Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Tomorrow is here

First, I think you should know that we finally managed to find and buy a pirate ship door on ebay. You know the kind - galleon in full sail speeding across the etched glass waves, very delightfully piratey. It's fractionally too wide for the doorway, but this is the merest detail and will be easily rectified with one or more of the 1,649 tools I have recently purchased from Bunnings.

What is it like not to go to Bunnings every day. It would mean missing out on conversations like this:

Laura: I would like to buy a cat door, please, which aisle are they kept in?

Bunnings chap: Heh, heh! Heh! Cat door! Special door for cats! How many cats do you have? Three? Four? Ten? Probably got heaps!

L: Just the one, why do you ask?

Bc: (points to very small obviously handpainted porcelain badge pinned over L's bosom)I was wondering if that was a photo of your cat.

L: no, ha, no. It's not a photograph.

Bc: What about the one on your tshirt, is that one yours? The one that's smoking a cigarette.

L: no.

Bc:What don't you have a photo of it? Aisle eleven.

* * * *

Or this one:

* * * *

Different Bunnings chap in a Different Bunnings: "Zulu Plain" - what sort of a name for a paint colour is that eh?

Laura: I was thinking myself it was a bit strange. It's whiter than I am. [N.B. it's kind of buff, alas.] I actually was wondering if it mightn't be a little bit - racist?

DBciaDB: (drops paint-can-sealing hammer on bench, takes two steps backwards, raises both hands) whoah there Sallyanne! Hang on a mo! I'm not getting into that and I'm not going there oooh nooo.

L: Oh, no, I don't mean - well, it is sort of a brown...

DBciaDB: Shhh. Shhhh! Shush now. They just mean like the ground in Africa. Where Zulus stand there, on the plain. Not like racist. Nah (shakes head disappointedly) And Zulus aren't brown, anyway, they're black.

* * * *

Even the conversations one only listens to are pleasant and instructive. I was paying for something at a checkout staffed by a tall young woman with abundant luxuriant burnished hair and breasts (and next to her was an older shorter woman also with yellow hair and boobs on display, but slightly less pneumatic.) A third Bunnings lady (shorter still, round, mousy, specs) walked out of the store, cheerfully calling out as she went:

"Bye, have a happy easter and don't eat too much chocolate!"

This greeting wasn't returned, instead the ladies rolled their eyes and smirked at one another. Mademoiselle said to Madame: "Is she even married?" Madame smirked broader and played with a lock of hair. Just then a man who was buying a ruler from Madame piped up: "Looks like she should eat less chocolate herself."

Smirks disappeared and the physiognomic shutters descended. The customer crossed a line there. In fact, he was a knob. But they were being knobettes, and they started it too.

You know the ads for Bunnings which feature narcotically glazed actors pretending to be employees giddily delighted to find themselves members of a brainwashed cult (saying things like, "I love working here because it's so amazing, like a dream come true, helping people build their dreams, every day I tell them where to find the gas bottles and they weep tears of gratitude, mate, nothing beats the satisfaction I get from that, every day, mate")? Those ads, they make me sick, sick, sick, they represent the very worst sort of corporate colonisation of the underling's mental privacy, and nothing would make me happier than to be able to report that in reality Bunnings staff are surly, taciturn, disgruntled and resentful. But I have to acknowledge that in both of the two different Bunningses I patronise, the people wandering about really seem happy, like they *do* want to help you find the vinyl adhesive or a box of wood screws with flat gunmetal heads or a 4mm adjustable shelf support.

Coles have this thoroughly objectionable branding which is all about Love. You'll Indiscriminatingly Love some bit of Coles merchandise, according to them. You'll Love Coles Diet Tonic Water, Soy Drink, Canned Roma Tomatoes, Cotton Wool, Unbleached Toilet Paper, everything. No longer will they be satisfied with us merely buying their stuff, now they also insist we must spend hours obsessively picturing ourselves alone with it, imagining how it would feel to caress it with our fingers, carry about photographs of it, stuff it's touched etc. This is all highly offensive. Along with everyone else in the world I was panic buying food on the day before Good Friday (You'll Love Good Friday, Because Coles is Shut) and I saw the checkout staff all had little paper tags pinned under their name badges, the tags read "I LOVE EASTER". I asked Rachel if she really did love Easter. She said she didn't.

I know you have only read this far because you want to know what Basil's been doing. Well, all right, a couple of nights ago I came upon him en couchant on the kitchen floor licking a piece of raw cauliflower. It must have been Coles cauliflower because he was licking it passionately, tenderly, sensually in a way that reminded me of Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy. Of course I took it away from him immediately. Other than the incident with the cauliflower he's been asleep.


David said...

That was worth the wait. I wish my local Bunnings was as much like an absurd no-punchline sitcom of the 80s. The only thing worrying me is who is this 'Laura' character and what has she done with Lucy Tartan?

Ben.H said...

BAZLOTTO!!! Oh, wait. 4 Baz and a Frankie. False alarm.

Thank you for your valuable customer feedback! Rachel has now been sacked from Coles.

Damn Frankies!

Ampersand Duck said...

That WAS worth the wait. Bunnings is indeed worth visiting for the odd people (customers included) but I get very cranky with it because for such large complexes, they have very little genuine variety, a lot like Officeworks. (and Coles.) O, for the crammed little hardware stores of my yoof.

Ampersand Duck said...

...and the udder on that white cat always cracks me up. Have you really got a Joel Veitch t-shirt?!

Tim said...

Have you seen the t-shirts Nando's chicken emporia make their staff wear? They've got these sexually suggestive slogans printed on them along the lines of "Fancy a juicy breast?" Classy stuff.

Speaking of classy, have a look at this Nando's ad! (NSFW - unless you work at Nando's.)

Fyodor said...

I was certain that this post had been over-built, and was prepared to say so witheringly scornfully, but you've gone and pulled off a Bunnings on us. Oh me of little faith.

Q: how does one burnish breasts, exactly? Of the non-Nando/non-crispy skin variety, I mean. If you say it involves extra-virgin olive oil I will have to go to my bunk.

lucy tartan said...

Tung Oil?

As for the overbuild, I had to do it, for some reason I got blogblocked. Hopefully that's done for now.

lucy tartan said...

Yes I do have a Joel Veitch tshirt, it's not a very nice tshirt but the picture is suitably alarming.

elaine said...

I find myself lost in amongst the nursery section EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to Bunnings... Even if I have only gone to buy a packet of nails. I wonder why that is?

I'm also rather fond of the wheelbarrowish hand carts.

Oh, and I rescued a cat from Lort Smith recently and can identify muchly with the *hem* obsessive *hem* nature of being owned by a cat.

Ariel said...

Brilliant snippet of suburban life. I recognise those Bunnings tartlets and their dopey gone-too-far offsider. Grew up with them ...

Love that you can alarm the natives just by walking around being yourself.

More of this, please!

Oh, and yes, the marketing department of Coles have obviously been on Ecstasy for some time.

Meredith said...

I feel sorry for Baz - wipes away tear - losing his cauliflower that was so much loved.

Mindy said...

Where would we be without Coles and Bunnings? Probably at Woolies and Magnet Mart, which just don't have the same funny stories for some reason.

Fyodor said...

"Tung Oil?"

Touché - deep penetration and an incredibly quick finish.

Interestingly enough, Mindy, Wesfarmers, the company that owns Bunnings, has bid to take over the Coles Group. It seems Coles doesn't heart Bunnings, however.

alexis said...

Taking cauliflower from the mouths of cats? You're a brave lass, Lucy T.

(Very excited to hear about your pirate door too.)

momo said...


(Best I can offer.)

Clancy said...

"This greeting wasn't returned, instead the ladies rolled their eyes and smirked at one another. Mademoiselle said to Madame: 'Is she even married?' Madame smirked broader and played with a lock of hair. Just then a man who was buying a ruler from Madame piped up: 'Looks like she should eat less chocolate herself.'"

The Bunnings women sound like the popular high school alumnae in Muriel's Wedding.

lucy tartan said...

It was about like that Clancy. A very juvenile, bitchy atmosphere.

Suse said...

But where's the pic of the pirate door?

GoAwayPlease said...

Baz has been reading Octavia Butler while you were at Brunnings without him.
Really, you could have taken him to choose his own catdoor.

Mark Lawrence said...

What an excellent post, Laura. It sounds like Bunnings is definitely for home owners/buyers, rather than renters who may only turn up in Spring to buy tomoatoe seedlings, manure and potting mix. (that reminds me, we were hoping to get broccoli in this winter.)

And I'm almost sorry we shop at Safeway, where no one really loves anything, and the staff hate their (relatively) new army–olive green uniforms. Apparently, they fade/run after only three or four washes.

lucy tartan said...

Thanks Mark. Most of what I've been going there for has in fact been yer-blooming-lot related. Dorian planted cabbages but I have my doubts that they will make it. The lettuces and bok choy are excellent, however.

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