by Colin Campbell
THE issue of “unfair delivery charges” to the Highlands is a favourite hobbyhorse of some local politicians. Inverness MP Drew Hendry has been banging on about it for some time.
The issue was raised again last week by Richard Lochhead, SNP MSP for Moray, who claimed to have “led the campaign to end unfair delivery charges and had been contacted by constituents charged ridiculous prices to have gifts delivered”. This was in the run-up to Christmas.
A study by the SNP uncovered some less than earth-shattering findings.
Hamleys charged £10 extra delivery on Lego Star Wars, which was free to Surrey.
Gin Box Shop added £8 to a bottle of SipSmith gin, but offered free delivery to Surrey.
Converse trainers cost an extra £15, while 2021 Collins diaries were £11.95 more expensive from Ryman to deliver to the Highlands, but just £3.95 more expensive with delivery to Surrey.
A 2021 calendar from the National Railways Museum cost an extra £4 for express delivery to the Scottish Highlands, while a laptop from Box.co.uk was free for delivery to Surrey, but £14.95 for delivery to the Highlands.
Gosh! How awful!
I’ve no doubt local shop owners would look askance at these findings.
They need customers and they need people to buy their products locally after the desperate year they’ve had more than ever before, simply to stay in business.
Didn’t local shops in November and December have Lego Star Wars for sale? Didn’t they have gin available for purchase? Didn’t they have trainers people can buy? Didn’t they have diaries on their shelves ready for purchase, or laptops?
I’m sure they’d prefer that people bought these items from them rather than ordering them online from the south of England.
There may be an element of unfairness in these delivery charges but people who order online know that before they place their order.
So why not avoid these charges by buying locally and at the same time provide business and help for local traders at a time when they need it most?
Politicians who spout about the dire state of the local economy should be encouraging people to buy their items from shops here.
When the stores reopen again they’ll need all the “buy local” support they can get. The most unfair thing of all would be them being driven out of business by people buying Lego, gin and whatever else from vast warehouses hundreds of miles away.