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Chutzpah

October 30th, 2005

The Weekend Fin (registration only) quotes Gloria Jean’s executive chairman, Nabi Saleh, as complaining that his competitors sold lousy coffee. Saleh wants to establish some sort of trade body to squeeze out independent competition.

My view is summed up by the AFR’s exercise in voxpop. They asked a couple in a Sydney GJ’s. The wife said you could get as good or better at plenty of plenty of places in their hometown of Bowral (not the sticks but not exactly the centre of cafe culture either), while the husband generously allowed

This isn’t the worst coffee I’ve had though. That was in the army

It seems appropriate to me, in a variety of ways, that GJ’s is closely associated with Hillsong Church.

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  1. Dave Ricardo
    October 30th, 2005 at 08:27 | #1

    The market for coffee seems to me to work really well. There is heaps of competition – it is not uncommon to find 20 places where you can buy a cup of coffee in one one strip of shops – but some coffees are better than others, because some people have better machines than others, some use better coffee beans and some are just beter at making coffee than others. It takes real skill. The price range is about $2.50 to $3.00, with the better coffee commanding the higher price, as it should. All of this from independents. No wonder Gloria Jeans is having a hard time of it. As Yobbo would say, that’s tough titties for them.

  2. Roberto
    October 30th, 2005 at 09:19 | #2

    if such a quality/standards board was created, Gloria Jean’s like Starbucks and others would have to be de-registered on quality and price “grounds”.

  3. observa
    October 30th, 2005 at 10:26 | #3

    We need the Dept for Coffee, a rigid licencing and quality control system with university trained coffee inspectors and only unionised staff allowed. It would also have a positive spinoff for our balance of trade too.

  4. October 30th, 2005 at 11:05 | #4

    At a Yass roadside petrol station many years ago this exchange was heard between a waitress and a truckie.

    “How was your coffee ?”

    “Well it wasn’t the best coffee I’ve ever had, but it was certainly the worst”.

  5. Terje Petersen
    October 30th, 2005 at 14:08 | #5

    Food is the most important thing in life. Of course it should be regulated by the ministry for everything. Lets nationalise the farms while we are at it.
    :)

    P.S. I don’t understand the chain of logic used by John to blame this on Hillsong.

  6. October 30th, 2005 at 21:50 | #6

    Terje, there was no such chain of logic, but nor did John purport to reach that conclusion. He said it seems appropriate that GJs is linked to Hillsong, but didn’t say Hillsong caused GJs’ bad coffee, or anything else for that matter.

  7. Terje Petersen
    October 30th, 2005 at 22:23 | #7

    Okay fair point. Now why is it appropriate that GJs is linked to Hillsong?

  8. Dave Ricardo
    October 30th, 2005 at 22:50 | #8

    From the Hillsong website

    NABI SALEH is the Chairman of Gloria Jean’s Coffees Australia and New Zealand. His strong business acumen and Godly wisdom have also enabled him to sit on several boards of directors for many large, non-profit organisations.

    It must be his Godly wisdom that has inspired Nabi to try to get his competitors regulated out of existence.

  9. Terje Petersen
    October 30th, 2005 at 23:18 | #9

    David,

    Not sure if you are just making a passing comment or attempting to answer my question.

    No doubt many Catholics, Anglicans, Hindus and Athiests also sit on company boards and try and get their competitors regulated out of existance.

    Is it appropriate that Catholics/Anglicans/Hindus/Athiests are linked to such endeavours?

    Or is it just certain flavours of religion that need to be outed.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  10. Dogz
    October 31st, 2005 at 07:42 | #10

    I’d also like to know why “It seems appropriate to me [JQ], in a variety of ways, that GJ’s is closely associated with Hillsong Church.”

    What is it about Hillsong?

  11. jquiggin
    October 31st, 2005 at 10:07 | #11

    To answer Dogz and Terje, I find (what I’ve seen of) GJs and Hillsong to be very similar: a flash exterior but no delivery on the implied promise.

  12. Dogz
    October 31st, 2005 at 11:04 | #12

    “a flash exterior but no delivery on the implied promise.”

    And what promise would that be in Hillsong’s case? That you’ll go to heaven if you follow their teachings?

    Not that you could prove their failure to deliver, but it seems hardly fair to single out Hillsong from all other religions on that count. And given their popularity, they seem to be delivering on what is at least perceived to be their implied promise by their congregation.

    So please expand – what implied promise do you have in mind? At present your comments just look like religious bigotry.

  13. October 31st, 2005 at 12:12 | #13

    Bah. Fifteen years ago, all one can get in Australia is a pub meal. Now it’s coffee, sandwiches and cakes. Australians are so boring.

    At this rate, it’ll be at least 100 years before one can walk out and get a choice of Chow Kue Teow, Mee Jawa, Asam Laksa, Bak Chang, Nasi Lemak, Roti Prata, Pisang Goreng, Bee Hoon, Nasi Briani, Rojak, Bobo CharChar, Heong Piah, Yow Char Kuai, Ham Chee Peng, Glutinous Rice Cakes, Chee Cheong Fun, Ayam Pangang, nine-layer kueh, Lut lut, clay pot rice…

  14. Todd
    October 31st, 2005 at 13:17 | #14

    So some head of Gloria Jeans is complaining that his competition is making bad coffee and should be regulated out of existence?

    Wow… when that revolution comes Gloria Jeans would be one of the first against the wall…. Talk about commercial suicide.

  15. Dogz
    October 31st, 2005 at 13:37 | #15

    Chui Tey,

    I don’t know which part of the country you live in, but within 5 minutes walk of my office I can get all that, plus a thousand other weird and wonderful asian concoctions, and a variety of dishes from several non-Asian countries as well (american, french, argentinian, italian, greek, spanish, …).

    My problem is weight control not boredom.

  16. Razor
    October 31st, 2005 at 14:39 | #16

    Chui Tey – I have to back up Dogz on that including the weight issue. I had Yum Cha yesterday with my solidly Anglosaxon family. I don’t know where you live but you ain’t looking heard enough.

    And, the reason for the situation 15 years ago and now is that this is a predominantly Anglosaxon country – try going to an Asian country and, excluding the big fast food chains, getting an Australian/European meal. The you will see that we a re light years ahead in our uptake of other cultures cuisine and othe cultural issues.

  17. Terje Petersen
    October 31st, 2005 at 15:08 | #17

    Celts are not Anglo Saxons but I digress.

    QUOTE JQ: To answer Dogz and Terje, I find (what I’ve seen of) GJs and Hillsong to be very similar: a flash exterior but no delivery on the implied promise.

    RESPONSE: You are sounding somewhat selective in your criticism of Hillsong. Does the Catholic faith do a better job of delivering on its promise? Oh thats right you have to be dead to know. What about the Anglicans or the Uniting Church? I don’t think you have explained yourself very well at all.

    From what I have seen of Hillsong they promote a form of faith and spirtuality focused on achieving grace and prosperity within this life. As an agnostic I have got to say they seem more relevant than some of the other denominations.

    The Mission statement of Hillsong is:-

    To reach and influence the world by building
    a large Bible-based church, changing mindsets
    and empowering people to lead and impact
    in every sphere of life.

    SOURCE: http://www2.hillsong.com/pages/default.asp?pid=8

    Is it your contention that they are failing in their mission?

  18. jquiggin
    October 31st, 2005 at 15:30 | #18

    Dogz,

    I agree with Cardinal Pell, quoted here. The teachings of Christ are for the poor, these guys are for the rich and the would-be rich.

    Terje, the fact that Hillsong has a Mission Statement, and one that could with modest changes be interchanged with that of any large corporation, is a good illustration of why I react badly to them.

  19. Dogz
    October 31st, 2005 at 15:49 | #19

    Well, yeah, Cardinal Pell would say that wouldn’t he? The Catholic church is all about command-and-control, and it’s much easier to keep the poor and less educated in line that it is to suppress the educated, rich, and would-be rich.

    Pretty rich (no pun intentdd) coming from the wealthiest church of all time. I believe Martin Luther had something to say about that. Maybe you’re thinking of Matthew 19:24 “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God”. I guess that means all the former Popes are languishing in hell with the camels.

    And maybe Pell should consult his bible – I don’t recall Jesus himself ever saying his message was only for the poor. I wonder what Jesus would make of the modern catholic church with its aloof high priests and unrepentent kiddie fiddlers?

  20. Terje Petersen
    October 31st, 2005 at 16:13 | #20

    Actually I think the eye of a needle refers to a city gate but again I digress.

    QUOTE JQ: The teachings of Christ are for the poor, these guys are for the rich and the would-be rich.

    RESPONSE: I seem to recall that Christ ministered to all without fear or favour.

    Given that 4 billion people on the planet live on less than US$4 per day, then anybody with a computer and Internet access is ridiculously rich. By your logic the teachings of christs are not for any of us.

    Jesus said: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

    Hillsong seems to acknowledge through action that for this commandment to make the world a better place it is first necessary that people have love for themselves. For those that can not care for themselves or love themselves have nothing to offer their neighbours.

    My mother worked all her life with mentally ill people. One of her most enduring and profound life message to me was that unless you first and formost manage yourself you can offer nothing but a burden to others.

    What bugs me about statist church preaching (that the Socialist Christians seem to advocate) is that they reach out to our wallets (through tax and spend policies) not to our hearts. Such an endeavour shatters the entire basis of community.

  21. jquiggin
    October 31st, 2005 at 16:15 | #21

    I’m going to call a halt to this one now.

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