Treasure The Honest Shopkeeper

If you find a shopkeeper who will refuse to sell you something on the basis that it is not right for you, you have a gem.

These people may be hard to find – but if you enter into conversation with them over a regular basis -and if it is a genuine and respectful exchange…you can find a whole new world of intelligent help out there.

I talk regularly to the family who run our local post office agency – and to the lady and the chap who run the Asian food store in the shopping centre. I talk to the man who runs the bottle shop, and to the lady who is teller at my local bank. The result is I get told how to cook well with the Asian ingredients, when to change my deposits for good interest rates, and how to send postal items safely at low cost.

Occasionally the bottle shop man warns me off a dud or mentions a good deal. I am always repaid for listening.

Moral: Your local retailers are human beings who appreciate being treated as such and who  will  make your life better if you recognise the fact.

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Suppose You Were Worth A Million Dollars

If you were me you’d be overjoyed. If you were a billionaire you’d be furious.

That’s what having money does to you.

I’ll amend that statement – that’s what having too much money does to you. Whether it is your own or someone else’s, the stuff will eat into your soul and leave holes. Then other things come and live in those holes, and it is darned hard to get them out.

The trick is having just the right amount. Not too little – so that you are pinched and sad and sick – nor too much so that you are arrogant, anxious, and aggressive. Just enough to eat well, play well, and sleep well. If you get it by working well, so much the better.

If you get it by desperate drudgery, criminality, or vile practices, so much the worse. These will take their toll and eventually the doors to the happier parts of life will close.

I think I have the right amount at present. I can do what I want to do as long as I do not want to do expensive things too often. And I am fortunate in that I honestly don’t want to do expensive things. Though I would like roast beef for dinner.

 

Has You Been?

No, I’m not talking about today and the All Bran. Your digestive tract is none of my concern. I’m talking about your career and your past successes. Things that you may legitimately cherish.

But a hint: Cherish them to yourself, in private. You’ll do far better in the social scene if you keep up to date with what is going on and don’t hearken to or harp upon the past. Others may know of your history and celebrate it, but as soon as you join in the praise of you there is a danger that they will fall silent. And eventually so will you, in shame.

It will go even worse for you if you come and cry your decline. It may be real, and if so people will perceive it. You need not tell it like a tragic opera.

I was reminded of this at a trade fair where I met several former practitioners of professional photography who have settled into a pattern of retailing their past business history and bewailing their current retirement and/or failures. I feel for them, but if they continue to tell of the woes of getting old I am tempted to feel for a sharp knife to cure that problem.

It was exactly the same for me after my retirement from dentistry – now when I meet an old colleague I try to celebrate our hard-won escape from the profession and I do not go on as if I pine for it. In truth, I do not, and am pleasantly surprised to find that most of my old classmates are of a similar mind.

I find I can bore people wonderfully with new topics and do not need to use the old ammunition. Most of it was duds anyway.

When The Bait Falls Off The Hook

Getting a lot of booster advertisements lately from Facebook –  that wants either $ 22 or $ 49* to promote a standard Facebook posting to more people. So far I have not bit, nor will I chase the bait in the future.

I write for me, and share it to others – I hope they like it. If I had to pay them to like it, the thrill would be gone. I already have to do that for so many other facets of life…and the process of giving them money is bound to be all computerish and complicated. It’s not like just leaving money on the mantlepiece in the morning…

So, no. No, I won’t give a multi-billionaire my money to pester other people. I can pester them myself for the cost of a bus ticket and a bag of rocks. And let me tell you, a busted window at 3:00 AM is far more memorable than a Facebook post.

*    Magic numbers. Just small enough and odd enough to make you think that they are genuine…

 

Yup. It’s A Car Wash.

And not just any car wash. A hand car wash. As opposed to the ones that they operate with their feet or ears…

Our local shopping centre has used up one of their limited car parks for the hand car wash. The building’s being finished and the signage is going up. Soon employees in rubber boots will be standing in the winter rain washing cars. Or not, if the state of the other hand car wash facilities in the area are any indication…

The proliferation of car washes has been an interesting phenomenon here in Perth. I remember the establishment of one of the first ones on the site of an old petrol station. It straddles a major highway and a busy feeder road and stands opposite a 24 Hr McDonalds. ( for our North American readers, McDonalds is a franchised fast-food restaurant. ) It was probably a good choice of location as it gives the people who leave their cars to be cleaned a place to go during the process. Interestingly, the owners of the car wash also put up a café on their site. This, and the stated prices on the signage, indicates that they would like each post to be a winner…

I suspect this is the case, as well, for the owners of the shopping centre. They have already leased out a great deal of their land to a tavern, Asian restaurants, and…a McDonalds…but would seem to want to cram more on the area. I’m betting that the rent they demand from the car wash owners will make the washing fees pretty remarkable.

I mourn the loss of adequate parking, but as I own a bucket, a sponge, and my own hands, I am not too frightened by the car wash.

 

The Utter Joy Of Cheap

Have you always believed that you deserve the best? That the best is the only thing that you should be offered? That you define yourself by the goods and services that you command? Perhaps you are right…after all, you deserve to be compensated for the constant danger in which you live.

Danger?

Yes, danger. The danger that you will perceive some flaw in your goods and services – or that you will see someone else getting more and better than you. If you must always be first, you fear second.

Well, I have passed through that myself. Perhaps I didn’t articulate the words exactly, but I had them inside me somewhere. And they stopped me from appreciating what I had and what I experienced for a long time. No more.

I’ve discovered the joy of cheap. Realistically looking at my life to come, I see it is going to be shorter than the bit already passed – though I would not welcome too short an interval. I’m now at a point where I may indeed get a lifetime of use out of something and it need not be made of cast iron and hickory wood to do it. Plastic might very well be fine. And I need not spend over the odds either – economy models of things fulfil the same functions.

Best of all, when some new product is touted or some hitherto un-needed need is trumpeted, I can frequently say ” Shoot, I got one of them already. “. I may indeed, and it might even be better than the new designer model with the red stripe on one panel and the fake carbon fibre covering.

I must be the advertiser’s nightmare.

Clapping The Carpet Bag Shut And Running For The Steamboat

A guide for the unsuccessful candidate in Federal Parliamentary elections.

a. If enough people voted for you, you can have your monetary deposit back. Otherwise the Electoral Commission retains the $ 2000 deposit and buys slabs of beer and Cheezels with it.

b. If you find that you are being bested during the vote counting by such a margin that even your party supporters, second in command, business manager, and the pizza boy are being savage, you would be wise to be prepared to concede defeat.

If your electorate has 29 people standing for that particular seat and 28 of you are still standing when the music stops, you might not even have to go to the trouble of conceding. Someone will be N0. 2 in the poll, and they might need to burst into tears and evoke the spirit of some long-dead leader, but if you are No.26 you can just go home and put the kettle on.

c. If you are so unwise as to make rash statements about the electorate that has rejected you, consider whether it might be wise to leave the district. The speed with which you do this repends upon how rude your remarks are.

People may not have taken the least notice of you as you campaigned, but you can be goddamned certain they’ll remember every last word of bad temper spouted by a bad loser. And the papers will leap on it – that’s what we reptiles do.

d. If you wish to cry, do so. Just be careful about who films you crying and what you are wearing at the time.

e. Vowing vengeance upon the enemy is fine, if you wish to stand for election in the Game Of Thrones. Doing it on the grounds of your local primary school is a mistake. See ( c. ) above.

f. Do not decamp with the spoons. Make sure that when you retire from the arena of public life, that all what you touches is yours. Disappointed supporters have a way of curling round your ankles and biting deep. If there is any farnarkeling to be found, you will pay the complete legal price.

If you are the winner, this does not apply.