THE RETURN OF COLLECTABLES

Supermarket promotional collectables. Who is the real target? Who should be getting excited by collecting these freebies? Is it the children?

After the first Coles Little Shop Mini Collectables, I thought I had learnt from my experiences. I felt I had gotten it out of the system. I wasn’t going to get sucked into the craze again. There was no way I would meet up with strangers to complete the collection. It was my first exposure to some clever marketing strategy. I was vulnerable and got caught up in the hype. Second time around, I was prepared. I had developed some immunity, or so I thought.

I was wrong. So very wrong.

As I stood in front of the supermarket in the blistering cold, waiting to meet a random stranger for a trade, I began to analyse my motivations for wanting to find the missing collectables.

Did I feel psychologically challenged? Was I subconsciously trying to beat the marketing team at their own game? The logical part of my brain realised that it was completely nutters to spend money on unnecessary groceries to get a freebie. So then why was that same brain justifying doing trades in the cold?

Sure, my daughter nags me to the point of insanity every time there is a promotion, but she does that with just about everything. So why didn’t I say no to the supermarket attendant handing me the freebie? Why did I take it, knowing that she would nag me for a complete set and I would feel compelled to help her?

I even found myself contemplating purchasing the rest of the collection in a bid to have the problem go away. I was tempted to revisit the strange woman from the previous promotion to buy the rest but my husband pointed out to me that it was cheating.

I don’t understand how it would be considered cheating. I’d be paying $2 per item, that’s a saving of $28 of unwanted groceries per collectable. Am I justifying again?

Instead of purchasing the rest of the collection, I decided to trade some leftover Woolworths Lion King collectables for the missing Coles Little Shop collectables. Yes, you read correctly. I completed the Lion King collection and started on the Little Shop. I must be certifiable.

Anyway, I placed an ad on Facebook’s marketplace and have met up with random strangers. Is that still considered cheating? Who is benefiting here? Me or the kids? Or supermarket bigwigs?

And what am I teaching my kids? Am I raising a bunch of self-entitled twats by short cutting the system? Is it better to have them open a package and learn that sometimes in life, you simply can’t always get what you want? Should I even care if it’s an incomplete collection? Shouldn’t the kids be the ones trading anyway?

Am I trying to be the fun parent? Am I trying to make sure that my kid doesn’t feel left out with her peers?

Who is this really for? It’s for the kids, right? Right?!

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

I’m due for another trade in front of the supermarket soon. I feel like I’ve missed the point of this whole exercise. I just don’t know what it is yet. Maybe by the time the next promotion rolls by, I’ll have finally discovered my purpose for collecting these freebies.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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TWO DAYS FROM RETIREMENT

Recently, the kids and I were involved in a car collision on the way home from school pick up. A car had failed to give way at an intersection, trying to cut across two lanes of oncoming traffic to turn right and hit our car.

The impact of the front on smash to our car caused my six-year-old to smack her cheek, cut her lip and have a bloody nose. I had whiplash. My toddler and the other driver were physically unharmed.

The suddenness of the accident left me in a state of shock. It was hearing my toddler’s piercing wail and the sight of my distressed six-year-old that had me jump into action. With smoke coming from the engine, I managed to roll the car towards a traffic island and call emergency services. To my surprise, an ambulance, two police cars and a fire truck came to our rescue. I was grateful for everyone’s assistance and support. 

After everyone was cleared by the ambulance officers and I had removed all of our belongings from the car, we stood by the curbside to watch as the tow truck pulled away with our beloved Toyota RAV4. 

I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss at the sight. For seventeen years, the car had served me well and driven me to places near and far. Seventeen years of memories was being towed away and I was certain, never to be seen again.

I can recall the day I bought the car at a secondhand dealership with my dad like it was yesterday. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I had eagerly signed on the dotted line. It was my first car purchase; my biggest loan; my first real debt. 

To me, it was more than transport, it was symbolic of my growing independence. With the RAV, I was able to travel to work destinations all around the state, experience freedom from a stifling home life and explore uncharted territory. 

I chose my RAV as the wedding car to save money and because I’m sentimental. 

It brought both my babies home safely from the hospital. We’ve done loads of short and long distance holiday trips. It even sailed on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry with us. 

There were bumps and grazes from me reversing into walls, letterboxes and bins. I don’t think there has been anything I haven’t reversed into. I like to think it gave the car character.  

Everything from Thomas the Tank Engine to Frozen stickers were plastered on the back windows. Each time the kids went through a different fad, a new section of the window would be covered.    

There were spills and splatters… oh, so many coffee spills and food stains. The car had housed one or two secret McDonald’s feasts.

It was not my car. It had become a family car. Our very lived in and beloved family car. 

We have spoken many times about upgrading to a newer car and giving the RAV to my parents. A selfish plan on my behalf to keep the car and its memories nearby. It had served its purpose for me but could live its last legs with another family member.

Never could I have imagined that the RAV would be ripped away unceremoniously from me! I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye! 

Sure, it had a funky smell and tacky mats. And yes, the airbags didn’t release in the accident and the seatbelt probably didn’t do a great job for my daughter but up until then, it was my brand of a perfect car. How can any new car ever live up to the charm of our beloved RAV? 

You’ll be sorely missed, old friend. Rest in Pieces.  

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SLAVING OVER A HOT STOVE

I don’t like eating schedules. I hate meal planning. And I loathe routine. I’m a ‘let’s open the fridge and see what’s for dinner’ type person. I thrive on the challenge of opening the fridge, seeing a handful of ingredients, and having a limited amount of time to dish up a meal. It’s my version of MasterChef’s Mystery Box.

My style of exploratory cooking is definitely not for everyone. In fact, people would probably say I’m making life harder for myself. While meal planning has some benefits of reducing stress and costs, and allows you the ability to plan for healthier and diverse meals, there is just something so uninspiring about knowing ahead of time what you will be eating on any given day. And let’s not even start on the topic of meal prepping in bulk and eating it for several days straight (*shudder).

I like the spontaneity of creating something on a whim. I like discovering new foods. If I have the time, I like to search for interesting recipes and have a crack. For me, cooking and baking food is not only to feed the family but a form of self-expression and art. It feeds my innovative and creative spirit. I love placing a dish in front of someone, seeing their face light up with amazement upon the first bite and demolish my food with gusto. Best feeling ever!

It is very unfortunate that my children and husband are fussy eaters. There is a massive ‘DO NOT EAT’ food list; eggs, seafood, lemongrass, tomatoes to name a few. It really cramps my style.

A few nights ago, I made chicken butter masala from scratch. I’m talking ‘marination with yoghurt and grinding cashew nuts’ scratch. It was a masterpiece. The aroma coming from my kitchen would have made an Indian mother proud. It was THAT authentic. I was pretty chuffed with my efforts.

So when I put the Ah-Maz-Ing curry in front of my family, I was expecting to be lavished with praise. Instead, I got…

“Mummy, how many bites?”

“I don’t want to eat this! It’s not very nice.”

“I just want to eat the rice.”

“I’m full!”

“Can I have ice cream if I eat this?”

I could only stare dumbfounded at these little people. Were they eating the same thing? What was wrong with their palates? Surely, being children, they simply couldn’t appreciate good food. I looked to my husband for confirmation, only to find him quiet and nibbling at the rice. He doesn’t even like eating rice.

“Well?” I asked, giving him a hard stare.

“It’s very nice. Kids, you should eat Mummy’s curry. She spent a long time making us dinner,” he replied.

I felt mollified until he pushed his half-eaten bowl aside and said, “I had a huge lunch.”

You can imagine my annoyance at slaving over this magnificent curry that wasn’t being appreciated or eaten. I gave up trying to force the kids to eat and went to have a restorative bath. As I came out, I heard a kerfuffle and a familiar smell wafting in the air.

“Stop hoarding the chips!”

“That’s mine!”

“Kids, there’s plenty to share!”

“Daddy, you know what the best part of dinner was? These chips!”

Giggles.

Everyone froze mid chips to mouth when I walked in and found them eating KFC.

“Um…this isn’t what it looks like. It’s dessert,” said my husband, looking sheepish.

I felt annoyed at seeing everyone chowing down on chips like seagulls at the beach. Was my curry that bad?

“Mummy, you want a chip?” asked my toddler, offering to share his stash.

Looking at his outstretched hand, holding a hot chip that made my mouth water on sight, I debated what message I would be sending by taking the delicious golden fry. It was short-lived. I let out a sigh of acceptance, pulled up a chair and joined the family. I had no doubt in my mind that there would be many successful meals to come. Just not this one.

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