Not all consumers think the Coles collector’s items are suitable for children.

While Customers have gone crazy for Coles’ range of miniature grocery toys, with people selling complete sets of the items online for up to $1,000. One shopper is not so impressed.

James Wallace posted a photo, on the Coles Facebook page, of the mini White King bleach, Vicks VapoRub and black shoe polish with the caption: “Hey Coles, these are not toys. Don’t teach kids these are toys!”

James added to comments “I was at a Coles today, love Coles, question to mother are you collecting?, answer suppose I should, cashier how many kids do you have? She then gave a number that was divisible by the number of kids. Which is sweet. But anyone who says these aren’t for kids is ridiculous. The arguments on teaching children and not letting them access the real thing are fair, I’m just of the opinion that toys that mimick the branding and look of real world dangerous objects shouldn’t be toys.”

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“I mean they are clearly a copy of Shopkins which in themselves are a waste of time and money but generally pretty harmless. With these there is the added drive to promote brand loyalty with children from as young as possible so I find that abhorrent as an idea,” James tells Kidspot.

“Then on top of that out of Coles’ thousands of products of which they only picked 30 to specifically market to children they chose to include things which should not be toys.

“I think that for a kid to play with wooden cleaning products in a doll house is fine but when you give them a bottle of bleach that looks exactly the same as the one in the cupboard that they aren’t allowed to touch it starts to make that bottle far more interesting.”

Coles responded to the post saying: “Hi James, thanks for your feedback, We are committed to responsible marketing practice, and as such we have worked closely with our creative agency to tailor our Little Shop marketing communications to our usual audience, the primary grocery buyer.”

He does make a valid point don’t you think?

One comment agreed adding they really are a choking hazard too – “This is actually a valid point I hadn’t thought about though. I was mainly thinking about kids leaving them lying around and the baby brother or sister choking on it.”

There have also been concerns the Little Shop promotion is a waste of plastic and contradicts the supermarket chain’s recent ban on single-use plastic bags. Read more on that HERE

We still totally adore it though!

Share your comments below

  • My children took the mini shop toilet cleaner and pretended to clean the toilet, it was cute,


  • You don’t have to put them in folders if you don’t want to. Many children go through a stage of playing shopping -either serving/selling or buying. Parents need to make sure their children are old enough and understand not to put them in their mouths so they don’t swallow them.


  • I wouldn’t collect them as my family are too old for them now


  • I love them but there’s no way I’m buying any separate from receiving them in my shopping. What I get is what I get and I’m happy.


  • I don’t think it is about people whinging it is about questioning the ethics and safety of these so called promotional toys. I personally feel that it is wrong for big brands to use this type of advertising, marketing to children is so wrong. Dangerous products should have been left out and they should have only used Coles or generic brand names. Also are they made from PET recycleable plastics?


  • I love them! I’ve always collected miniatures, this is just another lot to add to my collection. Sad I’ve been unable to buy the trolley or shopping basket due to being sold out. I think they’re super cute


  • I gotta admit it, I’m collecting them for myself. I love them and hide them from my kids! Yep, Guilty as charged!


  • After the plastic bags ban , this is the biggest drama , obviously.Just don’t take them if you don’t like them.


  • if you don’t want them then shop somewhere else or don’t accept them. ……. Problem solved!


  • Just say thanks, but no thanks then. All collectibles (and there are so many of them these days) are tiny and can be swallowed. Don’t buy them. Say NO! If you have a younger child (younger than 3) I imagine you need to always be concerned about small things that older siblings use – not just these items. Again, don’t buy them, have them… Funny that bleach and Vicks and shoe polish are not toys. I wouldn’t have thought Nutella, and Napisan and the other items aren’t toys either. Maybe it’s a teaching opportunity for what you would use these things for, and why they’re dangerous, out of reach, etc. A lot of outrage over not much, I think.


  • I haven’t gotten into the craziness of these toys. My son plays with the ones in his classroom but we haven’t gotten any for at home. As cute as they are, I think they are a bit small & I worry about my youngest getting a hold of them & putting them in her mouth.


  • I think people are getting way over the top with these minis – I get the point made above, but I think kids do understand the difference between a toy and the real thing. Kids under a certain age shouldn’t be playing with them at all and the ones who are old enough would know the difference. I’m collecting them for my almost 6yr old to use in her doll house and I really don’t see any issue with them.


  • I do agree there are better items than cleaning products that could have been produced. Even if your child is old enough to know the difference between the toy and the real thing, there is always that little devil that could be lurking in some children that could think it is ok to experiment with the big items.


  • Sigh! So much drama about these collectibles. If you do not like – do not buy – parents do have the purchasing power!

    • Bleach and Vanish and other such products that may cause harm if ingested etc should be locked away securely at all times. Parents should also teach their children about all types of products too.


  • I hadn’t thought of this point – will be reminding my son that the real items are not to be played with.


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