Friday, 4 January 2013

Makes You Think!

Dear Coles,

Let me start by offering my most sincere apologies to Taleeshar, of aisle 4 in your Newstead store. Being in business myself, I understand the need to provide our younger generation with clear, concise instructions in the workplace environment.

As most people under the age of 25 suffer from some sort of acquired stupidity syndrome, I don’t blame your 17-year-old manager for telling Taleeshar to stuff the shelves with Hot Cross Buns as if her life depended on it, and bugger the customers. But I was in a hurry, and she wouldn’t get out of my way.

I’m sorry I screamed “where the fuck are the vegetables?’’ at her. She’s probably mentally scarred, and will need to retire for a while to the back of the store where your staff hide their stolen cigarettes and Red Bull.

But she was blocking the entire aisle, and I dreaded the detour through aisle 5, which consists entirely of fizzy drinks, small children and large, slow-moving shoppers from the lesser suburbs.

On that subject, congratulations on the display at the front of the store. A stroke of marketing genius – offering 30 can blocks of Pepsi for just $17.99 – and weren’t the shoppers from the recently mentioned lesser suburbs lapping up the opportunity to fill their refrigerator with carbonated chemicals?

After my last visit when I was unapologetically sold snot-encrusted smiley Devon for $30k per kilogram, I was reluctant to approach the deli area. So I snuck in to the store by squeezing past an obese disability pensioner, who was enthusiastically purchasing his five cartons of Pepsi and leftover Christmas ham at one of the two remaining human-powered checkouts.

This meant I avoided walking past the single remnant of your former checkout team, who has now been given the opportunity to maintain her employment by handing out shopping baskets.

No doubt Coles has a career path mapped out for this young lady, who can no longer look forward to a lifetime of scanning home-brand items whilst pretending to be nice to customers.

I didn’t need a basket. Launceston has been unseasonably warm this week, and my guinea pigs (Dougall McDougall and Arnold – no surname, just Arnold) appreciate cooling treats to help cope with the hot days. I was just after some watermelon, and possibly a few cobs of corn, given they’re usually in surplus at this time of year.

Did you know corn contains anti-cancer properties, thanks to the presence of ferulic acid? But only when cooked. I find that interesting, given my guinea pigs prefer it raw. I hope they never succumb to cancer, as I doubt I could cope with the guilt.

Perhaps fortunately for the future health of my guinea pigs, you didn’t have any corn left. Or watermelon. Actually, if you look at the photograph attached, you didn’t have much left at all. Except cartons of Pepsi.

There were no oranges. No bananas. The corn, as I’ve just mentioned, was missing. I couldn’t locate any capsicums – another excellent anti cancer agent.

Cucumbers were absent.

A small bin of green beans caught my eye, but although keenly priced at 99 cents per kilogram, they appeared about as appetising as the dying broad leaved weeds in my lawn.

The asparagus was imported. Carrots, a rich source of a range of health-giving nutrients were tired, woody and in any event, there were only two left.

As is the custom, the few leafy vegetables were packed in bags, and marked down to 99 cents. A solitary, nasty looking cabbage lurked nearby.

My biggest disappointment was the complete absence of fresh figs. I know I’ve criticised your new self-service checkouts before, but that was months ago. I’ve since worked out that by weighing the figs as brushed potatoes, their price reduces from $29.99 per kilogram to a much more reasonable $2.49.

As an older person, bowel health is important, so I hope you understand this little trick I play from time to time. I mean, Coles makes plenty of money from poker machines, so I doubt a few discount figs will make shareholders too unhappy.

Tomorrow threatens to be another hot day. Temperatures in the mid 30s. My guinea pigs will suffer, and I won’t be able to comfort them with chilled watermelon.

Could you deliver some for me? Dougall prefers his with the rind removed, but Arnold doesn’t mind so much. Just make sure you remove the plastic wrapper.

Tom Ellison


  1. So sad but true...the photo is so similar to my local Coles in recent weeks...empty fruit and veg racks...what's going on? Tom's comment about the pepsi reminds me of a post I wrote once about what Coles classed as food...if I find it I'll send you the link as the advert that started me off is a classic!

  2. Their catalogues are full of rubbish and Woolies is no better.

  3. So well written, im sittin her cacking myself while the kids are in the room tryn to watch a movie yelling at me to stop snorting, absoulutely hillarious read Thanks :)

  4. Hi Deb. I was sent here from Marias blog and just had to comment. I've just had a really good belly laugh as I'm usually the one complaining at Woolies. Thankfully I now grow some of my own veges and only this morning picked a handful of carrots. It's getting so hot now, I don't think I'll bother to plant anymore at this stage. I hate supermarkets. Sue