For the record, I am a strong believer in community, including shopping locally whenever possible. Sometimes I know I pay a little extra but then I often save on the time and fuel it takes to travel for the sake of a small saving in price. Perhaps because my family ran a village store when I was little, (which eventually succumbed to the power of big supermarkets,) the “use it or lose it” mantra is one I spout to all and sundry when it comes to supporting local business. But how far am I supposed to go?
For example: the other day, I dropped into my local hardware store in Exeter to inquire on the price of trellis wire. I had done some homework on-line as I will need a total of around 30 km to complete the job and, needless to say, every cent counts. The best price I could find trawling the internet was easily matched by this awesome local business, justifying my suspicion that, in many cases, we only think we get a better deal from the larger suppliers.
As I have said in an earlier blog, (see A dog, a compass and a measuring wheel,) my posts are being supplied by the terrific guys at Woodshield. While a QLD based outfit, they support our local industry by being associate members of the Tamar Valley Wine Route and, of course, are the only suppliers of these particular chemical-free posts which I was anxious to use. No problem so far.
Now for the rub. For various reasons, I have decided to use earth anchors to brace the trellis, rather than the alternative box assembly which uses more posts and therefore should be more costly. I was horrified to be quoted around $37 a piece, plus delivery, by the nearby branch of a nationwide rural supplies group, and that for something that was barely sufficient for the purpose. In addition, they wanted to charge me $13 each for a strainer kit (length of wire rope and a gripple) meaning the cost of the anchors would have exceeded all the other trellis costs put together. I seriously considered a change in strategy but thought I would give it one more go and look further afield.
MUCH further afield. To cut a long story short, I have purchased an over-engineered anchor of the same design and material from a manufacturer in Qing Dao, China. The total price, including freight to the vineyard, is … well let’s just say that the total cost of my end assemblies; posts, strainers, wire, gripples, the lot, is now cheaper than the price quoted me for just the anchor. I think I just found my limits.