Have you ever wondered how the hell we stock up on our groceries when we live 5 hours from town? Well today you can stop wondering. I know it has been bothering you so I am going to let you all in on the secret of the outback store run. I guess you could call this the sequel (or maybe more of a prequel) to the post I did on an Outback Supermarket.
Every couple of months, or whenever I feel it is needed, I do a store stocktake. If you missed my post on the Outback Supermarket then, by all means, please go and have a read. This will explain our station “supermarket” to you. Ok, off you go and we will wait while you read.
Right, so I head over to that “Supermarket”, or store as I like to call it, with my clipboard, spreadsheet of items and pen and tick and flick. I just note down any items that we need and how many we need. Usually boxes or cartons not single packets. Once I am done with the store I head to the cold room and freezer and do the same there, checking which items are getting low and how much of each item we require. Bearing in mind that if I place this order today it will not arrive here at the station for at least another couple of weeks and then it needs to do us for a couple of months….so you really need to think ahead, quite a bit. Ordering 3 items of something is not going to cut it, by the time the order actually arrives the stock on hand will be even lower than it was when I did the stocktake.
So then I trot myself back home and plop myself down in font of the computer for at least an hour or more. We order our food through Gulf Wholesalers in Mt Isa. They then get the goods from Townsville and deliver them to our depot in town (the company we work for has a depot and office in Mt Isa, we are very lucky to have this). Once the goods are at the depot Mr Chardy will organise for a truck to go into Mt Isa and collect the pallets of stores, along with 2,073 other items he probably needs for the station, i.e.: tyres, parts etc.
This time Georgie was the lucky one to head to town. Look, here is a visual of the truck when she arrived back at the station. She headed off at 4am and after a full day collecting and loading goods she was home by around 10:30pm.
Once the truck is back the pallets of stores are unloaded and dropped in the store shed, ready to be unpacked onto the shelves. This is the
shit fun part. It helps if you have the store all sorted and ready to go, which I clearly don’t. Look, this is our store shed.
Included in this order is a heap of gear for the station Rec Club – soft drink, chips, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, batteries etc.
Any cold/frozen items that we order are brought out on our company mail plane. We are so lucky to have this service and Chris who is the Manager of the Depot in town is also the company pilot. He has worked tirelessly for the company for about 30 years and is one of the only people I feel comfortable flying with in a small plane. He does a marvellous job packing the plane each week. It is like a game of tetrus. He has to make sure the load is just right and balanced so he can take off and land ok. He delivers any cold/frozen items we have ordered as well as our usual fruit & Veg and bread order. He also delivers mail, fruit and veg to 3 other stations on this same run, so there is always quite a bit to fit in the plane. He will keep bringing our cold/frozen items out each week until they are all here, we just need to be patient.
You also need to bear in mind that we are small compared to a lot of stations around these parts. We only have 15 people here, so can you imagine the ordering systems for those stations that have 5o staff living on site? Huge! It would be a full time job I tell you.
So there you have it. This is how we shop, outback style.
Do you live on a station? How do you order your food?
If you live in town – do you sometimes wish you had a forklift to get your groceries into the car?