#55 – Chrisco Hampers

24 12 2009

“After months of excited waiting, it’s finally arrived. OMG. A massive hamper full of festive goodness from Chrisco! Sure it’s a couple of weeks later than they said it’d be, but kids, come quickly – our magical Christmas is saved!”

This has been the triumphal squawk emanating from bogan nests around Australia as, one by one, they receive their big baskets of shit. After years of piously soothing advertisements from a middle aged woman with a vague resemblance to Mrs Claus, bogan families have fallen for Chrisco en masse. With festive food hampers ranging from $370 to a galling $1250, this clever company has somehow convinced bogans that waiting to have a massive basket of easily available foodstuffs sent to them is better than immediately getting the actual items they want from the supermarket up the road at half the price.

The key to the appeal of Chrisco is the idea of making direct debit installments all year, in order to have the hamper arrive for FREE* sometime in December. Clearly, this is a gift from the good people at Chrisco, massive earlier investment notwithstanding. As the bogan appears willing to invest $210 over 9 months in order to have a slab of Bundy and Coke appear magically on its doorstep, Chrisco appears willing to make enormous profits from their gullibility.

As the bogan ‘plans its finances’ in advance, it allows Chrisco to sit on a lucrative mountain of bogan bucks for months before it has to actually purchase inventory for the hampers sometime in October. In order to deal with pesky questions about value, Chrisco sincerely informs the bogan about the stresses and strains that abound when navigating the supermarket in December, as though there’s some kind of bogan demilitarized zone between the dairy aisle and the turkey fridge. Instead, it’s OK. Chrisco is here to help. Thank heavens for Chrisco.

The Chrisco company originally formed in the UK, where it was moderately successful. While Britain is riddled with boganesque Chavs, the founders recognised that, with its apparently far more limited grasp of accounting, the bogan populace in the antipodes could make them rich beyond their wildest imaginings. They moved to New Zealand, and from there, the company crossed the Tasman to storm the main bogan stronghold in 1997. Today, it fleeces over a million bogans per year, and turns over a cool quarter billion. This phenomenal cash harvesting often goes unnoticed, as Chrisco is a seasonal business without prominent shopfronts, and bogans rarely read anything with numbers.

In late 2007, a systems failure caused the company to fail to deliver thousands of hampers prior to Christmas, which made the bogans both furious and elated. Furious, because they had to go to the supermarket to chance their luck at Checkpoint Charlie. Elated, because it allowed them to conduct furious vox pops with 22 year-old Today Tonight reporters about a new, and enormous, rort. However, while bogan rage is intense, a crippled attention span causes it to also be brief. A month later, the bogans in question had already signed up for an extortionate 43 week installment plan for Christmas 2008. This is the distillation of everything that bogans love about buying things.

Like some kind of retarded Friedmanite, the bogan views Chrisco as a good deal. This is the bogan economy. In the belief that if something is paid for in installments, and purchased in bulk, it must be sensible commerce, the bogan parts with $4.70 a week. For 10 months. To get a slab of Bundy and Cokes and a towel.

As presented on their website, though, the hampers appear full to the brim with discounted factory seconds. This mass of consumerism tends to cause an eye twitch in many of us however, and we can find the ludicrous price/image conflation confusing. But it’s OK, TBL is here to help. Here is a breakdown of a couple of the simplest beverage hampers on offer:

Coca Cola Hamper:

Contains 2 slabs of coke (supermarket value $35), and a promotional beach towel, hat, Frisbee, and bag. Typically this stuff is only a few bucks each (or free) when coke puts a promotion on, because it’s basically advertising.

Chrisco price: $137.80, or ONLY $3.21 PER WEEK! Only $3 a week for all that cokey Christmassy goodness? Thanks for the 300% markup, Chrisco, Christmas will be magical!

Beers of the World Hamper:

Contains six 6-packs of mid-priced beer (supermarket value $15 each, total $90), and a 5 litre mini keg of Heineken (supermarket value $30).

Chrisco price: $202.80, or ONLY $4.73 PER WEEK! Only $3 a week for all that beery Christmassy goodness? Thanks, Chrisco, for only charging $80 for delivery. Christmas will be magical!

This is the most genius company in Australia. And bogans bend over and take it with a smile. Merry Christmas to you all.

TBL is going to take a break for a week, as we sit back, drink some hard-earned local label beer in a little-known inner city haunt while wearing ironic T-shirts. We will then head out and conduct some primary research into bogan mating season (i.e. New Year’s Eve), and return in 2010 with renewed anger, renewed vitriol, and a renewed mission to bring to you, the people, the truth behind the bogan menace. Merry Christmas!

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”