Wellington supermarket managers are personally door-knocking customers suspected of cheating controversial zoning rules.
Managers say they are accepting fewer customers who live outside their entitlement-to-shop zone, spurring determined customers to trick their way into preferred supermarkets.
Thirty seven Wellington supermarkets were set down to hold ballots for out-of-entitlement-to-shop zone applicants yesterday but the press understands that few, if any, of the supermarkets held ballots because no shopping spaces were available.
"There are people who are absolutely hell-bent on getting around the system," Petone Countdown manager, Joe Blogger said.
"They are basically deceitful."
During the last month, Blogger said he had taken to stopping at the homes of customers to check they were living in the entitlement-to-shop zone, as their applications claimed.
"We're at the point where we're having customers ring us saying did you realise so-and-so who says they are living in the entitlement-to-shop zone is not in the zone. That's starting to happen a bit, it's that jealousness or that sense of fear."
A customer was removed from Petone Countdown last year when it was found that she had forged documents to get into the supermarket.
Some customers temporarily moved to an "address of convenience"or claimed they were about to move into the area, Blogger said.
"We get them to sign an affidavit through their lawyer to say they are living in the house, that it's not just an investment house, "he said.
Silverstream Pack'n'Save acting manager, Jim Journo said the traditional competitive streak over supermarket reputations was moving into convenience stores and dairies.
"We have real estate agents here talk about the Silverstream zone,they might lumber that in with the Trentham zone,"he said.
Silvertream Pak'n'Save will hold a ballot for out-of-entitlement-to-shop applicants on Monday.
Journo did not want to reveal exactly how many out-of-entitlement-to-shop zone applicants were in the ballot, but he agreed scores of would-be customers would be disappointed.
Journo said they had not got to the point of door-knocking suspected cheats, but he knew it was happening.
"We've had people trying to up the system living with Auntie and all sort of nonsense."
A Tawa dairy manager Paul Penner said they usually had two ballots a year but but very few customers from outside the Tawa entitlement-to-shop zone were admitted.
"For us it is just at small shoppers level. We just don't have the places available, really," Penner said.
He said out-of-entitlement-to-shop zone customers tricking their way into dairies was "most definitely" a problem.
"In fact I think it is getting more challenging for dairies, "he said, "Yes, we are getting tougher and tougher on addresses to make sure they are right."
He had not experienced forged documents but said there were customers who stayed with a relative or took a rental address for a very short time,
"Once you've approved the customer than that's it. The onus is on the dairy to prove they have used an address of convenience to gain entry and, crikey, it's not very nice stuff to be going down that road.
Penner said his personal checks on customers were "as diplomatic as possible."
"You might send out a bill and it pops back and you think, whoops, hang on a minute. Or there is a change of phone number and you think, hang on, what's happened here."
Samizdata quote of the day
1 hour ago