#215 – Franchises

21 02 2011

It’s not that the bogan is afraid. The bogan is maxtreme, and not afraid of anything. It’s more that… well, the independent bakery might have rats on the floor, and who knows what that the charcoal chicken store is putting in its gravy. It’s not fear, it’s… it’s standards. The bogan has standards. Standards that can only be met when the front of the shop has a familiar logo that the bogan has seen in other suburbs and towns too. It’s best for the bogan to be nourished by the Colonel’s mystery gravy instead.

Despite Jim Penman holding a PhD in the bogan-derided intellectual field of history, he has managed to become the bearded cartoon that pacifies many areas of the bogan’s life. Starting with a mowing business in 1982, the bogan now trusts Jim to clean its carpets, install its antennas, even to wash its dog. His ever-expanding universe of franchised service businesses mean that the bogan may never need to invite an unbranded human into its McMansion again.

Franchised brands do so much more than just make the bogan feel calm in its confusing world, they are also crucial papiermâché for its thin latex identity. When the bogan wants others to perceive it as healthy, it will circle the food court clasping a Boost Juice, logo facing outwards. When the bogan wants to seem sophisticated, into Gloria Jean’s cosmopolitan maw it shall march. And after a big afternoon at Endota Spa, what better look for the bogan female, than to collect its nascent ADHD charlatans from a 14 hour stint at the local ABC Learning Centre. While ABC is in administration due to bad debts and maxtremely dishonest accounting practices, the bogan is less afraid of franchised corporate crooks than the inevitable paedophiles working at the community child care centre.

From time to time, the enterprising bogan will express a desire to buy its own franchise of a brand that it enjoys purchasing from. While there is a 95% chance that this will never become anything more than talk, most of the other 5% will involve the bogan overpaying for a poorly conceived or located business, and quickly learning that being an owner-operator is much harder work than earning penalty rates to join moronic facebook groups on someone else’s time. At this point the bogan will exit the business at a loss, and tell its friends that is “exploring other opportunities”.

The bogan’s overwhelming urge to remain well inside its own narrow comfort zone has driven Australia to become the most densely franchised nation on earth. So set in its ways does the bogan become, that it is unwilling to even dabble in unfamiliar franchises, despite their inherent franchised trustworthiness. That said, the bogan’s resistance to change is swiftly broken down once a celebrity endorsement or other  marketing campaign is undertaken. For while each bogan is a unique snowflake, franchises allow them to be precisely as unique as each other.