The Spud Shed: An exercise in degeneracy

We needed some supplies for a Sunday morning Father’s Day breakfast at my in-laws house, so on Saturday we stopped by The Spud Shed, Barragup. It’s not far from our home, and is half way between Mandurah and Pinjarra on Pinjarra Road. Yes, in Australia we celebrate Father’s Day in September.

I’m not solely responsible for grocery shopping in our house. I’m not remotely responsible. Really, I’m not responsible at all. It’s for this reason that I hardly venture inside grocery stores. On the odd occasion, I’ll be tasked by my wife to buy something on the way home from work or a meeting, usually milk or bread and the usual day to day essentials, or perhaps a treat to be consumed by hungry, ravenous children. Usually, I’ll pick these supplies up from the gas station which is conveniently on the way. Sure it means a couple extra dollars, but it’s convenient to not have to stop twice. I can get fuel and food at the same time. That’s the limit of my experience in doing the household shopping, and that’s the way it should be.

But on Saturday we needed more than what we’d find at the local gas station, which has never, to my knowledge, sold fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, eggs, chipolatas, orange juice and Hash Browns we were planning to have for the breakfast. We needed a proper grocery store.

Now, I’ve never classed The Spud Shed as ‘proper’ in any sense of the word. Driving past it, you can see it’s a dark, dingy looking place. I’ve always associated it with bruised, damaged, second rate food and bruised, damaged, second rate clientèle. The few times I have been in there, I’ve been confronted with living nightmares. Shabbily dressed people of questionable genetics groping around in the freezers, grunting derelicts with dirty hands pawing the fruit and vegetables. A morbidly obese woman in tights with her naked belly hanging over and being supported by the handlebar of her shopping trolley filling it up with as many 50c sausage rolls as she can fit while her two screaming butter-ball children cling to her ankles is an image that makes me weep for the future of the human race. Young but tired, soulless, uncaring girls behind the checkouts shoveling what passes for food into shopping bags. I usually follow along behind my wife, who in comparison to these people appears as glamourous and elegant as Paris Hilton or Scarlett Johansson, in silence trying not to make eye contact.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all of their food is the kind that you’d find in a Woolies dumpster. Their fresh fruit-n-veg is actually passable for human consumption and is quite plentiful and cheap, grown locally. Too bad most of the shoppers instead go for the kind of processed “brown” food that would make Jamie Oliver cry with disappointment and rage.

I’ve remarked to my wife more than once that the only thing missing from this house of horrors is Con the Fruiterer. Con is an old character from an 80′s Australian “comedy” show called “The Comedy Company“, a quasi-racist caricature of a Greek green-grocer with stereotypical catchphrases and mannerisms. He was pretty popular in the day, with the then Prime Minister appearing on his show saying that he was going to fix the economy in “a coupla days”.

And my goodness, who should we bump into hawking “Bewdiful” goods inside The Spud Shed at Baragup but the man himself.


At least we got out of there without anybody trying to eat my children.