Thursday, December 02, 2010

Lakminichaturi Ashanesinthuja Madakalapuwa

A minor incident had occurred in front of the Wayside Tavern. Police attended.

A young Constable stood on the footpath, interviewing the witness. With notebook open he condensed the witness' observations into the pertinent details, these he wrote down.

In such situation the police will always write in their notebook the details of the witness:
Full name, date of birth, address and telephone number.

The witness, one of the Wayside Tavern staff, was a Sri Lankan national. Who despite sharing our national sport, are an ethnic group previously unknown in this part of the world. His full name was rather an alphabet soup. The name above, though not his actual name, isn't much different.

If one hears the name "Peter Jackson" spoken aloud only once, it can be written down correctly, due to a lifetime of conditioning to Anglo names.

This is not so easy when as an adult, one encounters a set of foreign names for the first time. (Anybody who on their first ever trip to New Zealand has recieved over the telephone a barrage of directions down various farm roads will know what I mean).

Painstakingly the witness repeated his name & slowly spelled it for the officer.

After several attempts at the name, and with the effort of concentration causing the tip of his tongue to protrude from the corner of his mouth, the Constable plaintively looked around, then haltingly spoke:

"Erm... did anybody else happen to witness what just happened?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tiger in the Cage

A disgruntled customer is leaving the Wayside Tavern. In the foyer he puts his fist violently (as some are apt to do) through the wall, Twice.
On the street he violently punches and kicks the door frame.
Moving along he savagely kicks & punches every door & window he comes to.

Mario the security boss strolls down to where this citizen is unleashing fury onto a neighboring property. The ploy is to engage the miscreant in conversation until such time as the police arrive.

Mario is quite good at "Jaw-Jaw". To the casual observer it would appear the pair are engaged in quiet discussion.

When the police arrive the miscreant gets quite lippy with them and talks himself into being arrested. This done, he commences a verbal rant against "Blacks".

Much is said, a lot of it a significant dig at Mario ("Black so-and-so should never have been allowed into the country", "Why are black things like that allowed to throw me out of a pub?")
And lots of general comment:
"Black [deleted word] should never be allowed into my country"
"Why do we let 'em in? It makes me puke to come into a pub & have blacks serving drinks"
And so on & so forth. This is all said with a Constable holding him by each elbow.

A voice rich with Melanesian timbre speaks "Just put him in here with me!" This has come from the back of the paddy wagon. It had arrived with a prisoner aboard.

When the door of the paddy wagon opens, the new prisoner who seconds before had been so full of aggression against the world in general and blacks in particular, is overcome with fright. (A condemned prisoner being thrust onto the gallows couldn't have been more reluctant.)

It takes all the effort of both Constables to push the fellow in through the door, which they hurriedly lock.

As the police return to the footpath "to take statements", the paddy wagon begins to rock violently on its suspension. This is accompanied by noises of flesh striking the walls.

The Two Constables, backs to the paddy wagon, take lots of notes and interview many people.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Connections by Phone

Scene: Wayside Tavern. Front Door.
Time: Late Saturday Night.
Cast: Police Officer in distant coastal resort town (voice only), Boss of Security Guard Co, Mine Host.
Props: Mobile Phone.
Action: Mine Host & Boss of Security Guard Co are engaged in idle chatter at front door, mobile phone rings...

Mobile Phone: Ring, ring,

Boss Guard: (bringing phone to ear) Hello, Mario speaking.

Voice on Phone: (audible to Mine Host, due to volume turned up to maximum level) This is Sgt Plod of Distant Coastal Resort town police, my boys have just picked up one of your guards for high range Drink Driving, what do you want us to do with him?

Boss Guard: Can you do something about it mate?

Voice of Police Officer: Easily, it'll never be heard of again, it didn't happen. Bye.

Action: Boss Guard puts phone away, Mine Host (shaking head) shuffles away indoors.

Note: The boss guard & the policeman didn't know each other, the (allegedly) drink driving security guard was on holiday in a different province, several hundred km from his workplace.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Soviet Union Without the Tanks, and just as Inefficient

Like many, Mine Host is no stranger to the frustrations of dealing with Australia's telephone company. Currently named "Telstra", it is the only nationwide provider of landline, internet & mobile phone services. There is no alternative provider.

In most places options are limited to:
a) Use Telstra or;
b) Do without telephone & internet.

Mine Host longs for the day when competition in the telecoms industry extends to areas beyond the Cappucino divide.

Pre-competition Telstra (then named "Telecom") had a customer service attitude that led to it being known far & wide as "Just like the Soviet Union, but without the Tanks". Little has changed.

When the Diver's Arms took over an adjacent motel wing, the acquired operation had 9 landlines accross Two accounts. Mine Host & the vendor filled out forms to transfer the Two accounts to Mine Host's existing account.

The forms were submitted, time passed, the telephones in the new motel wing were cut off. For "non-payment of account".

Extended periods on hold ensued, followed by discussions with the usual round-robin of consultants in various sections of Telstra.
Outcome: Mine Host was requested to resubmit the original forms for transfer of the Two accounts as Telstra claimed to have no record of a change of customer.

Telephone services were restored.

Time passed, the telephones in the new motel wing were cut off. For "non-payment of the account". Telstra claimed no knowledge of any change of ownership paperwork & got quite snippy about the bill. Extended periods on hold ensued, followed by discusssion with consultants in various depts. of Telstra...... etc etc etc.
The change of customer forms were re-submitted, everything "will now be fixed up sir".. blah blah blah.

Time passed, the telephones in the new motel wing were cut off.. etc etc etc..... Again Telstra claimed no knowledge of any change of customer forms, & so on............

.........As time passes Mine Host is armed with an ever-enlarging set of Telstra refernce numbers, consultant's names, and list of special teams that his case has been escalated to.

The change of customer forms have now been submitted Four times in Three months.

It would be false to claim nothing has changed, as;
Two of the 9 landlines have been permenantly disconnected. (Guests now have difficulty phoning out)
One of the landlines has been transferred singly to Mine Host's account.
The original Two accounts are still in the name of the vendor (sans the landline that has made it accross to Mine Host's account)
One of the landlines has branched out onto a new account of it's very own, also in the name of the vendor.

At every step of the way Mine Host has spoken to Telstra staff who come accross as efficient, intelligent, and with a full understanding of their product.

The original paperwork is slowly becoming covered with stamps saying "Submitted to X on date X via means X (Mine Host popped into the newsagent & got a rubber stamp that says "Submitted......." with a space for the date)

You couldn't make it up.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Watch your Tongue !!!

With a workforce that historically has been One-Third native Australian, Mine Host is one of the larger scale employers of (what are currently called) indigenous people.

Surrounded as he is by Government Departments, Mine Host is often amused by the dynamics of public servants pretending to not notice race, whilst knowingly or unknowingly getting themselves into a twist over pandering to perceived racial sensitivities.

This is a phenomenon that exists only in the public service, academia, & other places where tangible results for work done are not important.

The administation manager of the Wayside Tavern was indigenous. On a particular day this Administration Manager received a telephone call from the local department head of a Federal Government Department.

At some point in the conversation the Department Head suddnely realised who was on the other end of the line, & in a mixture of anger & bitterness spat into the phone:
"You're that Black Bastard that's in charge there, you've always been a problem!"

Realising what they had said, a frantic & desperate Department Head arrived a few minutes later, anxious to apologise, appease, or anything to have the matter swept under the carpet.

Well accustomed to racialism, & being called this & worse on an almost daily basis as just being part of the job, the admin manager went through the motions of having a cup of tea & a scone with the frantic Department Head, after which an assurance was made that the matter was "already forgotten".

Oops! Important error in the above. The racial identities are back to front. It was an indigenous black department head calling a white anglo-saxon a "white something beginning with "C")
But the essence of the story isn't changed, is it?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Culturally Insensitive Teacher

A teacher is in front of her class of teenagers. Mid-lesson a teenage boy (from another class) strides purposefully into the room, without so much as a bye-your-leave, marches to the desk of a girl pupil (his younger sister) and sets about bashing her.

The beating is fast, savage & expert. By the time teachers have intervened, blood is drawn, lips are smashed, her dress is torn, bruising and black eyes follow.

How was this handled by the teachers?

The Police are not called. Instead the Teacher whose class was interrupted gives the boy detention, or lines to write out (or something equally mild) as punishment for interrupting class & failing to "show respect" for his sister.

A day or two later the teacher is again in front of her class. Mid-lesson a woman (mother of the abovementioned brother & sister) strides purposefully up to the Teacher, without so much as a bye-your-leave, and with brutal swiftness sets about bashing the Teacher.
The first blow knocks the Teacher back over the teacher's table. The table is tipped over, the Teacher lands with a thud on the floor. Class props & student projects are sent flying as the woman's intensely physical attack on the Teacher continues.

This time the Police are summoned. The woman is taken away by the Police, all the while loudly proclaiming that nobody "interferes" by telling her son how to handle his sister AND gets away with it.

The Education Department tut-tutted aplenty and pressured the Teacher into not pressing charges against the woman. The police "investigated" & found no charge to stick the woman with.

The Teachers Union didn't wait for the Teacher to contact them. Instead the union's senior official in the nearest city immediately made a public statement that they would be helping the Teacher with counselling on the matter of cultural insensitivity, and that Teachers in general should be more culturally aware of the norms of the towns in which they teach.

During a newspaper interview (on another matter) the reporter seeks Mine Host's opinion on, amongst other events, the recent high school "incident". Mine Host, having just read in the press the comment by the Union, gives a quick opinion on the topics of:
Protection of Members (union abrogation of),
Common Assault,
Public Disorder Offences,
Safety in the Workplace (as viewed by the Trade Unions)
Classroom Discipline,
Liability of Employers who fail to take measures to prevent staff being assaulted at work.
And a quick character opinion & suggested alternative career of the union official who made the reprehensible statement implying that the Teacher brought it upon herself.

The reporter blurted: "That union officer is my daughter!"
Then calmed down Three seconds later & said "By golly, you're dead right though, I've never thought about it like that before!"

This, in a Queensland state high school, in a Queensland town, in 2010.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unsafe Workplace

New girl arrives to take up a position.

She filled in an employment contract stating there were no injuries or medical conditions that would impair her ability to work, then signed underneath her words.

This representation was not consistent with her Facebook page, which revealed her discussing Two injuries & how she was going to conceal these injuries until she could get a job & "get compo" for them.

A week or so after starting work, she came to Mine Host for a small cash loan, as she "had to get something at the Chemist's shop"

Eagle eyed Mine Host noted her strolling back from the Chemist shop carrying a bandage & arm sling.

The following day when working alone & unobserved she "injured" her arm in the course of her duties.

Presenting with the injured arm bandaged & in the sling, she announced to Mine Host that she would have to submit a Worker's Compensation claim.

Mine Host then had a brief conversation with her, conducted under the cone of silence.

As a result of this conversation she immediately resumed her duties, having had a sudden change of heart about a Worker's Compensation claim.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Screeching in the Night

Shrieks and Cries that eminate from the nocturnal shadows & surrounds are nothing to remark upon. One can almost believe intelligent gorillas or creatures from the netherworld are occupying the world outside the walls. It is as if childhood fears of bogeymen or the-thing-under-the-bed have returned to haunt adulthood.

However it is not gorillas or bogeymen, it is humans. Alcohol & worse having depleted their their humanity & inhibitions. Under cover of the post-midnight blackness they fight, love, maul, vandalise, drink and destroy.

Blood curdling screams were heard this particular night, from Three o'clock in the morning until an hour or so before the pre-dawn light. Such was the horrible crescendo of the screeching that one could almost believe that the noise was an animal (or human) in mortal peril. (Anyone who has heard Curlews calling in the night will know what I mean.)

At Half-past Seven in the morning Mine Host is loitering at his front gate (as you do), surveying his front wall for signs of damage or attempted entry, whilst simultaneously admiring the verdant peacefulness of the town in daylight.

This is interrupted by the breathless arrival (at a sprint) of the operator of the government canteen Two blocks away. Gasping for breath he states:
"One of my staff has been raped, what should I do next?"
This being insufficient information to formulate an answer, Mine Host conducts a calm-but-rapid interrogation:
"Where is she now?"
"In the restaurant coldroom" (translation: She hasn't phoned from home to say she won't be reporting for work today due to having been raped, instead the matter is immediate)
"Was she raped right there at work, perhaps in the coldroom?"
"Was she raped on the way to work this morning?"
"No, it happened when she was out on the streets late last night, she's been too scared to go home, she came straight to work, she says the attack only finised a half-hour ago"

Struggling to comprehend the way this man is handling the situation, Mine Host advises him that the process for dealing with a girl presenting at one's workplace and reported she's been raped is to immediately contact the police and the girl's mother (she was 16 years old).

Nodding breathlessly he sprints off in the direction of his canteen. A few minutes later several police cars converge on the canteen. A minute or so later most police detach from the scene & accelerate toward the hostel for delinquent youth and it's environs. Residents of the hostel decamp at pace in all directions.

She had been "partying" after midnight on the streets with Two older girls she knew, in the company of several young men from the hostel.

The attack had commenced at Three a.m and lasted until Six a.m. (Everybody for Three blocks around had heard the entire attack).

It had been ferocious. She had been dragged from the park into the hostel & most (if not all) residents in the hostel had had their turn.

Mine Host's senior female staff were of the belief that the first sexual encounter was consensual, but that she was unlikely to have agreed to accommodate the entire hostel.

Any sexual encounter, including rape, is a matter for specialist medical examination, but with his layman's eyes Mine Host noted the following: She had obviously endured a shocking psychological experience. She had been beaten very badly and was barely recognisable. She was covered in streaked and spattered blood, mixed with dirt and mud, making it difficult to tell if she had any cuts or bruises. Clumps of hair were missing and blood streaks made it impossible to see her original hair colour. Her head was swollen from the beating such that if she had a hat at home it would no longer fit on her head. Her nose & teeth were likely smashed. And so on.

The beating had been quite vicious.
Her father is a senior public servant.

The Two friends she was out with are very hard cases. Both are aged over Twenty and have served jail time. It is possible they were amused to spend a few days befriending a well raised girl, then throwing her to those wolves.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wolf in Wolf's clothing

Membership or otherwise (by the staff) of a Trade Union has never been an issue at the Wayside Tavern. Mine Host knows some staff have been union members, and some due to bitter experience are violently opposed to trade unions.

Disclosure: Mine Host is a sponsor of a Trade Union, his biggest customer, after collective federal & state government departments, has been the Trade Union Movement. His father held a Union Ticket most of his working life. Mine Host, courtesy of from whom he is descended, is Labor Royalty.

An employer in the town is the subject of a complex industrial proceeding, in which union involvement is quite heavy.

The union officer involved in the matter is an in-house guest booked for a long stay. He has become a familiar figure around the place, eating most meals in house & having constant dealings with most of the staff.

Currently most, if not all, staff are not in a union. Thus the extended stay of a union Industrial Officer is a golden opportunity for the union movement.

The union official is an abrasive, demanding, sour tempered swine. He is rude to the staff, possibly the worst behaved customer we have ever had. No matter the effort put in by the staff he is never anything but displeased & scathing. He is constantly scathing of the staff on a personal level, seeking to demean them at almost every opportunity.

Were Mine Host or his staff to treat their customers the way this man treats the ordinary worker, we wouldn't have any customers by the end of the week.

Easy to see why these swine seek to have union membership mandated by law. Were membership numbers reliant upon service & courtesy toward members the union movement would deservedly be finished.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ladies in Uniform

A regular meeting between the town's Liquor Licencees and Police.
An aside: Boy do you get some red hot quotes from the coppers in these meetings - out of the mouths of babes etc. It is amazing how middle aged men (Sgts) can be so clueless about how the world works. This is of course the inevitable outcome of for most serving officers the Police being their first job, having been sworn in as teenagers.
The recent acceptance of mature aged recruits (i.e. late 20's, possibly 30's) will eventually result in an infusion of Police Sergeants with a less isolated worldview.

This can only be a good thing.

Simultaneous to acceptance of "mature" recruits has been "equal opportunity" recruiting, a fancy way of saying that previous physical requirements have been scrapped.

This was confirmed (unintentionally) by the Sergeant at the meeting. When asked why Police walk-through a licenced premises at 9pm on a Tuesday (when the place is empty) instead of midnight Friday? (when a patrolling Blue Shirt will have a positive impact upon public behaviour)

"They prefer to not patrol pubs at that time, as they get cat-called & ice is thrown at them from the crowd, who's going to want to put up with that?" - He expected us to agree, being too clueless to understand the grim reality of working life for those who don't wear that protective blue shirt.

At this point in the meeting the town's publicans, rarely able to agree upon anything, & who can't stand the sight of each other, never mind actually.. (ugh) ... talk to each other, stared at each other gape jawed. Their opinion of the police (based upon the reality of actual police competence, performance, consistency and morality) vacillates from suspicion to open contempt, however this was breaking new ground.

Mine Host has known plenty of police whom nobody would have been game to cat-call or throw ice at (no matter how dark or how crowded a pub was). It would seem those days (and men) are no more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

But can he Go a bit?

A recruiting agent (well known to Mine Host) telephoned in response to Mine Host's online job advert for a Bar Manager. The recruiter had "just the person" for the job, blah blah blah. (In Australia's tight labour market everybody has a job, recruiters have nothing to sell, job advertisments will likely attract desperate and speculative employment agencies in greater numbers than actual candidates.)

Mine Host cut in with "Can the candidate fight?"
Overlooking this speed bump, the agent rattled on regardless.
Mine Host continually interjected; "But can he fight?"
After a few rebuffs to queries about this key qualification, Mine Host cut into the agent's spiel:
"Let me put it this way, if he takes the job and can't fight, we'll soon know as he'll GET HIS RUDDY BLOCK KNOCKED OFF!!!"
This caused the agent to pause.
Before then launching into a series of attempts to neutralise this requirement by trying to tongue-twist Mine Host into contradicting this request, culminating in a most naive statement: "I'm not sure it is legal to start hitting your customers" (note: it is not illegal to do so)
This sort of talk may work in a courtroom where all that has to be done is fool a magistrate or judge.
In the more pragmatic school of bare knuckles, fancy talking alas, will never trump a straight right.
Sick of this urger telling him his most unsuitable pansy candidate could fight, Mine Host brought the conversation quickly to a head by asking the agent would he be willing to enter a legal agreement to indemnify Mine Host from any costs incurred in the event the candidate was hospitalised by customers within the first week. ie, full medical & hospital costs. (Should be a safe bet, being as how the candidate can fight & all?)
The telephone call ended quickly.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blinking Pratts

Recently Mine Host has done much gloating. His heart soars with joy to see one of his enemies receiving quite a deal of negative press. (Wicked of him to feel this way)

This enemy is an oil company, which shall not be named, but has allegedly spilled oil accross half the ocean's surface, and shall be referred to by the (you'll never crack this one) code name of: "Bippy"

Until recently Mine Host had been a long standing customer of Bippy. Years ago their staff, needing to increase the number of credit accounts, had entered the Wayside Tavern and signed up a willing Mine Host.

Issued with his own fuel card, Mine Host soon became blind to other brands of fuel. Over the subsequent 10 years or so it became a small pleasure to talk others into buying all their fuel at Bippy, and Mine Host did what little he could to steer all business in their direction.

He should have known better. Bippy is a corporation, thus cannot conceptualise the word "loyalty".

One day, in driving rain and far from home, Mine Host wheeled into a suburban Bippy station and filled his empty tank......... then the Bippy fuel card was rejected by the card-swipe machine. The attendant enquired did Mine Host have "an alternative means" to pay for the fuel.

They sorta gotcha at this point, as one can hardly take the fuel back out & return it to them.

No, Mine Host was not carrying cash nor credit card. The attendant got "the credit department" on the phone, who informed Mine Host that his credit was cut off, as the bill had not been paid. A robust exchange of opinions followed, at the end of which Mine Host was not likely to be forgotten by the credit manager (regional) for Bippy. Good.

Fortunately Mine Host was able to contact a relative who dwelled nearby to attend the station & pay for the fuel in his tank.

Mine Host then had his office provide evidence to the Bippy credit dept that the account payment had cleared a couple of weeks previously. Mine Host then telephoned the Bippy credit manager to rub his nose in this snippet of information.

Bippy credit staff had banked the payment, but not entered the payment onto Mine Host's account statement. How did Bippy handle this incredibly stupid and for them embarrassing oversight?

By telephoning Mine Host & acknowledging that, Yes, the bill was technically paid, but that (in a heated & belligerent tone of voice) "It isn't just us, You've got to wear some of the blame for this!"

Hmmmm..... (This is where Mine Host should have parted company with Bippy.)

A year later, Mine Host fills up at the nearest Bippy, (the one from which staff had proactively recruited him as a customer). The fuel card was rejected by the card-swiper. Mine Host, having learned from experience, knew payment of the account had cleared many days previously.

The attendant called the manager. Mine Host cooled his heels for several minutes until the manager, a female aged about Thirty, appeared. She started off by asking Mine Host (in a none too friendly manner) how he intended to pay for the fuel that he had put in his car?

Mine Host indicated his Bippy card. The manager (obtusely) spoke to Mine Host as if he wasn't very smart, pedantically stating the he had to pay with either cash or one of several well known credit cards. Mine Host rarely carries any means of payment, and said so.

The manager (now with chin out) thrust a printed form onto the counter & stated (loudly) that being as his credit was cut off "for non payment of the account" and that he was refusing to pay, Mine Host was obliged to identify himself, and (right there in public) he would tell her his birthday, home address, full name, and prove all this by displaying his driver's licence.

This was too much. Carrying a Bippy fuel card, with "Wayside Tavern" branded on it, within sight of the Wayside Tavern (on the next block), and having paid the bill, Mine Host was now rather offended.

By now the entire shop full of queued fuel customers was intently watching & listening.

Mine Host would drop dead before he would tell most people, especially in public with other people watching & listening, his full name, home address and date of birth. And he said so.

The manager belligerently stated that if Mine Host did not, she would "call the cops". Unintimidated, Mine Host advised her that it was a free country and with or without his permission she could telephone to whomever she wished.

She disappeared, reappearing several minutes later to (with a smirk) inform Mine Host "they're on their way". Mine Host wasn't particularly interested in anything she had to say, and hadn't been since she stated out loud in public that he didn't pay his bills.

Meantime Mine Host had telephone his secretary, telling her what had happened, and asking her to pop down to the Bippy with $17.40 for him to pay the bill with.

In the interim a police car pulled alongside the shop, and Constable Concentration alighted. Entering the shop he was claimed by the manager, who commenced explaining the "crime" to him.

Mine Host paid little attention, knowing she would be busy for quite some before Constable Concentration grasped what business this affair was of the police's, if any.

Meantime secretary arrives, with $17.40 in cash, and paperwork to prove the account payment is up to date.

Mine Host then strolls over to where the manager is vainly attempting to explain the matter to an ever more flummoxed Constable Concentration. Mine Host leans past Constable Concetration, plonks the $17.40 on the counter, in a brittle voice instructs her that she will provide a receipt for payment, and thrusts at her a copy of the paperwork proving the account is paid, informs her that this proves the bill was paid, and that perhaps she should brush up on her facts before making loud public proclamations on the subject of Mine Host's bill paying proclivities. Mine Host went on to state that he would accept a written apology from her, and nothing less.

Then Constable Concentration, who as far as Mine Host was concerned wasn't involved, chimed in with an angry and most incorrect "hang on, it is not her fault, don't start getting stuck into her!"

Unable to believe (actually well able to believe) that someone could be so stupid, yet remain in the police force, Mine Host rounded on Constable Concentration & stated "When I require your advice, I'll make it abundantly clear to you, until then be quiet"

Then followed several seconds while every muscle in the officer's face contorted, creating a most amusing spectacle of varied facial expressions, all underlined by a most black cloud forming over his head.

He then spluttered something lame (most police have debating skills of zero, and if unable to arrest or write a ticket, make fools of themselves). Mine Host ignored him, gave the Bippy manager another free character assessment and left, but not before advising Constable Concentration to not overdo it and blow a gasket.

Since that date Mine Host has not darkened the door of a Bippy service station.

Mine Host now directs needy motorists to anywhere but Bippy, and though has made no comment to his staff, he notes that all 60 of them have been politic enough to not fill up at Bippy, ever.

From time to time Mine Host delights in reminding Bippy of this.

Mine Host did contact senior personnel at Bippy, who sealed his opinion by rounding on him for his "bad credit history". (Card refused Twice, you see) Then followed a most robust exchange of opinions, ensuring Mine Host is not forgotten by them. Good.
They may be "executives" (whatever that may mean) but they aren't smart enough to know that as a business ethos "the customer is always wrong" is taken them down the wrong path.

Every square inch of extra oil spill, every dollar of lost value, every dollar of cleanup cost, (all reported on the news) is music to Mine Host's ears.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Back it Up

Mine Host, when overseas a few years ago, was amused by many quirks of the country he was in. These quirks didn't worry him much, as he didn't have to live with these aberrations, there were merely another difference to enjoy.

Amonst these quirks were the passenger side mirrors on motor vehicles. Instead of regular mirrors these were convex, and actually had the phrase "Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear"

Convex mirrors certainly give a wider field of view in the passenger side mirror, however they also make reversing using the passenger mirror rather difficult. Nigh on impossible to reliably reverse in a straight line.

What does it matter some greenhorn will ask? Plenty if reversing into a tight spot, or even into a parking bay between shed trusses.

Body tippers, twin steer bogey drives, were Mine Host's charge at one point in his life, and as anyone who has reversed trucks knows very well, using the passenger side mirror allows for far more accuracy in reversing, especially with larger machines.

One can image Mine Host's distress when upon returning to Australia he discovered that in his abscence passenger side mirrors had been "improved" from flat to convex!

Instead of hamstringing those who can drive, the law should instead penalise those who are unable to reverse properly.

Mine Host could (with a flat mirror) reverse for as far as you like, to within 2 inches laterally of a line, using the passenger side mirror, or within 6 inches using the driver's side mirror.
Not important the greenhorn may say.
Stick to your field of expertise Mine Host will say.

Friday, May 07, 2010

10 - 2 = ?

Kylie keeps her job by a most slender margin. Almost hourly Mine Host ponders the viability of dismissing her.

A customer at the bar has been served an order to the value of $29.80
He tenders a $20 note & a $10 note to Kylie.

This flummoxes her.

Kylie is 21. For more than 15 years cash registers have calculated change. Every sale she makes she uses the "Amount Tendered" facility on the Cash Register. Not this time.

She furrows her brow & gazes uncomprehendingly at the cash in her hand. She has no idea how much change to give.

She attempts to subtract $29.80 from $30.00 using pencil & notepaper. She becomes more & more panicky as she is unable to get an answer that is satisfactory to the customer.
She silences the customer with an icy glare (he is trying to tell her how much change he wants).
Her sums on the notepaper have revealed several different answers. The customers are telling her a totally different answer (0.20)

She knows the customer (motivated by greed) will be telling her an inflated amount, she knows the rest of the customers (motivated by malice, for their own entertainment they surely are trying to get her into trouble with the boss) will be telling her a wrong amount.

Why doesn't she press "30.00" into the waiting cash register? The current total on it is "29.80".
For reasons unfathomable, people do things like this, every day. anyone who has dealt with the entire spectrum of humanity will know.

Minutes pass, the other customers are waiting. She lets them wait, as she hasn't yet completed the transaction, and to punish them for telling her the wrong answer to her dilemma (0.20)

Finally she summons the bar manager on duty, her boyfriend Dave.

"Daaaaaaaaave" she bleats plaintively. The state of panic she has worked herself into means she won't be much use for a while.

Dave arrives, sends her on a 5 minute breather, and tosses a Twenty Cent coin to the unhappily waiting customer.

So continues life behind the bar.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I've been hired, now I'll misbehave! (2)

New Manager at the Wayside Tavern. Seemingly the best of an extensive shortlist

References all stood up, right answers given in interview and required attitudes displayed.

The unravelling began on the 2nd day. New Manger (very much on probation) declares that most pub income streams are not able to be improved, nor will they atrophy from lack of attention, "just let it happen".

This considered opinion from a management grade appointment is sufficient to require the administration of smelling salts, for the revival of Mine Host.

Except bar trade, Probationary New Manager seemed to feel that bar trade is "the only area where takings can be improved" so he would pour effort into that.

Mine Host then watched as Temporary Probationary New Manager ordered and drank in quick succession (without paying) Four Schooners of full strength beer. (1.7 litres)

This was about halfway through the workday.

The following day the Temporary Probationary Possible New Manager again ordered and drank in quick succession Four Schooners of full strength beer. Again no payment was made for these drinks.

Alone in the lounge bar for his quick mid-shift binge (bar staff were busy elsewhere), a demonstration was given of the amount of effort that would be poured into improving the bar trade: Arriving customers were handled by studiously ignoring them & pretending he was himself a customer.

The day after the Temporary Pending Possible New Manager again sat on the customer side of the bar for his mid-shift Four Schooners that he did not pay for.

He parked himself in a corner so he could not see customers were any to arrive.
However at that time he was the only staff on duty in the bar.

It is unlikely that this fellow has listed Mine Host as one of his referees, probably the resume does not even show the employment at the Wayside Tavern. Subsequent employers have never contacted Mine Host for a reference.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I've been hired, now I'll misbehave!

Executive level job applicants are just as likely to be useless, incompetent, lazy, and stupid as entry level applicants.

By the time a shortlist is presented to Mine Host each candidate has undergone considerable filtering and investigation. Hiring senior appointments is not an easy process.

At least 24 hours of Mine Host's own time is then invested in every candidate on the shortlist.

Distressingly, about Four in every Five who is hired turn out to be incapable of doing the job. Degrees of incompetence/stupidity are varied. Some actually are completely useless, this is one of those:

A new manager was appointed for the Diver's Arms. She lasted Two days. Mine Host can only blame himself, for her resume did state that she was a mature age law student, though her interest in "human rights" issues was dealt with somewhat more obliquely.

The resume said much else, including 30-odd years of good work history, but that one point should have flagged to Mine Host that the candidate was not psychologically suitable for a command position.

It didn't take long to show. About Ten minutes in fact.

The first day was spent investigating and shortlisting for a new coffee supplier.
This alone meant she was for the high jump.

Mine Host was coping with realisation of the enormity of the mistake he had made, when she dropped an even bigger clanger;

She wouldn't be able to "formally take up the position" until "tribal elders" entered the premises, held a "welcome to country ceremony" and "formally welcomed her" to the premises.

This did it.

For several reasons:
1. "Formal" commencement of the position (including some key responsibilities) was to be delayed until some hocus pocus ceremony, however formal commencement of salary was to immediate!
2. The land under the Diver's Arms, being "dry" until the utilisation of modern water reticulation technology, was not acknowledged, or used in any way by pre-historic peoples. A no-man's land between the lands of Three tribes, it is now claimed by all Three tribes. Which tribe was going to conduct the "ceremony" and what would this do to relations between the business and the other Two tribes?
3. The concept of "welcome to country" ceremony is unknown to any of the Three tribes. Such a ceremony, likely the first conducted by any of the Three, would lack gravitas, and be conducted by some over-educated political agitator rather than traditional elders (who won't invent new traditions).
4. It is Mine Host, as boss, who decides who is on/off the payroll, and when they come & go.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Suffer Children, Suffer!

Rape is something Mine Host is (to put it mildly) most uncomfortable about.

The 2 children of one of the staff had been raped. This should be a momentous event.

The mother was somewhat put out about it. (As opposed to Mine Host's attitude in the same situation, which would have been downright homicidal) The rapist was her brother. The rapes were a longstanding event.

Yes, she was rather put out about it.
Heaven only knows how the 2 girls felt about it, by the time they were teenagers it was a semi-regular part of their lives.

The mother of the children was going away for a week, shopping. She delivered her children to her brother's house (the rapist) where they would be staying for the week.

As unhappy as she was about the children being raped, she was downright irate that her co-workers were uncomfortable with her choice of billet for her "own children".

Reason given (angrily) for placing her children with her brother? (who no doubt promptly reasserted his "raping rights") .........

.......... apparently is it "part of" her "culture" for uncles to care for children if the parents are otherwise occupied.

Mine Host is a firm believer that there should be a licence to breed.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Child Care

Lodging at the Wayside Tavern on a few days break was the local "Child Welfare" officer.

Two infant children were also staying in the same room.
She (the Child Welfare officer) spent most of each day and all of each night "gone out to the pub", she simply locked the kids in the room and drew the curtains.

Toward these infants she displayed only irritation & anger, they made noise, were an impediment to attracting men, and made demands on her time.

Mine Host bailed her up & advised that she'd better start caring for the infants, and be seen to be taking care of them.
In the manner of a police officer announcing that road rules are only for others, she retorted triumphantly that reporting her "wouldn't work" as she was the one to whom Mine Host would have to make such a report. "So there!!"

She then paled, realising that Mine Host's intention was to contact her Head of Department in Canberra. Panicking now that her sinecure was in jeapoardy, and knowing the consequences she was instrumental in inflicting upon others for much less, she hotly accused Mine Host of "racism".

Realising this wasn't going to fly very far she cravenly began attempting to placate Mine Host. All sorts of promises were made, including broad hints of extensive and "wild" bedroom favours.

Mine Host, incredulous that she believed he was not motivated by disgust at the treatment of the infants, pointed out that he would not be warned off, could not be bought off, and that unless her infant care exceeded his expectations pronto, he would be on the phone to the head of her Department.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Marriageable Ladies

Sometimes the most shocking things are learned by accident.

Mine Host, after one of those stupid training courses that are part and parcel of existence in a modern western nanny society, is in discussion with the Trainer (from down south) and Two fellow participants, well-adjusted rather attractive young ladies, sisters, aged roughly 20-25 years.

Not without a touch of wistfulness, the Trainer enquires as to why they aren't yet married?

The enthusiastic smiling reply came as if the answer was perfectly normal, something to be proud of, and rather dampens the conversation for Mine Host & the Trainer, though the girls don't understand this.

"Oh no, our father isn't finished with us yet!"

If it is only their father enforcing conjugal rights, then they are better off than many.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Marching Orders Part #6

Law firm Ding, Dong & Dell had acted for Mine Host for many years. They were privy to all his affairs.

Mine Host becomes embroiled in a dust-up with his landlord. The landlord, an arm of a merchant bank, is named (say) McBank.

Mine Host was being shafted by the landlord. In hindsight this was landlord's original intention.

Mine Host visited Ding, Dong & Dell in their CBD tower chambers (river-view from each office) met with the managing partner, explained the unfolding scenario and asked would there be any impediment to D,D & D acting for him in the matter?

"Yes, no conflict of interest, no impediment whatsoever to prevent us acting for you"

Time passed, A mediation conference was looming, Mine Host contacted Ding, Dong & Dell for desperately needed advice.

The response was a terse letter explaining there was a conflict of interest for them and that they would not be able to act in this matter.

Too panicked to have time to spare for shoving pins, nay roofing nails, into little wax dolls of his erstwhile lawyers, Mine Host went to the next office tower, rode the lift up to the first law firm listed on the lobby wall, and found himself a new lawyer.

The mediation conference is in the offices of Acme Properties, a hard-nosed ruthless bunch of bullies somehow involved in this mess.

Water is sipped & small talk made until all parties arrive, the intercom peals, & a chirpy female voice announces to the directors of Acme that their lawyer has arrived: a "Mr So-and-So of Ding, Dong & Dell."

This was going too far. Mine Host objected most vehemently to the presence of Ding, Dong & Dell, stating the reason why.

The conference, when eventually held, is a failure.

The matter is finally decided in the most expensive of circumstances in Sydney. A Three-cornered spat, Mine Host had not imagined there could exist such a thing, a legal dispute consisting of Three equally opposing parties.

The Three parties are:
Mine Host
XYZ Insurance Company (representing Acme Properties, by now fallen out with McBank)

Readers may be assured it was unpleasant enough being taken on by McBank, without having XYZ pumelling from the opposite direction. XYZ & McBank used most of their energy getting stuck into each other, Mine Host was more or less crumbs, however that was all that was needed. Mine Host lost his shirt.

The clanger?

At the hearing XYZ Insurance Company were represented by the firm Ding, Dong & Dell.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Bright Future in Traffic Branch!

A police officer was standing in the yard of the Wayside Tavern.

In one of the more astounding (and public) displays of "Clueless Constable Syndrome" he pointed to the spot in the security fence where Mine Host had indicated trespassers had entered the premises the night before, and said (his resigned tone indicating he believed himself in the presence of intellectual inferiors):

"Dunno how you can complain people got into the place, there's a hole been made in the fence right at that spot!"

Monday, January 04, 2010

Back to the 1970s

Australia is beset by many things, including a very retro industrial award. Introduced a few days ago with the change of calendar year, it is one of the most backward documents Mine Host has read. All 150-odd pages of it.

The Hospitality Industry General Award is a step directly back to the 1970s.

A long outspoken campaigner for simplification of the industrial awards covering his industry, Mine Host alas can find nothing positive in the new award.

This ONE new award is more complex than the SIX it replaces. (that is, the Six, including subsets of awards, under which Mine Host's operation currently operates)

As this new award is far more employer unfriendly than those it replaces, it will be implemented in stages, beginning in July.

For were this award to be implemented in one swoop, there would be a risk of social, industrial, and possibly political upheaval on an unprecedented scale (for Australia)

The government is relying on the "boiled frog" phenomenon to get the award past small business, ramping it up over a few years.


Under the new award some aspects of the Wayside Tavern will no longer be economic, thus will be cut or eliminated, as will be jobs cut or eliminated.

Mine Host estimates that the pay reduction to each staff member, caused by structural changes in the new award, will be roughly $1,500 per year. Some of the better staff will lose far more, as there is considerable penalty applied to those prepared to work (an award designed to discourage employment of someone who works hard: smells of Trade Union involvement!)

So far careful analysis of the business and the new award have exposed some efficiencies that can be made in the business. Already Two jobs have been identified as being uneconomic under the new award.

Mine Hosts forecast: After July 1st, he will be employing Four less staff.