The big supermarkets having been pushing hot cross buns and chocolate bunnies for weeks now, psyching up shoppers for the Easter weekend at the end of March. Now the RAS has joined in by announcing over four hundred individual showbags for the forthcoming Royal Easter Show. At first glance it’s a disappointing list, given that most of these bags are aimed at children. Fair Trading inspectors apparently scrutinise all the bags for things like choking hazards or projectiles that could take out an eye, but the common ingredient is still very much sugar – and lots of it.

It’s occurred to me that the multitude of confectionary bags full of brightly coloured sweets could be reduced to a single bag with just a half kilo of sugar, be it powdered or some other variety. A tenth of the cost of the average bag, all the kids would need is a plastic spoon or straw to suck it up, with the bag itself providing a handy container should they regurgitate the whole sickly mess.

Sydney Royal Easter Show, showbag pavilion, 2017. Image: flickr

This year many of the showbags are priced at $25 and upwards although there are a small number as cheap as $5 and $6. Mercifully plastic bags have been given the heave-ho, replaced by paper and cardboard and harking back to the days when all paper showbags were known as sample bags. The plastic might have disappeared from the outside but many of the bags contain cheap plastic toys, no doubt imported from China and elsewhere by the container load just for the Show. You wonder where they will all end up?

Kyle & Jackie O’s World Famous Showbag. Image: Royal Easter Show website

Many of the bags are marketed with the claim that the price is very much lower than the actual retail value of the goods therein. For example the Kyle & Jackie O World Famous Showbag, which sells for $35, is listed as having a retail value of $269.40. For that you get such choice items as one Sushi Hub Free Sushi Roll Voucher, 400g of  The Healthy Baker Protein Pancake Mix and a KJ Show Black Embroidered Cap. The bag itself is designed to sit snuggly over Kyle’s big boof head which would make a considerable improvement to his recent TV appearances.

Pink Floyd Showbag. Image: Royal Easter Show website

Last year I put forward a number of suggestions for bags I would like to see, particularly those aimed at a more adult market. One suggestion was the Donald Trump Indictment bag which contained a copy of Stormy Daniel’s book, Full Disclosure, a tin of creamed mushrooms (read the book and you’ll get the joke), a CD of the incarcerated January 6 choir singing “The Star Spangled Banner”, a Make America Groan Again cap and a giant whoopee cushion made to the exact dimensions of Donald Trump’s arse. Not surprisingly the contents seem ever more relevant today.

So here we go again with a list of the bags I would like to see this year, alongside such notables as the Darrell Lea Pig Out Bag, The Simpsons Duff Beer Bag and the Pink Floyd Bag (who in the hell would want a pair of the $8 Pink Floyd socks that are included?).

Donald Trump Indictment Showbag. Image: constructed

The ChatGPT BAG: Contains nothing but a well concealed speaker and a few electronics but guaranteed to keep the conversation up and offer good advice as you peruse the other four hundred bags on sale. “No, I’d give the crappy Kyle & Jackie O World Famous Showbag a miss if I was you!”.

The Barnaby Joyce Inflatable Air Bag: It’s the showbag that instantly inflates as a protective cushion should you mix too much grog with your meds and take a tumble in the street.

The Elvis Autopsy Bag: Not to be confused with the actual Elvis bag on sale at the Show, the autopsy version features a series of graphic forensic swap cards, half a dozen confectionary cheeseburgers and an oversized body bag which also doubles as a tent.

Ladies comparing showbags at early Royal Easter Show. Image: commons

The Sky News/Shock Jock Gas Bag: For those who seek shielding from all tabloid media, bigoted talk back tyrants and Fox News conspiracies the bag comes with a set of industrial ear muffs, a point and click bullshit detector and a roll of one hundred garbage bags, all labelled “not for human consumption”.

For a bit of instant consumer shock, check out the list of show bags that will be on sale at this year’s Easter Show –– and decide if you or your kids really need a $30 Metallica Bag or a similarly priced Police Action Squad which includes two plastic assault rifles. You could easily save money by making your own – buying a number of large brown paper bags and filling them up with edibles that are low in sugar, a good handful of Minties and toys from the local Op shop or Salvos. Label it THE AMAZING ALMOST SUGAR FREE WHACKO WEIRDO SUPER BAG and the young ones will never know the difference!

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