The Brand Variety Game – Choice or Compulsion?

Anyone who shops for groceries at Coles would have noticed the diminishing brand variety over the last few months – or you may be oblivious to it, if you only buy the brands that remain on the shelves. I used to whinge about it, and swore I would never shop there again, until I reconsidered the situation.

I admit I’m a bit of a brand loyalist, and I ran in to the nearest Coles one day to grab a couple of specific items in a hurry, and left with none of them. A lot of the products they had previously stocked were gone, and most items were down to two or three choices – Coles’ brand and one or two other well-known brands (Schweppes, Arnotts, Unilever etc.). And, you guessed it, most of “my” brands were no longer on the shelves. Hence, my boycott. (Apropos their choice of stocked brands, Schweppes also make the Coles-brand version of their soft drinks, and perhaps it is a similar story with other “low-variety” items.) Continue reading

A Ghost of an Idea

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

– William Morris

There is so much STUFF in the world.  Once upon a time newspapers were printed once a week.  Magazines (or periodicals) were mostly available through the post by subscription, or a small amount of copies were sold at city newsstands. Clothes and shoes were made on demand, only when they were needed.  Milk was delivered only to customers that ordered it.  Gift-giving occasions (Christmas, birthdays, Mothers Day, Easter etc.) were more tradition and family-based than present-based, and one or two thoughtful, quality items were considered more worthy of a ‘gift’ than multiple, cheap and useless items. Continue reading