Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What the *bleep*bleep* did you expect me to do?

A council staffer & a contractor entered the Wayside Tavern (during a busy meal trade and without notice) demanding that Mine Host make time to meet with them then & there.

The driveway of the Wayside Tavern was to be dug up & reconcreted (for secret local authority reasons), and that this would have "a temporary impact upon your drive-through trade".

They snorted contemptuously at Mine Host's serious answer to their question of "when would be the most convenient time to do this work?" (Answer: Midnight the day before Good Friday, alternatively Midnight Christmas Eve)

These fellows have reached middle age, yet have had insufficient interaction with the working economy to be able to comprehend that there are people whose business is at work almost every hour of the day, every day of the year.

So removed from reality are these fellows that they assumed Mine Host was jesting.

The contractor (at what he believed was a smart alec remark by Mine Host) became short, and announced that he had "tried to cooperate", he noted Mine Host's statement that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday were the slowest part of the week, that he "would endeavour" to carry out the works during the nominated slow period, and that Wayside Tavern would recieve "one day's notice" of the excavation works.

"After all" explained the council staffer "we all have to share the financial pain of CBD improvements" (He doesn't)

Mine Host agreed that 24 hours notice of a 3 day closure would be plenty of time for him to lay off the staff of the drive-through shop.

The mood changed with whipcrack speed.

For some reason it always happens to this exact same script: Some regulation/bylaw which will hurt a business elicits a smug "oh well, can't be helped" attitude from the public servant who makes the decision, but when this is translated into job losses the smugness is replaced by distinct unease & discomfort.

"You.. er.. can't just DO that you know". (I can) (THIS always happens too, right on script, they go from "impartial" local authority regulator to informal Industrial Relations advocate - which is waaaay outside their letters of marque)

Someone who three seconds before couldn't give a hoot about Mine Host losing money thanks to some directive suddenly becomes almost hotheaded when smacked by the reality that their "impartial" application of this directive has just cost the job of an ordinary worker, and becomes most anxiously concerned that nobody lose their job.

The about face is quite comical. I really should capture it on film one day.

"You force a 3-day closure of their workplace, you force a 3-day closure of their job! It is that simple"

Mine Host then did make a smart alec comment: "We all have to share the financial pain of the improvements to the CBD you know"

Mine Host expects when the excations happen there will now be the utmost consideration given to minimising the impact upon the Wayside Tavern.

Think of it how you may, but Mine Host has saved the pay-packet of staff. As a bonus a pair of stuck-up tin gods have had one put over them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Man of Fairy Floss.

Mine Host has:
Held an actual job for 4 years (and longer).
Spoken coherently in public without a teleprompter.
Run something, run it successfully.

Mine Host recognises an inferior being in the president-elect of the USA. (who has yet to achieve ANY of the above)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Retirement Village?

The road up the east coast....
Mine Host recently had occassion to visit Kuala Terengganu, a city with a population of almost 300,000.
Though the place had nothing like the metropolitan feel or hustle & bustle of Queensland coastal cities with populations less than one third the size.
The place had a sleepy feel and a bustle which would have matched a population of 20,000 or less.

These houses could do with a coat of paint, but note the impeccable condition of the rooftops, in particular the superior valley guttering. These houses are well maintained. This is a place which gets rain.
A couple from Mine Host's town have retired here. (er.. not to one of the houses above, those are not typical of Kuala Terengganu) Happy as larry with their choice, they feel at home here.

An uncommon choice of location for retirement, especially for people whose umpteen generations in Queensland had been spent in the same town.

Perhaps they felt like a fish out of water in Qld. Even the largest established muslim population in Qld isn't all that large. (Newer, immigrant, 2nd generation or convert populations in the big smoke are a different kettle of fish)

In an event remniscent of the catholic/protestant divide of years gone by, the wife of the couple had been prevented from marrying "outside the faith".

In a smallish town there was no escaping what her parents forbade to her. Her beloved from the years of her youth operated a shop directly across the road from the business where she was employed. For the 40+ years of her working life she could see accross, and he back. Her employer of later years would occassionally send her accross to the shop on an errand....

....Without any hint of a late deviation from the path and ultimate destination forced upon them in their youth, one could still see the spark, alive in two people now each a grandparent, the spark of what both their parents had forbidden. He forbidden to marry outside his race, she from marrying outside her faith.

If only their parents could have seen that by the time their children were grandparents the religion/race mixing taboo, unthinkable in the 1950's, would be an irrelevance, that their great-grandchildren intermarry between chinese, malay, ceylonese, japanese and arab without any concept of the frantic social taboo which would have once overshadowed even the suggestion of kids "walking out" together.

The husband of the retired couple, surprisingly for an umpteenth generation Australian, suffered no discrimination or anything for an act which would in another time have had him killed by firing squad. Even in other parts of Australia it would have seen him if not jailed, at the very least shunned by many, sent to Coventry for life.

For in his youth he had journeyed from Australia to Indonesia and joined a "foreign legion" of fighters to oppose Australian and Commonwealth troops during the Konfrontasi.

The "Claret" incursions of the Konfrontasi were grim enough. One can only imagine the outcome if Australian troops, fighting to keep Sabah and Sarawak as Malay territory, had in the aftermath of a contact, made the discovery that one of their opponents, instead of a javanese conscript, was a turncoat white Australian (complete with a Scots name) who had paid his own passage and voluteered to take them on.

Immigration to a new land, with no family ties or reception at the destination, a new way of life, and new language, never to return to where your family has lived for generations, is a step not usually taken in the twilight of one's life.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

To side with Angels, or the Devil?

Mine Host, with limited knowledge of foreign stuff has, as always, been bamboozled by coverage of the yank presidential election campaign.

Not that you need to know much. Just find out which candidate Jane Fonda supports;

...then vote for the other feller.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo

With the upcoming return to unfair dismissal laws spurring the dismissal of roughly 10 staff, Mine Host has to decide who will go.

Will it be decided by coin toss?
Last on first off?
Who has had the most sick days?
Those of ill-temper?

To decide who finishes up, the method used will be: Who is the most useless?

One put his head on the chopping block this very week.

It is not often staff perform abominably in the presence of the boss. However such stupid creatures do exist.

Mine Host is lurking in the boutique bottle shop, in discussion with the retail manager, the counter manned by an able bodied 55-yo male staff.

A frail woman of more than 70 years of age enters the shop. A regular customer. One bottle of spirits and one of fortified wine. She gives her order to the attendant, who is leaning on the counter as would a 17 year old.

Without lifting his elbows from the counter, he jerks his thumb & grunts to her "They're on the shelf over there".

Mine Host stops his conversation long enough to indicate with his hands to the old dear to not move, fetches the bottles, conducts the sale and pushes her trolley to her car. Once she is gone the attendant is summarily dismissed, an employee of about one year's standing.

An able bodied mature aged male who would force a frail elderly woman to fetch & carry, ...well... such a twerp would have to be berefit of any character or moral fibre.

Especially as fetching bottles & carrying to the car is a service we provide.