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Those that forget their history …

It seems another icon is in trouble. Tupperware, the company that for decades relied on selling storage containers for the kitchen, is in financial difficulty. On 11 April, Yahoo Finance reported

[The share price of] Tupperware tumbled nearly 49% Monday, the largest drop on record, to notch an all-time low after the company said it hired financial advisers “to help improve its capital structure and remediate its doubts regarding its ability to continue as a going concern.

Despite the generations of (predominately) women who sold Tupperware to their friends and acquaintances at the “Tupperware Party” and the uniqueness of the product over the years it seems that the business has not kept up with the times. According to one retail analyst

Issues include a “sharp decline in the number of sellers, [and] a consumer pullback on home products”. He also said the iconic brand doesn’t connect with younger consumers.

“The company used to be a hotbed of innovation with problem-solving kitchen gadgets, but it has really lost its edge,” he said.

There’s no doubt Tupperware revolutionised food storage. However, now there are countless options that are often more affordable.

In 2020, Choice reviewed plastic food storage containers. Two Tupperware options were ranked the highest, one priced at $53 and the other at $31.

But coming in third place was a plastic container that had a Choice expert rating of 82 per cent and it cost just $2.

The US based company also didn’t file its most recent mandatory reporting on time – which may lead to various regulatory and financial penalties in that jurisdiction.

And while this site is not a business blog, there are similarities between the manufacturers of Tupperware and the behaviours of the federal Coalition led by Peter Dutton. It seems that Tupperware’s problem is that while it is a known brand, there is no unique selling proposition as others have innovated to create market share. Given the choice, most of us would purchase the $2 food storage container and assuming it did the job of keeping things fresh, just keep on buying the $2 items as required. After all you can purchase quite a lot of them before the Tupperware container is cheaper. In a similar fashion, the conservative vote is being split across different groups who are taking votes off the Liberal Party. Dutton’s problem is that a lot of the votes don’t come back to the Coalition through preference distributions.

In a similar way to Tupperware, the current state of the Coalition is a demonstration of a failure to innovate or move forward. While those that are left in the Coalition continue to prosecute arguments that were settled some time ago, such as climate change, the “Voice to Parliament” or even the selfish and pointless arguments about who’s cost of living estimates were less accurate at the last federal election, the rest of us have moved on. Fear, uncertainty and despair can only work for so long; and not for everyone. Instead of calling critics ‘woke’ or ‘communist’ and suggesting that only an ABC reporter would ask such questions, the Coalition should be engaging with those of differing opinions in an effort to broaden their appeal. After all, they need 50% of the voting population plus one to vote for them or their fellow travellers to gain government.

The Albanese ALP Government is not perfect by any means, and you could argue they are not making sufficient changes fast enough, but there does seem to be a plan locked away somewhere far away from the view of the public or the media. In short, they are innovating, and the only reaction seems to be a collective sigh of relief and release of pent-up frustration across the country. It also seems that the Government can reach out to others to implement policy when the need becomes apparent. While neither the ALP or their counterparts might get everything they want, they get what they need and can live with.

Results in both the New South Wales State election and the Aston by-election indicate that the Coalition has come to the view that eventually we will all ‘come to our senses’ and return Coalition Governments to power if they keep promising to act in the same way as they had previously. While some may enjoy the familiar embrace of the Prime Minister holding additional Ministerial roles without telling too many people, the rorts evidenced by the promised construction of commuter car parks, the complete disregard for action on climate change or acknowledgement that most social security recipients were not out to game the system for their benefit, most of us won’t.

Tupperware have realised their lack of innovation and ability to change with the times has caused a serious problem for the company, and they are attempting to address it. The Coalition under Peter Dutton seem to be deliberately digging in to the past and suggesting it is the way of the future. Another large American company tried that in the early 21st Century and went bankrupt. That company was Kodak. Despite inventing the digital camera, they decided there was more money in selling photographic film than digital cameras. There wasn’t.

Those that forget their history are likely to repeat it.


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  1. B Sullivan

    “The Albanese ALP Government is not perfect by any means”

    An understatement. The only thing that it has going for it is the PM’s dog. I wish Toto was our PM. But of course, it is good that his government isn’t perfect because we all now know that perfect is the enemy of good.

    “Those that forget their history are likely to repeat it.”

    The Coalition is irrelevant now, because Labor has taken over their roll again. The Coalition has proved to be hopeless at steering government policy to the right so once more Labor has to show them how to maintain that course without so much fuss.

    And why would the Coalition want to innovate or move forward? They are a conservative party that wants things to stay as they are on the same course that is ever moving to the right where privilege has sovereignty over equal rights. Labor is far more appealing to voters because it gives the impression that it would like to be progressive and move towards equal opportunity for all, if only it wasn’t obliged not to.

    “After all, they need 50% of the voting population plus one to vote for them or their fellow travellers to gain government.”

    No. They only need a bit more than 30% of the voting population to gain majority government under the Australian electoral system. Like with the current Albanese government. Or is that a bit of history you’ve already forgotten? Until Australia gets real democratic electoral reform you can be sure it is history that will be repeated, again and again.

  2. New England Cocky

    The LIARBRAL party of self-serving, unthinking puppets dance like marionettes for any foreign owned or local corporation willing to ”feed the beast” and the contained unelected political hacks who determine pre-selection of inadequate, unworthy candidates lacking talent. That has been the case since Little Johnnie Howard slunk into power and supported appointing candidates reflecting himself.

    Personally, for the national interest it would be wonderful if Boofhead Duddo was elected Leader of Life of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition with the very underwhelming $us$san LeyZee as his yapping lap-dog. Then sensible thinking policies could be created and implemented by community orientated politicians concerned that Australian egalitarianism is on its knees and that Australian sovereignty was sold out by Scummo with the USUKA subs deal to prop up the failing Old World Order at potential enormous cost to our nation.

  3. Terence Mills

    I recall a discussion with a Tupperware executive in the 1970’s. He was asked why couldn’t the public buy Tupperware in Kmart or Coles etc as undoubtedly it was a good product and there was demand.

    His response was that they had a unique sales platform in the home and didn’t need to use major retail outlets apart from which, to do so would undermine their sales force.

    They were right and they were wrong – they didn’t listen to the vibe and their competitors swamped them.

    Still a good product !

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