Woolworths is the Pusher

Oh but the Pusher is a Monster” – Steppenwolf

The military is guilty of a lot of euphemisms. In fact our society in general, loves euphemisms. Anything which is a bit hard to talk about is neatly bound in pretty euphemistic wrapping paper.

He passed away

She is indisposed

She passed wind

They did it

Collateral damage

The phrase “pester power” is one of those euphemisms which is bandied around and it’s a cute term for a disgusting practise. I am furious to see that Woolworths and Coles have entered into rivalry once again, trying to gain attention by giving away plastic toys. This stuff annoys me beyond comprehension.

Our government refuses to lead Australia but, instead, hands the reins over to Big Business. Given almost unfettered control of our “market-lead economy” big companies like Coles and Woolworths use every psychological trick in the book to get what they want. And what is easier than targeting the children? It’s an age-old strategy and it’s age-old because it works.

Parents like me, who are anxious about Climate Change and about Mass Extinction, quiver with rage when our child tells us “Look Mummy! They’re giving away Lion King Toys!” And believe me it’s not rage at our children!

First the ACCC fails to stop the reduction and reduction in the choices of where we can shop. P and I used to avoid Woolworths and use a more local, more ethical competitor. But Coles bought them out and we no longer have much choice. We spread our weekly shop between about 4 shops and the farmers market in an attempt to be as ethical as we know how.

Then Coles and Woolworths advertise these ridiculous toys.

Then our children naturally are taken in the by the toys and the hype.

Then it is up to us parents to reason, cajole, persuade and stamp our feet in an attempt to keep the plastic crap out of our homes and out of landfill to sit and be dangerous to animals for the next several hundred years.

By some piece of luck, my children are not very interested in television or computer games and most of the fads pass us by unheeded. So I was quite shocked when my daughter expressed any interest in the Lion King “Ooshies”. I don’t blame her though. Carefully manipulated psychology is bigger than the reasoning of a young child. In a free market, supply is based on demand. But marketing, to a large extent, dictates demand. As P always says, a free market assumes that the consumers are well informed in their choices. But a child’s choice is not informed by much except desire and a wish to belong.

A child under 18 is not considered old enough to decide which parent (of a divorcing couple) they feel safer with. A child under 18 may not purchase alcohol or cigarettes and may not vote. And yet, big business is free to direct marketing at children shamelessly and without moral compass. Sugary cereals, chocolate bars, lollies, soft drinks, whatever the latest fad is in the world of toys, etc etc.

Those toys at Woolworths shouldn’t be called Ooshies. They should be called Pushies.

And Woolworths is the Pusher. Let’s not be euphemistic about this, hey?

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