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Babylon Express: Starmarts Breeding Out Of Control

EDITORS NOTE: Scoop is publishing satirical articles from the Babylon Express newspaper. Those easily offended and not often amused should avoid this content. See authors note at the end of this article for more information about the Babylon Express.

The discovery by a Mount Cook couple that their kitchen had become a Starmart convenience outlet overnight, employing their 17 year old daughter as a staff assistant, has increased calls for tougher control measures to address what Ministry of Consumption officials are describing as an "urban epidemic".

Mary Chickenstock, 41, woke up on Tuesday morning and entered the kitchen of her Mt Cook residence to discover the soft wood tones and easy, clean-cut lines of an $18,000 kitchen re-fit the previous year gone, and a garish green and orange plastic nightmare in its place.

Shelves stacked with confectionaries stood where the kitchen table had previously been, with further equally stocked shelving full of every imaginable containable comestible taking up all avaialable wall space.

Her shock was further compounded when her daughter Tracy popped up from behind the counter that stood where the kitchen bench had been the night before and greeted her with a cheery smile and breezy greeting.

Mrs Chickenstock immediately called her husband Martin, 39, to the kitchen, the arrival of whom saw the new outlet make its first sale of 50 grams of Port Royal tobacco, a packet of slim filters, and a Dimonion.

Mr Chickenstock had praise for daughter Tracy, however, for "finally getting off her arse and paying her own way for a bloody change."

A spokesperson for Starmart said that the outlet had been placed in the Chickenstock's residence only after "intensive market scholarship."

"Our forecasts showed a high growth-need in this particular kitchen-area for a 24 hour convenience-equilibrium unit, catering to the specific needs of a defined target-group in the expansive 31-45 year old demographic sub-sector", he said.

However, Ministry of Consumption officials voiced concern over the development, with one saying "While this government is committed to policies that will boost business initiatives, we do have significant concerns about policies that will boost business initiatives."

Ministry officials cited the experiences of a Ngaio family who in the past 4 months have been forced to cede 4 rooms of their house and a number of teenage family members to the convenience chain.

The Starmart brand remains unfazed.

"What we're seeing now is a new level of market consolidation" said the spokesperson. "In the future we visualise a Starmart in every home, tailored to the individual needs of the dynamic on-the-go modern consumer. We are at this stage also developing a special 'lock-on' program that will enable our clients to discover consumption needs that may have hitherto remained hidden from themselves - what we call the Level Two Desire Matrix. There are also -" Here the spokesperson halted mid-sentence as a blank, glassy stare came into his eyes and an antenna rose up from the back of his head. After a series of spasmodic twitches the spokesperson's eyes rolled back to be replaced by streams of encoded numbers rolling down, while in a dull, metallic voice he began repeating "Receiving data…receiving data...receiving data..."

- The Babylon Express is a satirical newspaper published randomly in Wellington. Copies are so far only available in local shops whose proprietors haven't got sticks up their arses. Those interested in acquiring previous or upcoming copies should contact the editor at Contributions and suggestions are always very welcome. Cheers.

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