Coles’ Little Shop of mini-collectables swap meet at Honeysuckle

Glen Fredericks tells Topics that he has a “fondness for miniatures as part of his toy photography obsession”.

That line itself was enough to grab our attention. 

Glen, who owns Empire Coffee Co at Honeysuckle, is well known for his Star Wars fanaticism, but we had no idea about his love for miniatures [see his imperialcenter Instagram handle].

Readers may have heard of Coles’ Little Shop of grocery miniatures. The supermarket has created 30 mini-collectables of popular brands. For every $30 spent at the checkout, you get a free mini-collectable.

This means tiny little replicas of things like Vegemite, Weet-Bix, Milo and Tim Tams.

Aside from declaring his affection for the collectables, Glen said it did seem “kinda hypocritical that Coles removed plastic bags to save the environment, but then unleashed a flood of little plastic toys”. 

We should add that they’re actually plastic-wrapped plastic toys. Coles copped quite a bit of flak on its Faceache page, but thankfully a public relations person was on hand to respond: “Thanks for your feedback. Coles’ Little Shop of mini-collectables are designed to be long-lasting collectables that you can treasure for an extended period”.

Glen also mentioned that some people think the miniatures are “a bit of a choking hazard if they’re being targeted at young children”.

But we should add that these concerns don’t necessarily change the desire of the collector to collect. When the collecting bug bites, it’s hard for the afflicted to resist it.

Glen said it could be a case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) or a Pokemon-like fever (gotta catch them all!).

He has about half of the Coles’ Little Shop set. He has a few doubles he wants to exchange with other people to help complete the set. He’s holding the “Coles Little Shop Swap Meet” on Sunday at his Honeysuckle cafe from 1pm to 2pm.

Supermarket Psychology

Topics has been following the Coles plastic bag war with a keen eye.

The chain of events seemed to go like this: Coles bans plastic bags. Customers get angry. Coles gives reusable plastic bags away for free indefinitely while customers get used to bringing their own. More anger. Coles says it will again charge 15 cents for reusable bags later this month. 

It’s frightful that the air, water, land and beings are contaminated with plastic. But in the fast-paced, frantic world, changes to routine can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This plastic-bag adjustment seemed to tip some people over the edge. Personally, we’re not too fazed about taking reusable bags to a place of food abundance. Except that we keep forgetting them. 

On The Conversation website, Associate Professor Gary Mortimer and Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett – who lecture in marketing – explained that there had been a “psychological contract between supermarket and shopper”. It went like this: “I’ll shop with you and, in exchange, you’ll pack my purchases into a free plastic bag”. 

“Shoppers began to realise that supermarkets were saving money by no longer giving away bags for nothing, while they themselves incurred a cost – 15 cents or more, depending on the type of reusable bag,” they wrote. Adding insult to injury, the supermarkets had “not kept up their end of the psychological contract by reducing the use of plastic in the store, particularly in packaging”. Their conclusion: “When there is a psychological contract breach, people can engage in revenge and retaliation.”