Welcome to Coles

15 August 2022

2.5 MINS

Do you think you can find a Coles staff member to scan your groceries after 8pm? If only they did acknowledgement of customer as well as they do Acknowledgement of Country!

It was revealed last week that Coles supermarkets now print an Acknowledgment of Country on the bottom of customer receipts.

Most people throw receipts straight into the bin, if they bother to take their receipt at all.

Could there be a more vacuous piece of corporate virtue signalling?

Lip Service

An Acknowledgement of Country is how the cool kids demonstrate to everyone that they respect the traditional custodians of the land they are on.

Nothing says “we respect you” like placing an acknowledgement of Aboriginal people in small print, right below the Harry Potter Collectables promotion and just above the liquor sales advertisement.

The receipt reads:

“Coles Group acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We recognise their strength and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Coles Group extends that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and recognises their rich cultures and continuing connection to land waters.”

Meanwhile, I’m just wanting a staff member to acknowledge me at the checkout and recognise my full trolley.

A Coles spokesperson told Sky News:

“Coles Group is proud to include an Acknowledgement of Country on our receipts.”

Forgive me, but how exactly is that cause for pride? Do Coles staff get especially exuberant when they serve an Indigenous person?

‘Wait until they see the receipt! They’re going to be soooo excited.’

Empty Gesture

Do Indigenous people check their receipts to make sure they have been acknowledged, just like the rest of us check our receipts to make sure we haven’t been overcharged?

And do Indigenous people ever think, ‘If Coles is acknowledging me as the traditional custodian of this land, why are they charging me $6 for a head of lettuce?’

If I was to ask my local Coles staff which of the 250 Indigenous nations my receipt is proudly acknowledging, could they tell me? Would it even matter?

And if I, as a non-Indigenous person, screw up my receipt and toss it in the trash, am I a racist?

I am not mocking Indigenous people, but woke virtue signalling like this certainly mocks them. A nod and a wink to Indigenous people on a grocery docket might make Coles head office “proud”, but does nothing to make the slightest difference to even one Indigenous person.

Did men and women in Jilkminggan on the Northern Territory’s Roper River — where there is a scarcity of jobs, housing, services and income — sleep better last night knowing they were acknowledged on my shopper docket?

Of course not.

Exclusive Inclusivity

The three-paragraph acknowledgment helps woke suits in corporations pretend that virtue signalling in small print on the edge of a docket no one reads somehow demonstrates their rectitude.

When you see how many supermarket staff now wear LGBTQ+ badges, you start to wonder if management feels they have to be more woke than their wokest employees, to keep them from agitating. I don’t know if that’s the case, but if it is, it is cowardly and ultimately self-defeating.

If Coles want to acknowledge people, it could begin by acknowledging unvaccinated people.

It doesn’t matter how healthy or well-credentialled you are, if you’ve not been vaccinated you cannot work at Coles, not even stacking shelves late at night.

If you’re unvaccinated, don’t even bother applying for a job at Coles. No jab, no acknowledgment. So inclusive. So virtuous. So humane.

Imagine the conundrum when an unvaccinated Indigenous person applies for a supermarket job. They won’t look at your résumé, but don’t worry, just wait until you get a load of your receipt!


Originally published at The James Macpherson Report.

Subscribe to his Substack here for daily witty commentary.


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