“Coles’ practices, demands and threats were deliberate, orchestrated and relentless” as said by Justice Gordon in her judgement over what Coles has done with its suppliers.
The Supermarket is paying the price for “bullying” it’s suppliers and the great imagery and the article from Choice Magazine inspired me to help spread the truths about this so called “Supermarket”.
I even did some more research too into the term of “Fat cat” – according to Wikipedia :
“It is also commonly used to describe a rich, greedy person who, due to ownership of large amounts of capital, is able to “live easy” off the work of others. It is also used to refer to executives whose pay is deemed by others to be excessive.”
Does this describe Coles to you? I encourage you to do your research, read on and come up to your own conclusion on this one….
If you aren’t from Retail, in very simple terms it works like this. Let’s say I am supplying a product to Woolworths, Coles, Aldi or whatever the like. Getting on the shelf is what it’s all about in more the “Grocery” section and lets say in Fresh Produce, you will have some type of supply arrangement with them.
What Coles basically did was said something like this in street terms to their suppliers:
Give us money in terms of rebates, or we won’t pay you, or we don’t keep you, or we will do something bad to you.
What the sad thing was in this case, it wasn’t say just Coles bullying massive companies like them – they appeared to be putting the pressure on Smaller Businesses and in my view were just being “Corporate Fat Cats”. They weren’t making enough money, so they had to just take it off the plates of other honest hard working Australians. Coles appeared to have bullied 200 businesses and with an ongoing case, The ACCC (“The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission”) have taken action against them.
This is pretty poor on the part of Coles and I am sure many of you reading this article are probably thinking “This is great Edward, but what about Companies X & Z doing the same?”.
I couldn’t agree with you more on that point, I think there are too many Fat Cats out there who push around Small Business Owners, Employees and basically anyone that stands in their way of making a corrupt buck.
This situation quite resonated me in the respect of what I have been through in my life. In my relatively short time in business, I have people bully me by breaking agreements and not paying what they owe me, in one of my first Marketing Jobs I had an employer threaten my job security because I wouldn’t make false claims about their products and then I even had a Corrupt Manager fabricate Market Research to cover their own butts from a series of corporate mishaps.
All of these experiences that happened in my life made me see red about the situation of what Coles are doing and I could certainly relate. I could only imagine some of those suppliers are making a wafer-thin margin, they have tons of staff to pay and they are getting phone calls saying “Give us rebates or we shall cancel your orders”.
I found this story very inspiring in the respect of people standing up against oppression. Be it a Government Enslaving it’s people, or a Corporate holding it’s employees & suppliers to ransom – I see little difference.
My thinking and learnings on this one? Someone has got to stand up to the Fat Cats and it may as well be you and me. I don’t know who was the first supplier that went to the ACCC to lead the case against Coles and I will probably never find out – but I want to buy him / her a beer / glass of wine or soft drink (if they aren’t into alcohol).
The problem is that if we let people bully us in business, life or whatever – if we don’t stand up to them, they will go on & on to ruin the lives of other people. In my own life at times I have stood up to the bigger bully against me and it’s been a very hard slog at times. I remember that employer that unsuccessfully forced me to make false claims about it’s products – I had many sleepless nights, I was very scared at times, I was very nervous – but I was glad I did it. I saved countless customers being ripped off and I also sent that evil employer of mine a strong message.
It’s great that we all unite together against all forms of bullying. Be it in the Schoolyard, to the Boardroom. NO.
Let’s hope that Coles keeps it’s nose clean or touch wood they get bought out by a company with a stronger sense of ethics and integrity.