Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Express Service II

Every now & then dumb backward easily-fooled yokel Mine Host is telephoned by a certain sophisticated smart suave hip savvy Credit Card company.

This credit card company uses high pressure sales techniques and suggestive terminology to pull the wool over the eyes of dumb easily fooled backwoods Hick McGullible Yokelman Mine Host.

The calls always come from the credit card company's call centre in the Philippines and go exactly like this:
"Hello Sirrrrr, this is Mariel from Amerrrican Express business services, I see that remittances to you from Amerrrican Express have been declining"

"Very observant of you Mariel, to notice that"

"Sirrr, Yourrrr business is declining..."

"No, my business is not declining, just that less money is being put through your credit card"

"..... Hmmm.... Sirrrr... I am here to help you, that is what Amerrrican Express is all about ([choke, splutter]) do you have signage outside yourrrrr business announcing that you accept Amerrrican Express?"

"No signage outside"

"Ah, well Sirrrrr, if you had signage displayed outside yourrrr business you would not be missing out on all that Amerrrican Express custom.  Passing cardholders would see signage, and bring theirrr custom to yourrrr business"

"No, I get the customers regardless.  This is a hotel, it is expected that we accept all major credit cards"

"..... I see Sirrrrr.... do you have signage at the point of sale?  So that people know they may use Amerrrican Express"

"No, no, and no.  Most of my customers are account customers, & pay direct into my bank when I send their monthly bill.   Those who do pay by card on checkout usually ask which cards I accept, then riffle through a tight packed card folder & get out a card.  They barely notice which card it is"

"..... Sirrrrr, are you saying that people are carrying more than one brand of credit card?"

(Where do they get 'em from?)

"Yes Mariel, I am saying that, just-about-every-person-on-this-planet does.  Usually if anybody is concerned about the card, they ask which has the lowest credit card surcharge"

(Now we're getting to the heart of the matter)

"Sirrrr, do you charge the same fee for Amerrrican Express as you do for other cards, say Master or Visa?"

"No I do not charge the same fee, I charge double for American Express, because your fee is double"

"...... (pause)...... Sirrrr, if you reduce your surcharge for Amerrrican Express to the same rate as other cards, there would be more payments made via Amerrrican Express."

"Undoubtedly, but I'm not going to reduce my surcharge for your card, I get the payment regardless, just via a more friendly card."

"....Sirrrr... you would increase your business through Amerrrican Express if you did reduce to the same rate as other cards"

"Reducing the fee is easily done, when you reduce your fee, I'll reduce mine.  Simple"

(This technique must work on some dupes, as they really push it hard)

.... (Dialogue now repeats the above 4 lines for several minutes).....

So continues life behind the front desk.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Express Service

Picture is a generic sample only, and is not intended to represent the Credit Card company referred to below.
A considerable chunk of the Wayside Tavern's income is via Credit Card.
All credit card companies charge the merchant a percentage fee on every transaction.  The amount of this fee varies between card companies.

Getting to the bottom of various credit card plans is akin to comparing mobile phone plans.  The more one looks into it, the more complex you realise it is.  Mine Host has at times thrown his hands in the air in exasperation.

Not widely known, especially among those shoppers who object loudly and publicly to the credit card surcharge, is that the fee to the card company is only half the cost of accepting credit cards.

The other half is fees to the bank.

A certain Credit Card (perhaps pictured above) used to charge 6% and it would be one week before the money arrived.  Thus many merchants flatly refused to accept it.

When this card company (perhaps pictured above) reduced their fees, promised swifter payment, and at the same time the law changed to allow collection of a credit card surcharge, more & more merchants began to accept this card.

Historically that credit card company has been very difficult to deal with.  This has changed, as they were losing merchants (and cardholders) hand over fist.

However, their fee is still double that of any other card.  This presents them with some commercial difficulties.

How does the credit card company handle this?  Cluelessly.

This will be explained in tomorrow's post.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Melbourne - Boganville

Mine Host survived a recent foray into the land of the Philistines:

Scene: Streetfront Coffee Shop in Melbourne CBD
Cast:  Mine Host
          Super hot ethnic lady owner   (of breeding age)

Hot babe coffee shop owner:  *indeterminate grunt*  accompanied by a lovely smile.
English language translation:  "What'll you have love?"
Mine Host:       "Cup of coffee please"
Shop owner:     "How do you want it?"
Mine Host:       "Long black please"
Shop owner:    (grabs jug and commences frothing milk)
Shop owner:    (still frothing a jug of milk - but with a slight frown)
                         "What did you say you'll have?"
Mine Host:       "Laaaawng black please"  (actual pronuncation in Mine Host's native accent)
Shop owner:    (curtly putting down the milk jug)
                          "Well, there's no need then for me to be frothing milk then, is there?"

This happened every time Mine Host ordered coffee in Melbourne.

The supposedly sophisticated coffee culture of Melbourne does not exist.
They drink it with milk.


Casual readers of lifestyle sections in major newspapers, or watchers of the odd bit of fluff-TV, are given the impression that way down in the deep south of this great nation, in the city of Melbourne there is a sophisticated, modern, developed coffee culture.
In fact this is one of the best con-jobs pulled on a population since the Ozzi people were told Australian wine is the best in the world.

For coffee shop baristas reach for a jug of milk & be halfway through frothing it before it dawns on them that they have a customer who has actually ordered black coffee, every last order must be for coffee with milk poured into it.


Never again will Mine Host allow anybody to get away with using the words "Melbourne" and "sophisticated culture" in the same sentence.


Friday, January 17, 2014

You've got to be Kidding?

Workcover, Queensland's compulsory worker's compensation scheme, has demanded of Mine Host some information.

Mine Host's accountant has confirmed that under the prevailing legislation Workcover is entitled to demand certain information, and Mine Host is required to pony up this information, under threat of legal penalty.

The (bizarre) demand?

That Mine Host justify the annual total cost of shipping in liquor to the pub.

I'm not making this up.

The freight bill must be justified to Workcover.

This is out of the blue, not in connection to any claim, ongoing case, or anything.