There are many things that provoke outrage about our current situation. The stripping of our civil liberties, the folly of the ruling classes, the indignity of having to suffer through socialising via Zoom. However, there is nothing that has disturbed me, that has provoked such thorough distaste and unease, that has well and truly fucked me off, as much as the USU’s grocery box initiative.
It’s absurd! I am not entirely convinced that it’s not an elaborate joke. A Pulp foray into satire, perhaps. Sadly, it’s real. Much like the USU’s cereal bar, which is also ridiculous, the grocery boxes are a product of an organisation run by a board of bourgeois idiots.
Each box is a considerably more expensive exercise than buying its contents from the supermarket. The fruit in the ‘Fruit Box’, which the USU is selling for $50, can be purchased for $35 from Coles. The ‘Butcher Box’? $52.50 from Coles, compared to $65 from the USU. The products within the ‘Pantry Pack’ and ‘Veggie Pack’ can both be bought from Woolworths for half the price the USU is selling them. The ‘Breakfast Box’ and ‘USU X STAR Team Pasta Box’ are frivolities that most students can’t afford to entertain.
These are not even particularly upmarket items. The idea of paying $50 for a small assortment of stone fruits and a pineapple is outrageous. The ‘Snack Pack’ hardly has the common decency to contain any good snacks. Who the fuck is paying $45 for Nutella and rice cakes?
Certainly not students, most of whom have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic. Besides, there are much better grocery boxes available. Students well financed enough to afford such a grocery box would be better off buying from the multitude of local restaurants and cafes offering nicer, more reasonably priced options.
It’s insulting that the USU would expect their student members to spend what little finances they have on a lacklustre grocery box. The USU’s energy would be much better spent in assisting the SRC’s mutual aid project, for which they have provided no support, despite SRC requests for collaboration. This is the tacky behaviour of a Useless Scab Union, and they should be embarrassed. I am embarrassed for them.
That these boxes are being promoted as a means of “saving the union” by an organisation that has stood down or fired most of its staff really takes the cake. What union is there to save? The USU has long favoured corporate pursuits over meaningful representation of student interests.
And what do our glorious, democratically elected Board Directors have to say about this?
Nothing. Most of them seem too embarrassed to publicly promote the boxes. If only they had enough shame to spare us the extreme cringe of their USU Instagram story takeovers.