Mark Thompson

The snag sizzles for thee: Bunnings is our church, admit it


Yesterday, Bunnings decided to slightly change the sausage sandwich. The internet lost it. I think it’s time we talk about that place Australia, and why we’d defend it to the death.



In this fine land, we prop up a rather nonsense (albeit charming) habit. We tend to elevate the institution, but not the ones we should. It’s why we celebrate the return of the one-horse carnival to that patch of grass outside of town, it’s why we browse while lining up at the Post Office, and it’s certainly why we salute the Reichsmarshall of our weekends, Bunnings Warehouse.

But while lower prices are just the beginning, it has somehow morphed into a national icon, and I’m entirely sure that we’re not entirely sure why.

That hasn’t stopped the march of memes, the whirling fingers of dropkicks covering the jingle on a Fender, or clickbait articles miraculously extending to 300 words explaining it. It’s a place of industry, and grit and snags. It’s the Daryl Braithwaite Horses of retail. Which isn’t strictly a compliment.



Its power is so grand, that even our greatest living poet/impulse eater has felt compelled to digest the true meaning of.



But why? I realise that Bunnings is a place of unreachable ambition. A one-stop shop of all the things you need to validate your spot in the neighbourhood pecking order, or items to fill the grand yawning chasm of our personalities we’ve accidentally sanded down through the march to adulthood. Fundamentally, it is a massive shed with tools you have no idea how to use (or do, and will never), populated by overwraught shoppers you need to squeeze past and utter your blokiest ‘scuse me to. 

I’ll admit, I’m not the handiest bloke (I use a bottle opener to free my beer, not the derma under my forearm), but when I’m hit by that caustic wood/plastic smell, I begin to believe. Like Neo, I suddenly know the DIY Kung Fu. I don’t, but the receipt as long as my arm proves that I do. My point is even I have good memories of the place, even if they were populated by a now dead relationship, and a sadly deceased doggo. The ghosts still walk there, and that’s why I bought this drill. Which I don’t use. D’ya want me to teach ya about drill torque?

While many of us in this country have cast off religion as a load of shit, I believe we’ve just carried over both the meaning and the habit wholesale to Bunnings. It’s a trip we repeatedly do on a Sunday, but we’re not sure why. We just do. We’re going to Bunnings. I’m of the mind that those bogglingly cheap television ads they run/ran were actually mind control nonsense, and that climbing jingle was only made to trigger our Pavlovian response. I mean, who of a right mind would solely drive somewhere to buy pieces of 2×4 and freely feast on a rubbish foodstuff that we usually avoid? Bunnings is our Cathedral of nonsense. We walk through the door, and the week doesn’t matter, and for whatever reason, we feel better. It’s soft televangelism. We’re being manipulated by forces we don’t understand. What’s $89 in a grander scheme of things. We needed that other bin for the other room. Look how much we saved!

As Leonard Sweet (who may have sold shovels) said: “…The strength of the church is not the strength of its institutions but the authenticity of its witness.”

I mean, why else would the dorks of social media mobilise when the order of the sausage sanga was slightly edited somewhat.



They weren’t removed, or taken away, they weren’t even changed. Nevertheless, we can’t handle it.



We’re religious zealots. Any changing of the sacred texts bristles. Don’t change the commandments. It’s fine. It’s tradition. We need it.





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