Saturday, November 18, 2006

Puppy fur bog rolls anyone?

Supermarkets are like...

I'll just apologise in advance that this post isn't as profound as the previous one. Sorry, but I just can't profund very often. It makes my head hurt.

This week, I really covered myself in glory in the supermarket. As my regular reader may have noticed, I'm not fond of supermarkets, but this time it really took the cake. As usual, I was prowling around the aisles, snatching at tins of catfood and bottles of Diet Coke and thinking murderous thoughts about my fellow shoppers. Then I did something that even I, with my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award in the Art of Unco, have never managed to do before, but which is often seen in movies: I knocked down a precariously-balanced display. Some sort of bloody breakfast-muesli-shredded-cardboard bar, if you must know. What sort of brain surgeon puts a tower of blanking boxes in the middle of a blanking aisle in front of a blanking frequently-desired blanking item such as blanking milk? Really? And yes, pretty much the whole damned thing went down with one tap of my crab-wheeled trolley. Needless to say, the aura bubble surrounding me turned a violent blue due to all the filthy words filling it. And yes, I picked them up and restacked them, even though I wanted to hide in the tea bag aisle. Damn my sense of responsibility.

Speaking of supermarkets, Foodland stocks a product that is so wrong I don't even know where to start. It's a multi-pack of ready-to-go hotdogs. Yes, it's the red sausagy bit all ready to go in a roll. I didn't look closely, but I suspect there were six of them, all put on a nice styrofoam tray and covered in plastic wrap. Why? Why would anyone do this? Don't they understand you need to boil the hotdog and toast the roll separately? That's just skin-crawly wrong! What if someone boiled the bun? Or worse, put the whole thing in the microwave? Oh, I feel faint...

And while I'm on the subject of supermarket wrongness, is anyone finding the new Coles home brand marketing as chucklesome as I bave been? Between ramming aisle-cloggers with my trolley, swatting screaming children with random things like packets of stockings and legs of lamb, and throwing my own little tantrums at the check-outs, I'm reading these things with increasing hilarity. In fact, their utter fatuousness is the only thing that makes a visit to the Tenth Circle of Hell vaguely bearable. I'm finding myself picking up stuff I have no intention of buying just to read the ridiculous little personal endorsements on the packaging.

Look, this is Emma. Emma is six and cute as a button and she's hugging India, her adorable little husky pup, while telling the nation how soft and creamy Coles bumfodder is.

As an aside, can anyone tell me why toilet rolls are always marketed using fluffy puppies? Sharpeis, labradors, huskies - what's going on? I know all ad people are inherently evil (and yes, newspaper ad reps, I'm looking very hard at YOU), but are they really so morally bankrupt as to secretly wish that they could buy rolls of puppies to keep beside their thrones? It makes me think of that classic episode of The Goodies where the Minister of Health had a box of disposable Sooties and alternated between talking to them and using them to blow his honker. Or could it be even worse than this? Do ad people secretly want puppy fur toilet paper? Oh, it's just too awful to contemplate. Imagine what it could do to the country's sewerage system! However, there is another variety of Coles loo paper that flouts tradition and sports no puppies. This one has two little girls cuddling fluffy bunnies. Naturally this one made me remember the old joke about the bear and the rabbit walking in the woods together. Hmm, maybe ad people do have a sense of humour... No! No! They're evil!

But it's not just the bog rolls. You'll have to forgive me if the names aren't quite right - if I'd started taking notes (a) I would have had to have spent longer in the supermarket and (b) the Coles security Nazis would probably have dragged me away for questioning and an internal exam. These are harsh times. As another aside, when someone says over the loud speaker, "Security to Section C", am I the only one who immediately thinks that I'm standing in the middle of Section C and looking shifty? I know this is just an anti-shoplifting ploy and there is no Section C, but still...

So, canned tomatoes? Yep, here's Rosa, the Family Menu Planner telling us how rich they make her pasta sauce. Frozen beans? Rob the Farmer is gagging to share his feelings on fresh produce. Hi, Rob! Need a hose fitting? Probably not, since we don't have any water, but just in case, here's Jessica to tell everyone how easy "this quality garden product" makes her life among the patch of dust, desiccated snail shells and tumbleweed that was once her garden. Cornflakes? Alistair, who never, ever skips breakfast, is your man there. Crisps? I think it's some chick who said she loved to party. Does that mean she has loose morals as well as liking crisps? It's not entirely clear from the packaging. But don't worry about that, because now we've got some potato royales (whatever the hell they are), which are great fun to share with the family. They look suspiciously high in animal fats to me and I wouldn't mind guessing that they're only fun if you use them to start a food fight in a nursing home. They're just the right size to fit in a sling-shot. Oh, and oven fries are fun to share with the family too, but while you're watching a video! Hurrah! Best get me some a dem fer vidyo-wartchin'.

What about soda water? Here's one I do actually buy. All soda water tastes the same - it's not like all those myriad versions of Nasty Cola that all seem to taste like melted Icy-Poles because they don't have the magic ingredient that Coke guards so jealously. Ninety-nine cent soda water tastes just like the $1.60 gear. "But who's on the front?" I hear you ask. (Hang on, I'll grab a bottle. Just talk amongst yourself for a second.) It's Bill! Bill, whose raison d'etre (or his reason for being on the soda bottle, at least) is that he "loves to entertain". He has a rather fishy smile on his mug and appears to be skulling a tumbler of soda water that I'm fairly certain has a nice shot of vodka or rum and some fresh lime juice in it. Why, you ask? Because Bill reckons it makes him "feel refreshed and relaxed, ready for the weekend". Soda on its own does not do that for me, Bill, so I don't think I'm far off the mark in guessing you have something harder in that frosty, frosty glass.

There are morons on the milk, eejits on the eggs, twats on the tuna and beyatches on the body wash. It's all assuming a level of intimacy that I'm not really interested in, to tell the truth.

And I just realised something even worse. The ice-cream is more than a little wrong. Vanilla has a nice little white-bread girl banging on about how soft and creamy it is (wait, wasn't that the husky-fur toilet paper?) but right next to it in the freezer is the Neapolitan ice-cream, which - oh, look! - has a little girl who looks like she might have a Mediterranean background, saying that she likes the strawberry best. Yes, I like the strawberry too, but why isn't the cute little Italian girl enthusing about the vanilla ice-cream and the little white-bread girl telling everyone how great the Neapolitan is? Is it because Coles thinks Neapolitan is un-Australian?

Now that I've given this proper thought, I'm a lot less amused. Why haven't I noticed any Asian people carrying on about any of these products? Admittedly, I haven't looked in the Asian foods aisle for the You'll Love Coles Brand (TM) rice noodles, sambal oelek or natto, but that shouldn't be the point. I don't think Coles stocks wattle seeds or bush tomatoes either, but I'm sure the Evil Ad People will find a lovely, clean, smiley Aboriginal person to tell everyone just how great it is when they do.

I've got a radical idea. What about Coles uses someone who isn't (as the police reports say) "of Caucasian appearance" to market one of its perfectly normal product that everyone uses? You know, mix things up and use an Indian person on the canned tomatoes and an Asian person on the meat pies? Wouldn't that be nice?

C'mon, Coles, I'm waiting!

PS By the way, I'm off to the Bland Canyon tomorrow to continue blogsitting for the lovely Petstarr while she is off galivanting, so if you're Idol-inclined, do come and visit me there.



At 9:36 pm, November 18, 2006, Blogger MadameBoffin said...

This is exactly why I prefer markets to malls. Supermarkets are convenient but you have to sacrifice price, quality, variety and your sanity.

Prediction: instead of saying someone went postal, I predict we'll start saying that someone went bi-lo ;)

At 11:42 pm, November 18, 2006, Blogger Steph said...

I don't shop at Coles because i loathe and despise Lisa McCune.

At 10:11 am, November 19, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Sadly, guys, I'm a prisoner of catfood brands. You can't get Purr, Mr F's favourite, anywhere else and telling a cat to get over it is rather like suggesting John Howard might like to rethink Work Choices for the good of the country.

Yes, Steph, Lisa McCune shits me to tears too. How un-Australian of us ;) I've been waiting for her to get a Logie for her manky Coles ads though, knowing the stupidity of most of the Australian public.

At 1:30 pm, November 19, 2006, Blogger foodkitty said...

Ah! Coles rage! One of my favourite subjects. I have to agree with Steph and Redcap, Lisa McCune irritates the pants of me. I didn't mind the smug ad about the queuing (yeah, right, always invite the last person in the queue to join the newly opened checkout), but trying to convince me that Coles has my better interests at heart by forcing costs down the supply chain and making farmers package things ready for the display shelf....nasty Mr Coles. But I will go there when they have Quilton on special.

At 1:31 pm, November 19, 2006, Blogger foodkitty said...

ps looking forward to tonight's episode @ bland canyon.

At 10:15 pm, November 19, 2006, Blogger Scorpy said...

Ok...I hate Lisa McCune Too!!!!!! I also hate the fact that they use dogs for Dunny Roll ads. Dogs should be used for Car ads, Beer ads and....well thats it really. Just man stuff :)

At 9:18 am, November 20, 2006, Anonymous Ms Batville said...

Good post. There is a check out girl at my local Coles who comments on your purchases. "Oh, tampons and Tim Tams, we know what time of month it is don't we"

At 10:07 am, November 20, 2006, Anonymous MikeFitz said...

Us old blokes with limited cooking experience are sent on shopping missions with a long list because we are not authorised to make independent purchase decisions. Now, because we are also going blind, we rely heavily on consistent packaging and supermarket layout to find stuff. I hate it when those evil Ad people randomly change the packaging and force me to start reading labels again.

Even worse, however, is when Mrs Fitz discovers a new recipie in one of those supermarket mags. I'll subsequently find on my list something like... Item 39: Garam Marsala

WTF? Never heard of it. What is it? Maybe it's an asian spice? - I end up reading 1000 tiny, poorly-translated labels on everything in the asian foods section. Didn't find it. Maybe it's a cleaning product? - More labels on products with names like "Shazam", "Pow" and "Biff", this time, scouring the list of active ingredients desperately hoping to find "garam marsala". Maybe it's a herb? - Over to the fruit & veg section for more labels.

Eventually, I'm desperate enough to overcome a bloke's natural reticence to asking directions. But emo-kid shop assistant looks blank and asks "Have you tried the cleaning products section?" Aaarrgh!

But wait! An idea! Maybe it's something I'll find in the bottle shop? - That's right next to the pub! Next time, I'm so starting my search right there.

At 12:19 pm, November 20, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Foodkitty, you're right - nasty, nasty Mr Coles! Terrible farmer exploitation, especially when he just puts the boxes in the fridge for a year!

Scorpy, Lisa's not getting many votes here, is she? But what about rat dogs? Is it open season on them?

Ms Batville, thanks! :) I'll bet that check-out chick has the shortest queues in the place, though. I had one tell me her life story a couple of weeks back - in the 10 items or less lane.

Mike, ooh, I like the idea of starting the shopping with a visit to the pub. Well done for doing the shopping in the first place, though. I can't take Bloke into supermarkets, or he skates down the aisles on the trolley. In front of people.

At 3:39 pm, November 20, 2006, Blogger mushroom said...

I'm with you on that one steph...she shits me to tears, but the brandpower girl...hubba hubba

At 9:10 am, November 22, 2006, Blogger comicstriphero said...

Heh heh. So many chuckles.


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