TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Pirex … ‘Papagaios’ or parrots at the Botanical Gardens
Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 17/11/2008
Football takes up most the front page space again after Nacional’s disappointing draw on Sunday, but after that the main story is about the effects of the forthcoming strike at the tip and recycling facility in Meia Serra.
Calling the strike ‘a time bomb’ of unpredictable consequences, particularly as it has never happened before. Funchal is expected to have a huge problem with other towns affected also. The strike at the ‘Treatment Station for Waste Solids’ is set for tomorrow and Thursday, and will effectively stop the 70 rubbish collection lorries using the facility. The Diário has come up with a statistic that 700 tons of garbage will be left lying in the streets.
With the exceptions of Funchal and Santa Cruz, hardly anyone (if anyone at all) bothers to attend the câmara meetings. I think this is a bit of a space filler rather than a headline, as nobody attends meetings 1). if they don’t know about it, and 2). they don’t have a grievance, or cannot raise it. Even if you could raise a grievance it would probably be ignored.
An ex candidate for the presidency of Portugal has criticised the current president Cavaco Silva of political discrimination between Madeira and the Azores, because he did not intervene or comment in the recent matter of the expulsion from the legislative assembly here.
The new law that banned smoking from most bars, cafes, restaurants, and other public places, at the beginning of this year has resulted in just 24 complaints of breaches in the first 10 months of 2008. Only one of these was through the official complaints book system, and in the main occurred in places that had spaces for both smokers and non-smokers. The Diário raises the point that the number of compliance inspections (40) exceeds the number of complaints.
Other news :
I really couldn’t find much else of interest yesterday, and the Diário website was also playing up so I had to go out to look at the printed edition and there still wasn’t much.
Anyone watch Flor do Mar last night? I watched the whole hour and a half, and quite enjoyed it, just understanding enough to keep me interested. Some beautiful scenery footage, presumably shot from a helicopter. Disappointed not to see my house though, but will try again tonight. If anyone did watch it who speaks Portuguese, just one question that would help me. What was the connection between what happened on the ship and the main story?
As there is plenty of space left today, just thought I would discuss briefly the emerging benefits of competition, something that was noticeably lacking 5 years ago.
I still don’t think there is much competition between the 3 supermarket chains, as I get the impression that price is not a big issue amongst the majority of locals, it’s more about convenience, and maybe loyalty. I predict in 2009 that will change. Pingo Doce continues to be expensive despite their pretty hopeless slogans to convince us otherwise, but some prices are definitely better than they used to be, and I exclude fresh produce from that.
Modelo, with it’s loyalty card, is definitely best for most packaged and frozen items, but in terms of store management it has much more to accomplish. Always running out of stock, stuff in the wrong places, unpriced, mispriced and often with items priced differently than the amount charged at the till. But they do send out details of prices on their very large leaflets, so maybe they are the best at marketing.
Hiper Sã is nice, good clean tidy stores, and in my view is the best for fresh products, but not necessarily the cheapest. Anyway we already knew all that, so that was not the purpose of mentioning competition, it is more in the electrical goods and DIY / home improvements sectors that things have moved along nicely for the benefit of the consumer in recent years.
On the electrical side we have pretty much lost Modelo, although I think larger stores do still carry limited electrical products, Hiper Sã, who are nothing special price-wise, but have a pretty good reputation for service and after sales service. Then there are the smaller shops and chains, with nothing special standing out. But since the appearance of Radio Popular, there is some real competition between them and Worten (with their massive new store in Funchal), and from the amount of promotional material they send out you can see they are competing tooth and nail, but outside of the promotions I am still to decide which in general terms is the better.
And then we have the DIY / home improvements sector, with the two main players at the chain store level being the old hand Maxmat and the well spoken of newcomer IZI. Again there is lots of promotional stuff coming through the letterbox, but now the IZI honeymoon is just about over, do we have a clear leader?
Anyway, during my minuscule 5 years here much has changed, mostly for the better in my opinion, but of course it is sad to see the small shops going out of business … but that’s business!
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