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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Mice and rats aren't Countdown's problem

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Feb 2024, 4:55pm

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Mice and rats aren't Countdown's problem

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Feb 2024, 4:55pm

It is amazing, isn't it?

How the story of one rat in a Dunedin supermarket has just blown up for Countdown. First, it was a photo of a couple of rats in the supermarket in Dunedin.

Then there were more rats caught, then the supermarket closed for two days, then it closed for another day and now it's closed indefinitely- until they finish catching the rats. At last count, it was 19 just since Friday.

Then there was the video of the mouse on the salad in the Christchurch store, then the news that the salad was thrown away, but pretty much every thing else in the deli wasn't.

And a couple of people bought stuff out of the deli after the mouse was found, and now the MPI is investigating and people are talking about boycotting those supermarkets, and my colleagues tell me they’re never buying anything uncovered from a supermarket again.

Fair enough, rats and mice are gross- but if you're realistic about it, rats and mice are part of the supermarket business.

If you’ve got food sitting around, and supermarkets have lots of that, it will attract pests. This is a battle they're constantly fighting.

The problem for Countdown is not actually that the rats and the mice were there, it's that Countdown didn’t take it seriously.

The mouse on the salad is gross, 100 percent, but what’s way more gross is that the staff kept selling out of that deli and didn't throw the stuff away.

The rats in Dunedin are pretty gross, but what’s worse is that we found out they've been there causing trouble since November and Countdown was trying to get on top of it but hadn't escalated the problem like they should have, prompting an investigation in late January.

It's awkward for Countdown, because they are in the middle of a rebrand to Woolworths in part to get the brand away from all the negative associations customers make between the Countdown brand and the allegations that supermarkets over-charge us.

Well, it's a tough start for Woolworths because it’s got the rats and mice attached to it.

Once again, this is a lesson that the most important thing is not what happens, but how to respond to it.

Unfortunate things happen to all of us in a personal or business capacity- and it’s often not the unfortunate thing that gets you in the most trouble but the failure to fess up about it and handle it properly.

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