A recent scientific study out of a local university has painted a damning picture of the lives of parents caught up in the current supermarket craze of collecting mini grocery figurines. The craze, which involves receiving a free figurine for every $30 spent at supermarket mogul Coles, has swept the nation, with parents madly trying to collect every piece for the set.

While most parents claim they are collecting these figurines for their children, the study also concludes that kids don’t actually care about the sets, preferring to play with something more interactive than a tiny orange juice bottle — i.e. pretty much anything they can find in the house, including a clothes peg. Believed to be the first study of its kind, a team of scientists analysed the collecting habits of over a hundred local families, while also completing in-depth psychological testing of the parents from those families.

The findings paint a disturbing picture of the people who have flooded social media in recent weeks to ask for swaps and trades with likeminded parents. Lead scientist from the study, Professor David Sampson, told The Watsonia Bugle, “I’ve always wondered about this phenomenon, but now we have the data to mount a very solid case. In almost all of the families surveyed, the stronger the desire to complete the so-called ‘Little Shop’ of heavily branded supermarket items, the more things these parents had missing in other aspects of their lives.”

Professor Sampson also said that the harder the parents tried to complete the set, the less it had to do with the children who were said to be “collecting” the items. He said, “Most of the children we spoke to showed nothing more than casual bemusement towards their collections. Only one or two children out of more than a hundred actually genuinely cared whether they got the full set of items. However, those interest levels and care factors ran at direct opposition with the parents of those children. Once we identified that disparity, we started to look closer at the psychological status of the adults involved. What we discovered was truly frightening.”