Leave them at home: Principal brands Coles Little Shop “an absolute disgrace”

Coles Little Shop Minis

A Victorian school principal is urging parents to keep their kids’ Coles Little Shop collections at home, branding the pester power marketing campaign “genius and an absolute disgrace”.

Coles recently released the collectable miniature plastic replicas of popular products, and they’ve been embraced wholeheartedly by children keen to collect every mini in the set.

Pascoe Vale North Primary principal, Peter Adams, has asked families to avoid bringing the tiny toys to school as they’re causing drama and preventing kids from pursuing less consumer-driven playtime activities.

“We’ve had several who say theirs have been stolen or lost and we can’t tell which one, which causes angst for parents,” Peter said, the Herald Sun reports. “This is why we suggest that, like mobile phones or other valuables, they’re not taken to school as we can’t take responsibility for them.”

“We’re trying to teach kids to go outside and play and get dirty and now we’ve turned them into little shoppers,” he said.

Quite right, Peter, quite right.


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Mini mania

Australians have gone pretty nuts for this Coles promotion, with thousands of Facebook posts calling for swaps and sells of the minis popping up online. There are countless dedicated Facebook groups encouraging the trade and sale of the collectables, and Coles stores have been running formal swap events to try and help mini fans complete their collections.

There’s also been LOTS of passionate criticism, with many wondering how Coles can be toying with removing single-use plastic bags (citing environmental concerns) on one hand, but producing future landfill (hello discarded Coles Little Shop minis) on the other.

I wondered how long it’d take before these started ending up on our beaches. Coles you’re an absolute joke of a company….

Posted by Tyson Jones on Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Coles maintains these tiny toys will be treasured in future years.

“We know that customers are keeping the mini collectables and accessories, reusing them on a regular basis or sharing them with their friends and family,” a Coles spokesperson recently told AAP. “Whilst the mini collectables and accessories are not made from recyclable materials, our customers are enjoying and keeping them for the future which means they aren’t heading to landfill.”

But discarded minis are apparently already finding their way into Australian waterways and consequently washing up on beaches.

“As usual I collected any signs of plastic and fishing material along the high tide line when I came across the Coles product,” Queensland man Tyson Jones told Yahoo7. “When I first heard about the promotion I thought to myself how long would it be before these items started ending up in our ocean and surely enough in no time I was picking one off my local beach.”

Coles Mini collectable communication aids! Our Communication Coordinator Hannah has been busy making new aids! We use the program tools2talk to create #coles #minicollectablehack #communicationaids #TeamDO

Posted by Distinctive Options on Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A brilliant communication aid?

If you’re not a fan of these collectables, you might be pleased to know that some of the stray minis have been put to good use helping people with disabilities get organised and communicate more clearly.

“Everybody had been talking about these Coles mini collectables, so I picked some up and was studying the little Vegemite jar,” Sarah Heriot from disability support agency Distinctive Options told Yahoo7.

“It dawned on me that it could be used for a visual shopping list for people. The next day I suggested to the communication coordinator how brilliant it would be as a communication aid.”

The minis are being velcro-ed to laminated worksheets, helping break down trips to the shops and daily routines into easily recognisable steps. 

Other philanthropic mini fans have suggested selling their extra collectables and donating the funds to help drought-stricken farms.

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