I live in a village where people buy fruit and veges from the fruit and vege shop (even though the previous owner displayed more fruit flies than fruit), two little bakers run a thriving business and two butchers do too. We have a health food shop, a couple of chemists, Mitre 10, a bottle shop, a newsagent, a video store, a post office, a shoe-fixer, a pub and a whole lot of cafes. That’s about it. Oh, and then there is Coles. We have everything we need. And like your traditional village, the villagers utilise the services where they can before driving to the bigger neighbouring towns.

Recently, the man who own the village plaza passed away and his two sons took charge. They painted the very daggy plaza, put in a wheelchair ramp (or pram ramp, if you are looking at it from my perspective), new toilets and a new roof. Then they gave a couple of months notice to the tenants that their leases would not be renewed, because Coles has plans to extend. Coleswill put in a bakery and a bottle shop. How thoughtful of them to try to put at least three of our local businesses out of business. The consequence of this is that the health food shop is closing down in two weeks, the owner looses the sale she had lined up and is left with a business loan to pay back and a whole lot of organic muesli. Mitre 10 will no longer be able to sell, and there goes the owners’ superannuation. A new owner recently took over the fruit shop. The fruit flies have gone, but I hope he won’t. It’s tragic. I effing hate corporations and their monopoly over…everything.

I successfully boycotted Coles for two weeks after hearing the news. The local businesses supply everything I need, except organic milk. But then my milk shopping leaked into everything-else-that-was-on-display-shopping, as only Coles has the power to do. My basket went from empty to overflowing by the time I reached the checkout. This morning, I asked the fruit shop owner if he would stock organic milk, and he said “Sure…how much do you need a week?” It was that simple. I can resume my boycott until the poor little health food shop closes its doors and I need to go to Coles for tea and flour.

It makes me so mad when the big guys always win, and money rules everything. Why can’t we continue to be the village where people buy from local businesses to the support them and support our village? It’s like Coles specifically analysed how our village works and thought, well the bakeries do well, the bottle shop seems to do well, let’s stock up our vitamin counter and we can close down half of this town.

I was trying to think of an analogy and the best I could come up with was David and Goliath…but in this situation, the giant takes one look at David and spits on his head before stamping him into the ground.

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