During the week, Woolworths announced that its CEO, Michael Luscombe, was stepping down in favour of some fresh blood in Grant O’Brien. The local media, desperate to get into a flurry over something other than Kevin Rudd telling the country what it already knew, began flailing wildly for an angle, settling on one of two narratives: that this may mean a ‘change in strategy’ for a company that is well entrenched in a loss-leading price war with an encroaching Coles and is committed to a long-term expansion into hardware with Lowe’s to take on Wesfarmers’ Bunnings, or that he’s a ‘shelf stacker’ made good.
Both of these narratives are flawed. The first, because it is wrong. The second, because it is boring. We here at Boganomics, however, have the real scoop. Woolworths has long had little need to actively court bogan bucks, primarily due to the epic incompetence of Coles Myer, but also because bogans had little other choice. While bogans will avoid ALDI upon learning of its kraut roots, the emergence of a functioning, competitive Coles, and Costco allowing the bogan to purchase cheap things in maxtreme quantities, means that it now needs to take the bogan seriously. If you consider this a change in strategy, then perhaps the media got it right.
Below is a confidential memo that was leaked to Boganomics from the highest level of the Woolworths executive – Chairman James Strong, clearly articulating the task ahead of the new CEO. This is not information that Woolworths wishes to become public.
Memo: CONFIDENTIAL: New CEO Appointment
From: James Strong (AO)
To: Woolworths Board of Directors, Woolworths Executive
Please consider this an official notification of the decision by the board to appoint Grant O’Brien as new CEO, replacing Michael Luscombe. We thank Michael for his five years’ service, but the decision was reached recently that, frankly, Woolworths is at present ill-equipped to effectively target our highest-margin market: bogans.
The bogan shopper of old was an easily led beast, willing to simply attend the large supermarket within a 10km drive that offered it naff assurances that it was getting ‘Everyday Low Prices’ or some other bollocks. Even when Solomon’s old mob cottoned on and started selling things for less, we still managed to sell more to bogans.
Those days, I’m afraid, are long gone. This loss-leading bullsh*t that everyone’s diving into is waking the bogans up to the fact that they need to actually spend less money in order to have lower grocery bills. This was originally a tragedy until it was realised that if we told bogans they could buy four loaves of bread for the price of one and a half, they’d buy all four, eat one, let the others go off, then come back and buy ANOTHER FOUR! Even better, we could do this to drag their sorry arses into the shops, then actually charge MORE for the stuff that wasn’t on special. Brilliant. Problem is Coles is doing it too.
We needed to do something, and Grant is it. Grant, while by all accounts no bogan himself, started his career here stacking shelves at the age of 25, working his way up through the company to reach the point he is at today.
What no one realised at the time was that we planted him there, as a part of “Operation Cyrano de Boganac”, to learn the ways of the bogan. Other people spent their evenings stacking shelves and smoking durries, but de Boganac all the while watched the behaviour of the bogan shoppers who flood our stores like so many waterlogged lemmings.
In truth, Grant graduated top of his MBA class at 24, and we had him on a six figure salary since day one, covertly building the same type of battler-made-good narrative that made bogans think that they too could be the CEO of McDonald’s like Australian Charlie Bell, who started flipping patties at age 15, and rose to the top. We’ve also observed the bogan behaviour-influencing capacity of Australian Idol, which tells the bogan that they could, nay, SHOULD be the one on the big stage. With the appointment of Grant O’Brien as CEO, we usher in a shining new era of embodying the bogan’s idle dreams.
With this succession plan, we believe we have stuck new highs in management practice. I present to you Cyrano de Boganac, the bogan whisperer, the future of our great company.
Update: Gerry Harvey purchases computer
Encumbered by years of consuming information through stone tablets and papyri, Gerry decided it was time to finally explore this Internet stuff. After all, his sailing friends from Myer were doing it, so why can’t he? Upon receipt of a new laptop computer purchased through Dell Online for $599, one of Gerry’s younger, technology-savvy minions quipped “Master, one my taxi-driving friends is a computer programmer and can setup a website like myfind.com in 2 hours. And he’ll do it for free.” Gerry nodded with a pungent hint of enthusiasm, his mind aroused by the idea of making money from the very medium he despised only months prior. “OK”, he replied sternly. “Make sure that it only sells products that are given to us for next to nothing by the very people who make them. Yes, and also make sure they are disposable, cheap and have nothing to do with furniture or electronics. And, I almost forgot, make sure there are no more than six products to choose from”.