Coles little shop - are consumers losing the plot?
The media has reported that the move by Coles to back flip on it’s “no plastic bag” policy has actually been motivated by an increase of turnover, caused by the Coles little shop give-aways. This is in direct contrast to their earlier statements, that they had suffered a turn down in sales due to the withdrawal of free bags. Not a smart move by Coles, many will not easily forget.
What I find hard to understand, is the enormous success of the little shop give-aways. Obviously those little tokens are not of any value; I would estimate between 1 and 3 cents to manufacture. If they would be made available for free in large boxes, shoppers would most likely walk straight past them. And very soon, most will end up in a rubbish bin. But Coles have managed again to convince consumers, that these tokens have a collector’s item value. People are advertising them for as much as $ 5 each or $ 280 for a complete collection on gumtree. Facebook sites have been set up for the purpose of swapping them with membership number of 10k. Parents are driving from suburb to suburb to pick up one or two of these items. Wasting hours of time and burning fuel for something worth next to nothing! Parents say, they are collecting them for their kids, but you can clearly see, that the obsession is mostly the parents’. I am sure most of these consumers would happily forgive Coles for the plastic bad debacle, in return for a few more tokens.
When I see all this unfolding, I have growing doubts, that Australian consumers are doing well facing the real issues, that we are confronted with in our shopping habits and with environmental issues related to our consumer behaviour. Are we losing the plot?