Posts Tagged ‘Coles’

Getting down to Earth

February 2, 2017

img_1059the-heat

With the heat of the last few days in retreat, I’ll try and revive a few more words. Words tend to wilt with anything over 26c. If not wilt, melt. Like butterfly into buterfy or wedding into bedding. Letters faint, drop off. In the meantime. Let me recall some of the last few days. Of course, the minimum requirements during heat are plenty of electric fans. The double glazing is fine when the nights cool off. Eventually everything gets hot and an itchiness develops to just survive breathing in and out.

One of the advantages of large shopping malls or even small ones is that they are air-conditioned. Dire warnings for elderly to stay well hydrated, avoid sun sugar seek shelter, stay calm. It wasn’t helped reading more people die of heat than drownings. We sought refuge in Aldi, just sauntering around the oranges and broccolini. It is amazing though that the the big ones such as Woolworth and Coles that advertise on the Telly, are losing custom. You won’t see Aldi on TV. Yet Aldi is taking away shoppers in droves from the big supermarkets. It are the Mercedes and BMW’s that now glide in and out of Aldi’s parking stations.

Svelte bouffant blonde ladies carefully going over the specials, bending over sweet potatoes, fingering the carrots that one is likely to encounter at Aldi now. Men in Country Road shirts, camouflaged shorts with many pockets lingering around the tool section, contemplating sets of spanners or paper shredders. It is so relaxing. An escape from heat. I wonder if taking a couple of easy fold-out chairs into the air-conditioned splendour of Aldi would be objected to? I mean a couple of oldies just taking it easy?

During one hot night. I took to extremes. A fold-out bed under the fan. Desperate measure.  The fold-out bed is about twenty centimetres above floor level. Pretty handy, I thought. A bit like going back to my camping days. But, again for each progressive move forward, a punitive counter move. With the much lower centre of gravity I could not get up when a call of nature beckoned. Let me tell you. Getting older is in direct proportion to toilet breaks. The less years ahead the more toilet breaks are engaged in. After a few attempts in trying to get up by using available leverage I found out my limitations.  Sitting up was achieved but not actually standing up. I felt helpless. I needed nurse. I considered just letting it just flow all out. Who cares?

The mind gets active in emergencies. I thought that if I rolled out onto the floor first I might just be able to get up by the help of the coffee table next to the bed. I managed to do just that. I first dropped my feet on the floor, followed by legs, than my torso, chest accompanied by neck and attached head. I rolled over and by arching my knees managed to get enough off myself  from the tiled floor to reach the top of the coffee table. The rest was easily managed. I felt so proud. Almost did a Tarzan’s jungle call but thought it would alarm Helvi. She slept well elevated above ground level in our communal bed. I went to the toilet triumphantly.

Another handy hint during the present heat-wave is for the elderly to seek shelter in the local hospital. We are living right next to not one but two hospitals.  A public hospital and a private one. The Public hospital use blue-tack and sticky -tape while the Private hospital  gives you a free pen to sign over your wallet.  One could just find some excuse or ailment and take a comfy chair in the emergency department. They often have lots of magazines. Many waiting patients can be engaged with comparing levels of ailments or the latest government pension cut backs. The wait for triage nurse always a thing to look forward to. Her soft caring hands wrapping the different bodily measurements equipment around your arms. I tell you, it is not a bad option.

Think about it!

Is Christmas over yet?

December 25, 2015

 

Daughter with our grandsons

Daughter with our grandsons

Christmas Eve was spent at our daughter and grandsons place. It was a surprisingly good and enjoyable day. We arrived with four boxes. Two boxes of presents and two with food. It always helps to fill out the space underneath the Christmas tree with as much bulk as possible. Isn’t most of the excitement in opening the presents, especially for the boys? The sound of tearing  the wrapping paper a much anticipated relief from circular and endless Christmas carols. No more Bing Crosby singing ‘dreaming of a white Christmas’ for yet another year! I am definitely so over carols.

Our boys are getting bigger and so are expectations of presents with a bit more substance than water pistols or Batman paraphernalia. But we also thought that their request, ‘Just give us money’  was a bit too un-Christmas-like if not a trifle materialistic. In any case, we already  supplement their weekly pocket money as it is. We pointed this out to them. Grandparents have to use all their life-long attained wisdom to try steer their progeny through the rubble and maze of lax modernity and terrible addictions of consumerism. We always relate how we went to school with a banana or biscuit sandwich. They just ignore us.

Did any of you go to the Shopping malls on the last day before Christmas? I thought it had a nice vibe and people were generally friendlier than last year. A complete stranger pointed out a vacant automatic cash register to me. I thought that after I paid up for my bag of food and tinsel, the message of ‘Thank you for shopping at Coles Supermarket’ had a very nice and heart-warming ring to it.  A girl with a red sloppy father Christmas hat on was even offering me some very nice pieces of ham which were on the end of a tooth pick. I went around the supermarket and had another helping of the double smoked ham (Off the bone). This time I did not put the toothpick back amongst the rest of the offerings.

We now have a huge and almost  complete ham on the bone resting in the fridge. Helvi swears it is best to keep it wrapped in a wet tea-towel. The family did their best to eat ham. But, there was also an oven dish in which I cooked potato and leek in cream garnished with fried bacon pieces and of course the obligatory anchovies, half a kilo of smoked salmon, numerous salads and endless plates of nuts, olives and hors d’oeuvre   that some of us dipped in afterwards. A nice Pavlova with lots of berry fruit finished it off very nicely.

Despite my determination not to slavishly follow the hordes of shoppers in overstocking on food, I failed, especially in throwing all caution to the wind buying this huge slab of a Porker of a  leg-ham. I bet, it will be Milo who will get most of it. He already seen me taking it out of the fridge, hacking into it.

He knows!

Has anyone spotted Easter eggs yet?

 

Overcoming the Sunday. (Handy hints)

September 27, 2015

IMG_0618home

Soon it will be dark.  It is reassuring that Monday always follows a Sunday. This is what we must cling too, no matter how slow the Sunday is passing. On our daily walk we noticed even nature was struggling  with a bad case of Sunday gloom. The tulips were a bit despondent with the Camellia buds rotting even better than normal. The morning is usually the least gloomy and for some the best part. Many get the Sunday paper, scan the adds for Fiji holidays or  three metre TVs with inbuilt DVD capability. After that, many will settle for sweaty rugby or tennis ball whacking. The rot sets in after that.

‘Don’t go to Australia my friends warned me back in 1956, there too is the dreaded English Sunday.’ No one ever went to England for a holiday. France, Spain or even Austria and Germany were preferred. As it was, each time we arrived back to Australia our first port of call was Fremantle, worse…  on a Sunday too. The English Sunday always held some notoriety as being very peaceful and dormant, and more than just quiet. Many Continental friends keen to spread bad tidings told us that you could not get a beer on Sunday. Can one imagine? The very day that one would go out with family ,visit a café and perhaps enjoy a beer or even a shifter of advocaat or jenever on the one day off, the Sunday in Australia forbade all that. It would be many years before a beer would be allowed on Sunday.

Of course, all that has changed. England rocks and as young people will testify..it is really cool there now. Australia is now being swamped with tourists looking for excitement and space to move around without having to wear oxygen masks or be shot at. Even so, I am still struggling with passing the Sunday. I try and remain optimistic and look for things to happen. The Bowral tulip festival is one good escape, even if just to watch all the tourists. Another one is to prepare for a really complicated dish needing lots of ingredients that you might have to go and shop at Aldi for. Aldi shopping is one of the greatest Sunday gloom escape diversions to engage in. I relish the chance and go each Sunday. Of course, some of you might prefer Woollies or Coles. Each to their own. It all helps and we have to stand together in overcoming a Sunday.

On Sunday many products get down-priced as the date of expiration gets closer. You can observe customers carefully weighing up the pros and cons of getting a discounted meat product against the risk of a bout of intestinal hurry. What to do with a pig’s trotter that is one day from extinction? Or what to make of a slightly discoloured packet of double smoked ham but for a mouth-watering $1.50? Or a suspiciously pale looking salmon cutlet, but for $3.99?  Should it be taken home and the discounted ticket peeled off with the suspicious husband left in the dark. What to do with your conscience, especially after he is doubled over the porcelain bowl heaving and wracked with dreadful diarrhoea? There has to be a limit. Be careful, don’t overdo escaping the Sunday. You would not want to be charged with manslaughter.

Many take to gardening in the Sunday afternoon. The lawnmower taken out. A bag of soil opened, a plant to be potted. Discussions about the state of this year’s Hellebores. Questioning the state of mites on up-coming roses. Is it too early yet for the white-oil? Should the shears be sharpened, the shed re-organised?  The ingenuity of the Sunday escapee knows no bounds. A good husband might offer help in the kitchen. ‘Would you like me to spin the lettuce, darling,’ I overheard our neighbour saying. It was a particularly bad and difficult Sunday but it helped him pull through.

All of a sudden it was 6.30 pm and we rushed to the SBS News. Then at 7,the ABC. A quick glance at e-mail and at 9.30 in bed.

It will soon be over…glorious Monday is knocking.

Shopping (again)

March 18, 2015

imagesLoaves and fishes

It seems that the large super markets are getting less popular. None too late. By the time the car has found a parking spot, their owners are almost ready to give up an lie down somewhere behind a solid concrete column, between fading windswept catalogues and screaming shopping enticements. ‘Free this and Free that.’ Mothers  are wrenching giant triple story Syrian tank like prams out of the car, sobbing in tune with  children choking on  lollypops and angst inducing vibrating IPhone. A calamity waiting for a jovial funeral director! It is no wonder they are in decline. It was too much, too large and all too spread out. Too much choice, too little service and exhaustingly depressive.

A couple of German billionaires took on the huge super market domination of shopping and are now reaping the benefits. They call their shops ‘Aldi’. They are to be found all over the world but they remain in the hands of private owners and are not publicly listed. They generally are all of a modest size and do not provide, (the enemy of our ecology but much loved by the capitalist word,)   plastic shopping bags, nor do they allow their shopping trolleys to be skated around suburbia only to end up around telegraph poles or in the local creek. They ask for a deposit before being released. They had that system back in Holland decades ago when I was still a young man , brimming with optimism and joy de vivre but also with some early burgeoning signs of a clear-sighted despair as well. ( not totally unfounded.)

Most of their products are Aldi brands and have simple direct exterior packaging doubling as display as well as being the product. The stores themselves are small to walk around and one doesn’t have to go on a day-long hike, risking dehydration, to find the elusively shy toothpaste or the brazen Spanish salami.

The giant supermarkets in Australia, Woolworth and Coles are now rapidly losing market share with a sagging share price. Aldi is becoming the popular way of shopping. At least 20% cheaper on everything especially groceries.

Here an extract of the philosophy of Aldi, by Der Spiegel.

“It took until the end of the 1990s for the product lines to change, in line with society, gradually and subtly, but with remarkable consequences. Smoked salmon replaced broad beans, Montepulciano wine lined shelves previously crammed with standard German Schnapps. And even middle-class consumers or good earners felt pleased with themselves when they wheeled an Aldi PC out of the store.

Aldi’s firmly established presence in everyday German laugh contrasts with a dearth of information about its founders. The secrecy they shrouded themselves in at times seemed ridiculous. Questions to the management had to be submitted by fax. They rarely elicited an answer. This was generally attributed to the traumatic kidnapping of Theo Albrecht in 1971.

No entrepreneur and no company celebrated its own reclusiveness as rigidly as Aldi. The company would say that its founders had nothing to say because they were concentrating on the business. The company had grown because it did not feed a curious public with news, a close confidante once said, describing Theo’s creed.

Enthusiasm, Perfectionism and Absolute Thrift

In Aldi’s world, open communication was regarded as a mistake, or at least as a waste of time. Anyone who broke that code was a traitor. Almost everyone who provides information on the family or the company does so on condition of anonymity.

Enthusiasm for the product, perfectionism and absolute thrift — those were the secrets of success for the Albrecht brothers. High-ranking executives would dig old pencils out of their desk drawers whenever one of the brothers paid them a visit, just to avoid causing any suspicion that they were wasting office supplies.

For decades, the brothers have focused on what they consider to be the essentials: the best quality product at the lowest possible price.

In the process, Aldi’s product range has always remained relatively limited. The supermarket chain sells around 1,000 different articles. By comparison, the US retail giant Wal-Mart stocks up to 50,000 different products. But anyone who has ever stood looking at a supermarket shelf featuring 28 different kinds of fruit yogurt knows that sometimes less is more.

“From the beginning, Aldi has always focused on two, or a maximum three, varieties of a product, thereby helping the customer by making a useful pre-selection,” says Thomas Roeb, a retail expert and former Aldi manager.”