SNAG A BARGAIN
ROB INGRAM KNOWS HOW RETAILERS CAN PUT A SIZZLE IN SALES — IT ALL STARTS WITH A HUMBLE SAUSAGE.
WE DUCKED INTO TOWN ON SATURDAY
for a couple of life’s necessities — brake pads from Supercheap Auto and a folding trestle table from Bunnings. “Well I don’t think I’ll need to cook dinner tonight,” said The Chosen One on the way home.“couldn’t eat another thing,” I agreed. “Whose did you think was the best?” Business was buzzing at both places and this augurs well for both the recovery of retail trade in Australia and the economic growth of the country itself. Now, retail business surveys tell us that the retail environment responds to process simplifification, consolidation of central functions and outsourcing of ‘non-core’ functions. Somehow, they’ve overlooked the sausage sizzle — the very strategy that has made Supercheap Auto and Bunnings such conspicuously successful retail traders. Consider the agony and angst, the deception, the cunning, the contradiction and the name-calling that went in to us fifinally being able to claim the world economic growth record, with a stunning 0.3 per cent upsurge in the fifirst quarter of this year. The combined genius of Paul Keating, Peter Costello, Wayne Swan, Chris Bowen, Joe Hockey and Scott Morrison made it happen for Australia. A slice of white bread, a sausage and a squirt of sauce made it happen for Supercheap Auto and Bunnings. Around the world, retailers are focused on trying to get a handle on how consumers like to shop. Well, here, they like to shop with a sausage sandwich in one hand. Retail sausage sizzles are, of course, an evolution of ‘democracy sausage sizzles’ — the method by which political parties entice voters to polling booths on election day. A very large proportion of votes in Australia are cast between the hours 12pm and 2pm as a result of the Australian expediency of getting voting and lunch out of the way at the same time. So, there is such a thing as a free lunch, and there’s even an unoffifficial Council of Australian Sausage with a website which maps out election day sausage sizzles. Equipped with the map, the resourceful — or ‘re-sauce-full’ — sausage sizzle exponent can easily enjoy a free-fifive-snag-sanger lunch. And how many of our past and present prime ministers have not been caught on television casting their votes with a haemorrhage of tomato sauce on their ties? Political commentators say the election day democracy sausage is practically part of the Australian Constitution, and anthropologists confifirm that bread, sausage, tomato sauce and optional onions are indeed components of Australian DNA. So whose did we think was best? Supercheap Auto’s sizzle had the very real advantage of being free — a genuine example of the retailer satisfying the desires of its target market. Bunnings is a community gesture. The Bunnings chain makes the sizzle equipment and location available to community groups as a fundraising opportunity, so money changes hands. The Supercheap sausage was smaller but the onions were sweeter, and both clearly minimised overheads by sourcing supplies of yesterday’s bread. It’s all very well for city sophisticates to swan around galleries and festivals on the weekend. But where’s the sense of national identity in that? Our experience made us feel both patriotic and, okay, a little greasy. And so blessed that we almost forgot the trestle table. We need the table for our upcoming village sausage sizzle. The sausage sizzle to end all sausage sizzles. Ours is a black tie sausage sizzle.
“BREAD, SAUSAGE, TOMATO SAUCE AND OPTIONAL ONIONS ARE INDEED DNA.” COMPONENTS OF AUSTRALIAN