19 July 2010

Home Brands For The Home Bodies

Since I got back to Oz I have not yet been employed. As such, the plan has been TO SPEND AS LITTLE MONEY AS POSSIBLE. No eating out, no cocktails out, and only occasional - as in twice since I returned - activities. One of the most delightful aspects of this new-found minimalist budget has been grocery shopping.

Josh and I tended to do “a shop” at the local supermarket. Well, it’s a city supermarket and Australia has no predatory pricing laws, which means a grocery store in the city can charge more than a grocery story in the suburbs based solely on the fact that they believe people have more money. Now that’s messed up. As such, we’ve been high-tailing it to a much larger still-city-but-not-as-city Woolworth’s to indulge in the glory and wonder that is “Woolworth’s Home Brand.”

Let me start by saying that I have no problem AT ALL buying generic. Often times the contents are even produced in the same factory as the “name” brands and you’re saving upwards of 30% on the shelf. What I do have a problem with is how incredibly unappetizing every product appears when it’s being hawked as the store brand. I mean, my god, can’t we on a budget be enticed by packaging too?

Every single product - whether it’s bread, crackers, milk, or hair gel - is wrapped in plain white plastic. Every. Single. Product. The literal item inside - styling mousse, paper towel, or multigrain sandwich bread - is emblazoned in enormous block letters (usually in Arial font) proclaiming loud and clear what it is you can’t afford in “name brand.” I don’t mean this in a bad way at all. Lots of people buy store brand and it’s great, but when does someone selectively buy EVERY SINGLE ITEM in store brand? Baked beans? Store brand. Lemon cola? Store brand. Tuna? Store brand. Our cart was a sea of white accented by the entire computer font chart from a 1993 PowerMac.

The good news? Why, our bill of course! $100 for 10 days of food. That’s $5 per-person, per-day, in AUSTRALIA where everything is wildly expensive. Needless to say, we’re rather proud of ourselves and I plan to keep it up even when I am employed, should that day ever come...


Kyle Taylor

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