain extent have adopted that same principle, perhaps I’m the quintessential Cork or Irish man who married the girl next door and lives down the road from where I was raised, but I am very conscious of my preferences when buying almost everything. We as a family shop in Supervalu or Dunnes, we make a point of buying our bread from Crustys Bakery in Douglas Court, I enjoy a drink in Barrys when in Douglas or Electric or The Shelbourne when in town, I take my parents for lunch in Nash 19, I am a regular visitor to Ballycotton Seafood and other stalls in the English Market. I get my prescriptions in Irwins Pharmacy even though working right next door to Boots. I drink Murphys Stout, Barrys Tea and Tanora – “A Corkmans drinking habits” I guess. If buying mineral water I’m not guided by the price, 500cl or 250cl or sports cap, I look to where it was produced. Our family use iPhones obviously made in China but Apple has a huge presence in Cork, we have relatives gainfully employed there so we support them.  I don’t go to Costa and won’t go to Starbucks in any event I prefer freshly made produce. I make no apology for the fact that I am perhaps in some instances but not all paying more than I might pay elsewhere but it’s a price I’m willing to pay as a show of support to the local business and invariably for the better quality service or product. Clearly there are many imported products that I own, use and enjoy, we are after all a small island with little manufacturing industry, and limited by our climate and natural resources in what we can produce but where at all possible I make the effort to buy local or Irish.

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments in the articles I read from Idaho and Sober Lane regarding the arrival of Starbucks. The economy is improving again and the businesses that “grinded it out” during the recession deserve our continued support over and above ones that are being opportunist and taking advantage of our improving economy.  I have no problem with competition, indeed I welcome it but we should be making them compete with a fiercely patriotic and locally biased marketplace. Local people such as Barry Down of Supervalu, John O’Callaghan of Crustys, Peter Collins of Barrys, Adrian Walsh of Ballycotton Seafood, Ernie Cantillon in Electric, Eddie Irwin and Claire Nash, deserve our support, they’re local people who took a risk of operating their own business, before during and hopefully post-recession. They recycle their profits into the local economy and in some way they are most likely supporting you or your employer with their business. Their kids are in School, College or Sports Clubs with your kids. They could be walking next to you in the street tomorrow, sitting next to you on the bus or hopefully serving you over the counter.  I believe in what goes around comes around and looking after our own. When it comes to purchasing, collectively and individually we need to give it a bit of thought, show a bit more support for the local, get off the ditch and put on the jersey. Whatever happened to “Buy Irish” or “Buy Local”?  To paraphrase the French in a respectful way, we need to say “Je Suis Paddy” - Support our own.

Comment (6)
Email Software by Newsweaver