Price comparison website launched
A new price comparison website containing data on thousands of items has been launched.
The Compare Bda website offers spreadsheets on more than 8,700 items, comparing prices of groceries and haircuts, vacuum cleaners and spa treatments, among other things.
Holly Dietz, who has spent about 19 months single-handedly collecting the data and developing the site, said the spark for her efforts was the introduction of the sugar tax.
“I knew when the tax was brought in a lot of prices were going to jump,” Ms Dietz, 36, said.
“I started work in December 2018 on the groceries spreadsheet. I worked and worked on it and thought, why not cover other things as well? And that’s how the other spreadsheets came about.”
It features sheets entitled grocery, spa, hair salon, vacuum, pharmacy and car. She is working on a cigarette sheet, after a suggestion from a member of the public.
About the time she started gathering data, Ms Dietz launched a Facebook group called Island Price Hikes. It later evolved into Island Price Hikes and Deals, as she followed suggestions for specials and discounts to be included. The group has nearly 4,500 members.
“The group was the start of all this and gave me the confidence to go forward with it, because when I suggested the website, people were so receptive of the idea,” Ms Dietz said.
For the former bartender and mother of two young children from Pembroke, the project has entailed a lot of hard work, gathering data the old-fashioned way.
“I went into the stores and stood in the aisles for hours jotting things down,” she said. “I started dreaming about prices after a while.”
Prices are not static and keeping track of the ups and downs is not easy, Ms Dietz said, although information on some stores’ websites helps, particularly with produce prices, which fluctuate regularly.
“I’m hoping that the grocery stores will work with me in the future and let me know when things change,” she said.
“It would be nice if we could have a back-and-forth close relationship.
“It would also be lovely to get to the point that members of the public would help and let me know when prices of things change.”
Her motivation in founding Compare Bda is to provide consumers with a tool that could help them save a few dollars in these difficult times.
She also hopes it could be a factor in price stabilisation on the island.
“It just makes things easier for the consumer,” Ms Dietz said. “Everybody was struggling before the pandemic and it’s only worse now.”
Ms Dietz said she has had an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the new website so far.
She conceded that the website was a work in progress and that it was much better viewed on a laptop than a mobile device because of the size of the spreadsheets.
She added: “I’d like to develop an app with a search feature, so you can input what you’re looking for and find the best place to go shopping for it.”
The Compare Bda website can be found at www.comparebda.com
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