Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Food for thought ...

I'm not happy Jamie Oliver.
I'm sure you're a very lovely man. You seem like a caring husband and doting Dad.
I love that you want us all to eat our vegetables, and learn to cook good food fast rather than opt for takeaway that might kill us.
I even use a lot of your recipes - your Yorkshire Puddings are tops (though I'm not sure how good for us they are) - and Miss 11 and I quite enjoy sitting down to watch your shows.
But I'm pissed off at the current Jamie's Garden promotion at Woolworths.
Billed as Jamie's 'super-fun' fruit and vegetable garden adventure, the campaign aims to teach children (and adults I suppose) about healthy eating. There are a staggering 128 stickers to painstakingly collect, since you only get 1 pack for every $20 spent. And even at the rate at which my lot hoover up food, that takes a long time to collect, particularly when many stickers are copies.
I hate the whole card/sticker collection idea. It ends up with kids begging me to shop at Woollies. We've already been through the animal cards, and then the Dreamworks versions. And yes, I'm a Mean Mumma and don't shop at particular stores just because, but it still makes me cranky, because Pester Power is annoying.
Plus, because I am tight  budget-conscious, I refuse to be one of those parents who throws a magazine or a couple of chocolate bars onto the counter, just to get over the $20 mark. (Tech Guy, though, is another story. He can't resist Miss 11's pleading puppy dog eyes ...)
And the shop assistants will not give you an extra card, even if you spend $39.95 instead of $40. No amount of pleading or Harmonie's stage whisper: ("I thought she would give us an extra sticker Mum") will goad them into it. Nor will they give you the cards for the person before you who has just spent $400, but declined to collect.
(If said shopper is particularly nice, they will often offer to give you their stickers. God bless their souls).
Don't get me started on the fact that there are kids who don't even have a Woolworths in their area, so they miss out completely. So I really shouldn't complain.
Luckily, Mr 13 has grown out of collection fever, but Miss 11 is a huge fan. Both of you, Jamie, and your bloody stickers. It doesn't help that she loves gardening, growing her own food, planning our meals, and cooking as well. (See? Your work here is done).
So we are collecting, and this is the result ...

Jamie Oliver stickers and cards littered all over the house. The lounge, the floor, her bedroom, even the toilet for God's sake, are not safe from Jamie's Garden paraphenalia.

I shelled out $5 for a book for her to store her stickers in. She made a start, but still her stash appears to mate and spread throughout the house.

Then I weakened and bought an actual greenhouse to grow herbs in one day when it was on special. Reduced from $10.75 to $8, it came boxed up and looked like reasonable valuable, coming with seeds and dirt required to grow cress, chives, basil and coriander.

Doesn't it look pretty?

I can tell you it was a bugger of a thing to put together. Harmonie and I struggled for nearly two hours to put the damn thing together, but it was fiddly and really hard to push the plastic into shape. There were tears and tantrums, and that was just from me! In the end, we called for Tech Guy. Even he battled for some time, and several swear words were muttered before he emerged triumphant.

The mini greenhouse was really mini. As in tiny. Flimsy. I doubt it would survive more than five minutes in our chilly Kingaroy garden, or busy household of children and pets. Seriously, we'd have been better off sticking to our tried and tested method of growing plants in pots by the back door, for easy access, or in the garden, where they can run wild. We've still got to plant the bloody seeds, but quite frankly, I'm not sure I can cope with the pressure.

Sure, the Jamie's Garden range is cute and all. Some of the stickers are 3D-ish, and some are scratch and sniff. There are cute soft veggie characters to buy (note buy - it all costs money), and quite frankly I can't see how buying a child a phallic vegetable toy is going to make them eat said veggie. Yes, growing and cooking that veggie and making it taste yummy is the way to go, but do we have to be ripping off parents left, right and centre to do so? 

I'm particularly fond of Mr Broccoli. Reminds me of something ...

It's not parents who are left worse off by these kind of campaigns. Aussie farmers and suppliers have revealed they have been slugged with a so-called voluntary contribution towards the Jamie's Garden advertising campaign. While the Woolies people say suppliers aren't penalised if they don't pay up, farmers and growers fear their contracts will be compromised if they do not contribute.

Ausveg claims that growers will be slugged up to $300,000 due to the levy - which they feel would be far more appropriate being met by the company, which posted a $1.32 billion net profit in February.

So, while I once had a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, this whole money-making collection campaign has left rather a bad taste in my mouth. 

What has pissed you off lately? 


jmpeace said...

Didn't know about that levy!! That's nasty. We have cards strewn everywhere except in the book... I like the one where you rub the vegies to see what they look like underground, they have more merit than the stupid Dreamworks ones. Our checkout operators are bit more generous too, I think. I got the ones from the man in front of me, without asking.

Melissa said...

I've started avoiding Woolies for my weekly shop - I just can't be bothered with another round of collectibles. I was OK with the animal cards (one my kids LOVES animals) and grudgingly got the Dreamworks cards, but didn't make an effort to get any extras to fill gaps, but another one on top of it - NO WAY.
Our Woolies must be more generous than yours as we would often get a few extras.

In The Good Books Blog said...

I was initially excited about the idea; teaching kids about foods, nutrients etc sounded great.
BUT - I had already done the whole Aussie Animals albums TIMES FOUR (one for each of my daughters and my niece!). I actually got most of the cards through swapping through a private group on Facebook (but was wary giving my address to random strangers!)
I refused to go through that again. The girls have probably looked at their Aussie Animals books ten times, if that.
And I don't know what my niece did with hers.
To think I went through so much trouble, even calling over 10 Woolies as they were all out of albums at the time, it just wasn't worth it at all. And it is a rip-off, you need to spend way too much for what you get out of it.

Char said...

Woolworths has really been flogging the cards this year. Haven't they? I'm so sick of being asked if I collect. Clearly I'm not young enough to have kids who would be remotely interested. And knowing that the farmers are being asked to 'voluntarily' contribute - well that leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth.

Unknown said...

Yes, I think it's pretty rich asking Aussie farms to contribute when this is a company which makes a big profit! And I think parents are fed up with the whole collection thing. Occasionally a kind person in front of us will hand us their cards, which is always nice.

EssentiallyJess said...

We don't shop at woolies ever, so my kids have no idea thank goodness! I just hate the collecting things.
Not a big fan of woolies either, to be honest.
Things that are annoying me? Lack of indicator use. It's not hard people!!!

Lydia C. Lee said...

We missed this crazy - thankfully but loom bands got us...

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Lucky for me the family ever since my oldest daughter K was a young one has avoided the who card collecting thing.

Yes they had them back in the year 90's both Coles New World as it was know then & Woolworths

I explained to K as I've explained to A that our budget just doesn't cover that stuff especially if you want to go on holidays somewhere & neither A or K (when I was single mum) have pestered me/us for anything especially when they know it means a extra few days on holidays some where.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

Sarah said...

I think Jamie's great, but it does seem like he's stretched a bit thin and perhaps not thinking through all the different sponsorships and partnerships he's participating in throughout the world. I heard about the farmer levy too - shocking.

I remember when I was a kid, I'd beg my mum to buy me collectible stickers! I never realised how annoying it must have been for her. And now I think about it, I have no idea what I did with any of those things. That marketing is really effective.

Seana Smith said...

Now I have to say that I think the book is very good, high quality and good info for the kids to read and learn... but am very very concenred about farmers being asked to pay for it... not good at all, makes Woollies look terrible and Jamie too.

I've found that it's worth following older couples at the tills as they pass on their cards to my kids!!

kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

that levy sounds awful. I was just damn glad that Boo was totally disinterested in the whole thing.

lilbets said...

I have to say my 2 year old grand daughter loves the cards and Jamie but she doesnt have the book. We just look at the stickers and talk about them

Unknown said...

We don't buy fresh food at woollies any more as "fresh" can be quite a stretch, and I was just geetting sick of it!
I'd love to know Jamies thoughts too The way the big supermarkets treat the farmers in getting that fruit and veg to their supermarkets..?