Old Man Shouts At Cloud #1 – Countdown’s fabulous new security measures

August 22, 2023
2 mins read

In the first Old Man Shouts At Cloud column GARETH NEWMAN lets off steam about Countdown’s new security measures.

At first glance, it seemed like a sensible move. Blatant shoplifting has increased by a whopping percentage along with security threats, all in the past year or so. It’s hardly surprising that its owners have opted to instigate some measures to counteract the trend.

But then I thought to myself, “Hang on a fucking minute, mate!” Countdown, otherwise known as Woolworths, a mega-supermarket operation based in Australia, is a hugely profitable business that’s been exploiting the local economy for decades. Its prices are notoriously high, its payments to local producers notoriously low, and in many cases, it dictates which product lines stand a chance of surviving by its ruthless selection process.


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Now, facing losing some stock – mainly because of the cost-of-living crisis in NZ and families really struggling to make ends meet – Countdown is planning to spend millions of dollars on new security measures, which include wireless technology to stop rogue runaway trolleys laden with unpaid for items in their tracks.

Having already announced that it will spend millions of dollars on replacing its Countdown signage with Woolworths signage, surely the company overlords can see that something about the situation doesn’t quite compute?

Instead of spending all this money on signage and technology, how about simply employing more staff to keep watch, and actually give people jobs/help the local economy in the process? Instead of clamping down on food thieves, how about starting up a food bank or two? Instead of being yet another business seemingly dedicated to maximizing profit at the expense of household budgets and food on the table, how about lowering profit margins across the board on all “healthy” or “core” food items?

I get incensed at dairy owners for thinking it’s the government’s job to solve security issues they’ve brought on themselves by stocking dangerous and expensive products, but at least those dairy owners are mostly typical families trying to figure out how to make a living and feed their kids any way they know how. Countdown – and by implication other megacorps – have no such defense. (Which isn’t to say that I’m not sympathetic to its shop-floor employees).

The public is especially prone to jumping up and down and screaming at the government for every perceived ill as if our elected members have superhuman powers. But for some unknown reason, they’re failing to get outraged about the perfectly boring exploitation that’s inflicted on them every time they walk in a supermarket door.

+ Old Man Shouts At Cloud is a semi-regular column by old fart Gareth Newman who gets really angry about any perceived injustice he comes across.


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