The King Of Juices

On a warm summer’s day in Melbourne, Kane and I finally found what we were looking for, the most delicious juice there is: Mando, Mandarin Juice.

It took long enough though! In case you didn’t know, Mando mandarin juice is like the damn Holy Grail. And because of this, I wrote to their distributor to tell them to get it out into more of the stores and trending cafes.

October 23rd, 2012

Dear Red Zest Victoria (mandarin juice importer and supplier to SELECT places in Melbourne),

I am writing in regard to the supremely delicious Sicilian mandarin juice Mando your company supplies to SOME places in Melbourne, Australia.

Very few might I add.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on your choice of juice to supply. My friend Kane and I both agree that it is the best mandarin juice on the market, if not a little expensive in the cafes.  But hey, supply and demand eh? That’s how the economy goes these days I suppose.

I would like to continue on to NOT congratulate you on how readily available Mando, mandarin juice is throughout the fair city of Melbourne.

Kane and I have basically walked right around Fitzroy (and beyond) all week looking for it and were finally successful after breakfasting this morning at a café on Johnston Street called Bluebird. We were so relieved when we realised Bluebird stocked it that I said ‘FINALLY!’ out loud.

This combined with the fact that I cannot look out to my left after injuring my neck picking up a tennis ball, probably gave the waitress a real fright. Especially since I couldn’t make eye contact with her as she had approached from the left so I stayed facing Kane while ordering, who was in front of me.

When the mandarin juice arrived at our table we really felt like we were in heaven on earth. We basically did a minute silence whilst we drank, as the moment was so powerful. You could have cut the air with a knife. Talk about a direct hit to the tastebuds.

In case you were wondering, Bluebird café is where I got your contact details from and this is why I decided to write. Well actually, Kane asked the manager if we could take a photo of the juice container so I could get your mailing address.

The rest… is history.

I am a gigantic juice enthusiast, even connosieur some might say. I have tried different juices throughout the world and I would go so far as to say your mandarin juice is one of the best there is. Top 3 at minimum, maybe Top 2, possibly even Top 1.

However its availability leaves me very disappointed!

Could you not put Mando mandarin juice in all the supermarkets? Or the milk bars/ corner stores? Or a few more of the trending cafes around Melbourne?

I guarantee you would all be millionaires by now if Mando mandarin juice was made more readily available to the common hard working Australian. Even though I am a New Zealander, I am ¼ Australian and feel like I need to voice my concerns for the well being of my fellow countrymen.

You are probably wondering who the hell I am to get up on my high horse to tell you about where your mandarin juice should be supplied.

But I am no stranger to sales, and even used to work in a pyramid scheme in Sydney selling 10-trip concession cards to a Skirmish Fortress (paintball) in the Blue Mountains. I was promoted to team leader after just ten days so I think my expertise in supply and demand are pretty obvious.

At the moment, it feels like you would need the skills and resources of one of the characters from the Mission Impossible films to even locate Mando, mandarin juice and that to me is not good for business.

Here is a list of things I would say are about as easy to find as Mando mandarin juice:

a)       The holy grail

b)       Whole complete dinosaur skeletons

c)       Four leaf clovers

d)      Richey Edwards, the guitarist from Manic Street Preachers who went missing in February 1995

e)      Black boxes from aircraft that have disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle

f)        The original remains of Troy (the ancient city, home of Paris and Helen (of Troy))

g)      David Bowie since 2004 when someone threw a lollipop in his eye at a concert and he retired from the public eye

h)      True love, in this crazy, crazy world

Do you think you will increase the amount of places you will try and stock Mando, mandarin juice in the comings weeks, months or years? If NOT, would it be possible for you to send me (and Kane) the coordinates of all the Melbourne locations that serve or sell Mando mandarin juice? A PDF map would be great, but a list of the locations will also suffice.

Finally, and most importantly, my friend Kane (previously mentioned) has just opened a picture framing company called Wilma and as he is basically addicted to Mando, it would be really nice if you might be able to sponsor his company with mandarin juice. 12 or so cartons to start with would suffice!

Wouldn’t it be nice to think that there is a classy picture framer in Melbourne who serves chilled Mando to his prospective clients and colleagues? I think it is a match made in heaven. Maybe he could even do some framing for you at a discounted rate if you needed any done?

Aside from my gripes, I would once again like to thank you for bringing in to Melbourne some of the finest damn juice on the planet. God willing your coverage will expand and before long Mando will be the true – and rightful - king of the Australian juice market.

¡Viva la Revolución!

Reuben Bonner (mandarin juice enthusiast and advocate of mystery free shopping)

October 24th, 2012

Dear Reuben

Thank you for what can only be described as a remarkable email.
I appreciate your positive comments about our product as well as your criticisms. Many of your feelings and concerns mirror my own.
As you can imagine I would dearly love to expand our distribution network and do work at it as much as I can. However I’m sure you also realise there are a number of complexities wih our business, as with most others, which don’t make it as simple as it could be.
If you would like to give me an idea of your location in Melbourne I would be happy to direct you to the nearest resellers.
Regarding Kane’s framing business I am always open to discussion and, judging from both your history and obvious expertise, it would be a pleasure to discuss all matters Mando with you at a time when it is convenient.
Best Regards
Lu Italiano             
Red Zest Pty Ltd

October 24, 2012

Dear Lu,

No problem about the email. I’m glad our concerns are the same. 

I always say ‘If you are going to make an omelette, you need to crack a few eggs!’ which means you have to ask the hard questions, in my humble opinion.

It was great to hear back from you, and in such a polite way. I can imagine you were brought up very well, as your manners seem basically impeccable.


Are you a man or a woman? Lu, although a strong and likeable name could really be for a guy OR a girl. I just would like to know who I am dealing with here, not that it matters, but if we were ever to meet for a brainstorming session somewhere it would be nice to know. I have had this problem before when dealing via email with a man called Pascal from Paris who I thought was a woman. I accidentally offended him, when it all could have actually been avoided.

But back to the business at hand!

I understand your concerns with expanding the Mando empire and realise that just like the hit single from Morcheeba once said: Rome wasn’t built in a day, (hey hey hey). So hang in there.

I imagine things will only go up from here and as more and more people discover Mando, the demand will increase so much that Mando trucks will be hooking across town so fast to get the juice in the stores, that all the profits will probably be going towards paying off speed camera fines!  

What a juice, I have been talking about it to basically everyone I have seen since that fateful day I first tried it (yesterday). 

Kane had been telling me about this juice for around a year.

He thinks it is slightly more ‘tart’ than some of the other mandarin juices on the market.

I think that really could be a selling point to getting it in the stores.

'More tart than that other crap out there!' could be one of your mottoes, or something along those lines.

Kane really has been yapping onto me about it for a long time, hence the quest we decided to go on to find it. I will be returning to Bluebird cafe just to drink it, I will tell you that for free.

In regard to other locations, Kane lives in Fitzroy North, and I am staying in Fitzroy. So any of the places that supply it within 2.5km of those areas would be really helpful to know.

After receiving your email I have since been in contact with Kane and kept him abreast of the correspondence unfolding. I forwarded on your email and his reply was:

'Pretty good stuff… But keep at him!'

I replied by asking him if I made a map of Melbourne and marked in the locations where Mando is available, would he consider framing it?

This could be done annually and we would see the exponential growth of the places where Mando is distributed from year to year?

This could be kept at Mando offices OR at Kane’s framing business by the fridge where he would keep the chilled Mando mandarin juice.

All in exchange for say, 10-12 cartons per month? 

Kane and I could share the Mando between us no problem. I would probably only drink it when I was dropping by the framing studio.

I will be there probably a lot in the coming weeks as I am trying to get Kane to frame one of my original artworks entitled ‘Skateboarding Bear 2010’.

I actually first drew it in 2011 and had taken to drawing it behind paintings and/or photographs when I would stay in hotels or hostels when travelling. 

Afraid that my renegade artwork would ever be discovered just after I stayed at the various hotels or hostels I named it ‘Skateboarding Bear 2010’ to throw hoteliers off the scent. This way, if they had ever moved the paintings or photos to see the Skateboarding Bear and suspected I had drawn it, the fact that it was dated ‘2010’ really would have cleared me as a suspect. Since it was 2011 by the time I had drawn it.

I hope you understand my meaning; I have attached the picture for your perusal anyway.

Lu, it has been great corresponding with you, I hope to hear back from you in regard to the key locations to find Mando, mandarin juice around the Fitzroy and North Fitzroy areas. AND to see what you think about the deal I am trying to broker with Mando and Kane, one of Melbourne’s most talented up and coming picture framers.

Seems pretty serendipitous to me!

Keep the dream alive Lu, and keep the quality high.

Yours in refreshing beverage appreciation

Reuben P. Bonner (and Kane, who I have cc’ed in for arguments sake)

October 26, 2012

Hi Reuben

Sorry not to have gotten back to you sooner.

First of all, I am male.
Secondly, regarding availability, we are not great in your areas. Our Blood Orange is better represented eg. Brunswick St Alimentari, Caffetino, Cafe Nova, Maria’s Coffee House and Foodworks Nth Carlton.
Django Django on Brunswick St and Cafe Rosamond off Smith St  should both have stock of Mando.
I’d be happy to talk further of sponsorships etc. but, at the moment at least, I have to focus on increasing the network of resellers. Your suggestion of a map is good but, as you can see, there wouldn’t be a lot of entries !!
By the way, I like the Bear !!
October 26, 2012

Hey Lu,
Great to hear from you, and just before Friday knock off!
Good to hear you are male. That is what Kane thought. Although, I would have been just as happy to deal with a woman as I am a 21st century kind of guy.
Ok, availability. We can work with this, cafe Bluebird, Django Django and Cafe Rosamond. This is a great start. Kane and I will mark them on the map. Even though it is not a lot, who cares! You have to start somewhere. I predict that it will be at least double that by this time next year!
Why do you supply the blood orange juice to some places but not the Mando, mandarin juice? 
Especially when the Mando is far superior? (In Kane and my humble opinions).
Also, if we get this map made up and framed, what do you think about the cartons of Mando for Kane’s studio? We could even start with 5 per month if 10-12 is too much. 
We could probably pick them up as Kane has a basket on his bike. We could either collect them from your offices, OR the following places in Fitzroy
Bluebird Cafe
Django Django
Cafe Rosamond 
If you are not ready to talk about giving over any juice at this stage, I understand. But let’s keep up the dialogue.
I am currently in Melbourne for 1 month or maybe more. And I go to a few cafes. Would you like me to try and ask them if they would be interested in stocking Mando, mandarin juice? Maybe I could get some kind of laminate from you so it looks like I am officially representing Mando, instead of looking like some nutcase who has just walked off the street.
Anyway Lu. I hope you have a great weekend. I can guarantee you that I will hunt down some Mando in the next 48 hours, especially now I know all the best spots to locate it.
Onward and upward!
Reuben P. Bonner (Mando enthusiast and persistent emailer) and Kane (framer, cc’ed in as always)
p.s What do you think of Kane changing his last name from Blanchard to Toad. i have been trying to convince him.
p.p.s Glad you like Skateboarding Bear 2010, he is really becoming a bit of a cult hit around the art community, watch this space!

October 27, 2012
Hi Reuben
Regarding stores stocking the Rosso but not the Mando I guess it’s just a matter of personal viewpoints but the Blood orange outsells the Mando by 3 or 4 to 1. 
Blood Orange is simply more sought after combined with the fact that local products can’t compete for quality or year round availability.
With the map, I just don’t think we have enough outlets to really consider it’s value at the moment. As for some juice for yourself and Kane I imagine we can work something out especially if you think you can help me find a few more sales. By the way, I do also have the New Zealand rights for these products if you think there is any scope for them there.
Side note: I’d say there may already be enough Toads running around over here so perhaps just stick with Blanchard.  On the other hand “Shugah” might be worth some consideration.
Best Regards
Lu Italiano             
Red Zest Pty Ltd

Short URL for this post: