[please note: erm, fine line between fact and fiction]
Notice the globe in the old logo?
Josef, when he was young and hip
Coles, like most evil things, began in Tasmania in 1910. Josef Coles was the son of a poor shopkeeper. As there was only one runt school in Tasmania at the time, Josef was thrust into dynamic Tasmanian society at a young age. With his sallow complexion, greasy hair and lowly credentials, Josef was often bullied along with other poor farmers and villagers by the children of richer farmers. Generally, the richer farmers were those that produced cheese, and children such as Joshua Greville, heir to the King Island Dairy Company, would spend their leisure time hiding odorous camembert in Josef’s room. But shoving blue vein in Josef’s hair was an all-round favourite.
“Oh Graham, let them eat brie”
Josef, embittered after years of cheese-related assault and intimidation, dreamt of the day that the oppressed Taswegians could revolt against these cheese makers, a day where he could have revenge on these kulaks ‘who fatten off famine and brie’.
He left school and found employment on the estates of rich families in Hobart as a releaser of the hounds, a role which he secretly relished. It was during this time that he established “Brie-Watch”, an underground journal inciting hatred for the higher cheeses and championing more proletarian cheeses, such as Coon. However, he was soon apprehended and banished from the realm of Tasmania.
Josef’s confidante cat, Rinky
Exiled and spirit-crushed, Josef wandered the streets of Melbourne, thirsting for the total liquidation of Tasmania’s brie elite. He decided that he needed to create some mechanism by which to gain control of the cheese industry and then slowly but surely bring them to their knees by reducing their prices and brand reputations. This would be achieved by ruthless efficiency, collectivisation of products, the destruction of a free market economy, by … a supermarket.
One by one, the great cheese families of Tasmania began to fall (except for the King Island Dairy family, whose reputation survived through sheer isolation on the notoriously inaccessible King Island).
“Coles, ‘something better every day!’”
From his lair in Hawthorn (unaffectionately known by farmers and suppliers to this day as ‘battlestar galactica’), Josef concocted evil things like locating daily needs (e.g. milk and eggs) as far apart as possible within a supermarket and instead of buying local produce, buying it from the furthest corners of the globe. Josef rarely went out into society, fearing an assassination attempt by the King Island Dairy family, and consequently grew very lonesome amongst his conquests. He was further troubled by acute deafness, owing to a ginormous bell he had commissioned to ring at the headquarters every time a supplier or farmer had to prostrate themselves before the Coles globe logo. As prosperous farmers and independent grocers (‘hoarders’) were crushed under his heel like bugs, an empire was born.
Proof of Coles New World
Josef’s lack of consumption of high-fat cheeses afforded him unnaturally long life. By the 1980s, Josef started to look beyond the confines of his small island home – he saw the opportunity to annihilate the ‘cream of the crop’ of Australia in a vision of the New World, which he then decided to incorporate into the Coles manifesto and brand.
One evening, Josef encountered Suzie, a spunky check-out chick, on one of his store visits. She had a randy smile and an allure that was rare among the snaggle-toothed Coles staff. In the throes of his solitude, he met Suzie in the drinks aisle after hours. She said something stupid like I love you and before anyone knew it, a fully fledged Italian-inspired bunga bunga party was held at the Coles headquarters and Suzie and Josef did the rumpy pumpy.
Suzie, letting her hair out at the Coles Bunga Bunga party
As care-free as their sexual encounter had been, Josef at the time had not considered the seriousness of playing the Vatican roulette: Suzie had fallen pregnant. For a brief moment, they were simultaneously overjoyed. But as the expectant mother of the heir to the Coles empire, she had gotten herself into a position of privilege, a position of command.
What he had not anticipated was that Suzie had a political agenda of her own: independence for Western Australia – power to Perth. A spy sent from Westfarmers, Suzie had been smuggled in from Perth with the uncompromisable goal of the secession of Western Australia from ‘those other parasite states’ and ‘the wise men from the east’. With Bunnings already in their grasp (‘lowest prices are just the beginning’), all they needed was Coles in order to relinquish supreme chaos when the time was ripe. The sacking of Canberra would be on the horizon, the flames of Parliament House visible from Cottesloe.
Suzie demanded the transfer of Coles to Westfarmers on pain of the destruction of the Coles empire. Josef had to capitulate to her wishes, and helpless to prevent it, Coles began stocking very minimal portions of soft cheeses.
[moral of story: buy local, or at least go IGA!]
P.S. For more, erm, ‘exact’ information on Australian supermarkets and positive purchasing choices … ethical.org.au localharvest.org.au
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