TRY ME!!!/Don’t try me!!!!!

More shelf-edge goodness comes to us courtesy of Woolworths who are becoming confusingly selective when offering freebies in their fruit section. Take this example which I spotted (in their fruit section) just this morning:

What Woolies appear to have done is to alter their policy on the TRY ME!!! freebies which they use to tempt you into purchasing their (usually very decent) fruit.
It used to be the case that they would lay out some of their wares openly with the invitation TRY ME!!!, at which point, one could delve into said wares and taste them whilst trying to forget that other people’s hands had been in there too.
But Woolies seem to have cottoned on to the fact that this was not very hygienic and have now boxed their TRY ME!!! offers – as you can see with the strawberries above.
But then the poorly-photographed dates on the left (the store manager was rapidly approaching as I took it) have me confused. As you can see, This is NOT a try me!!!!!, but is a try me!!!!! different to a TRY ME!!!? And if This is NOT a try me!!!!!, then why are the dates unpackaged and ready for TRYing, while the TRY ME!!! strawberries are all sealed in punnets?

Using my nifty footwork to sidestep the rapidly approaching – and seemingly irate  – manager and applying my scientific logic to the situation, I made some rudimentary calculations. And I worked out (by extrapolation of the data gathered thus far) that anything in Woolies which was in any sort of packaging was obviously a TRY ME!!! whereas anything which was open on the shelves is NOT a try me!!!!!.

I began to look around and was instantly greeted by a whole heap of freebie opportunities. Virtually everything was packaged and therefore available for sampling.
Since I was in the vicinity, I started with some fruit. The strawberries seemed appropriate and were very tasty. I then moved on to enjoy a messy (yet satisfying) breakfast snack of wholenut muesli and plain yoghurt (750g and 500ml respectively) while wandering around looking for chocolate and beer. I passed the homeware section, which (with hindsight) would have been a sensible place to unpack a bowl from the boxed 12-piece porcelain dinner set for my breakfast combo. R199 all in, unless you’re TRYing it in the shop, in which case, it’s free.

It was at this point I noticed that I had dribbled plain yoghurt down the front of my jeans in a rather embarrassing fashion. The worst of it was cleaned up using pre-packaged Woolies kitchen cloths (R19.95 for pack of 5) and the rest of it will come out in the wash this evening, thanks to the mugful (mug from the R15.95 porcelain range – brightly coloured, holds washing powder well, but it’s just a mug) of washing powder I chose to TRY!!! (1kg Skip Biological, R35).

I was contemplating which of the wide variety of toothpastes to test out with my recently unpackaged Oral B toothbrush when I was grabbed from behind by two burly checkout girls and a security guy and literally flung from the shop. I could have been quite badly hurt if it weren’t for the Nautilus scatter cushion (R160) I was holding at the time which thankfully broke my fall.

I can only imagine that the manager was not happy with me taking photographs in his shop. I guess I should have asked permission first. Maybe I’ll give him a little bit of time to calm down and then pop in later to apologise and sample some free dinner.

It’s all lies – the myth of the unripe nectarines

Never believe a thing they tell you.

It all began when the buyer, new to the job, went out to the nectarine farms. His inexperience was quickly detected by the evil nectarine farmers who had barns filled with dud fruit.
They’re not ripe, they’ll never be ripe.
But the buyer didn’t know that. He’ll take the lot, please.
Here’s the fat cheque – put them on the back of the lorries.

Once back at the warehouse, the managers were aghast: money down the drain – we can’t sell unripe nectarines. In this terrible financial climate as well. We’re for the chop once Mr Woolworth hears of this. If only there was some way out. But there isn’t.


It’s brilliant. And we’ll put “KEEP REFRIGERATED” on them right underneath the bit where we say “will ripen in 2-3 days at room temperature”. Confusion will reign.
And before anyone knows what’s going on, we’ll have sold the whole lot and the customers will only have themselves to blame for believing us and keeping them in the fridge.
Or not keeping them in the fridge. Whatever.
It’s a win-win situation. Unless they want to eat the nectarines.
Which they won’t, because they’ll never get ripe.


littleworld update

Incoming from Nicole – who commented on the original littleworld post:

I received a (short and sweet) reply from Anita Scott, Customer Service Head at Woolworths to the email I sent her about this issue.

“Dear Nicole
 Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will respond to the customer.”

Her email was sent at 11:30am on Thursday 18th June. Please let me know if you actually do hear from her.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks, Nicole.

I can safely say, 25 hours on from her email to you, that no-one from Woolworths has got in touch with me.
I’ll keep you updated.

Woolworths – in their own littleworld

Over here in SA, we have our own Woolworths. It’s completely unconnected with the UK Woolworths which finally died the death in a blaze of media coverage in January. Our Woolies is more akin to Marks & Spencer, with food prices to match.  

I occasionally pop in to Woolworths, usually for fresh produce – flowers, fruit, fish and meat – which, although a little expensive, will at least last until the use by date, as opposed to Pick n Pay stuff which is rotten by the time you get it home. Also, their kids meals and baby food are excellent. So yes, I’m a fan of Woolies. Or rather – I was.

While in their Milner Road store the other day, I spotted a leaflet advertising their littleworld programme, whereby when you buy kids food, kids clothes, kids accessories etc, you can get “a world of rewards for mother and child”, including (but not limited to) pampering at a spa, discounts on magazine subscriptions, a free muffin at W café, exclusive Woolworths vouchers and free entry into competitions and prize draws, as well as a newsletter with helpful expert advice on raising your child.

Sounds great, as I like muffins, I enjoy buying nice stuff for my kids and – of course – I want to raise them the best I can.
Except – I’m not a mum. I’m a dad. So apparently, I’m not welcome.

Check the terms and conditions:

Mothers of children between the ages of 0 to 6 years are invited to join the littleworld programme, as are mothers-to-be, grandmothers, aunts or anyone who loves shopping for little ones.

Now – I don’t want to appear over-sensitive or anything, but that list does appear to be ever so slightly female-orientated. This is very much the same as the non-progressive shopping malls with their “mother and child” parking bays and the baby changing facilities in the ladies loos.
In this country with its model Constitution – and moreover from Woolworths, one of the flagship brands in SA – you would really expect more inclusive policies, programmes and offers. 

And yes, I’m sure I fall neatly into the last category on that list from their leaflet, but that’s really not the point. 
Admittedly I’m not a business or consumer expert, but even I can see the common sense in thinking about the messages you’re sending out before you launch a new programme like this. I recognise that there is a specific target market for this programme. But I think they chose the wrong target market.
Can only women bring up children now? Don’t fathers count? Granddads, uncles? And if we do exist, then why can’t we have some reward or thanks for using Woolies products for our children?

It’s not so hard. I don’t see anything there that would be lost if the leaflet read “a world of rewards for parent and child”. Or if they included some male relatives in the “who can join” section. Or even if they just didn’t include the examples of “other” people who can join.
But instead, they really seem to have gone out of their way in order to exclude fathers – and frankly, that is a big disappointment.

EDIT: Update, 19th June 2009