Archive for August, 2012

Council Idiots

August 23, 2012

My step-daughter is a qualified vet nurse, very good at her job and has a passion for the welfare of animals. She just gets outraged at the stupidity of bureaucracy!

Case 1: Our local council requires all dogs to be registered from the age of three months. Like most councils they charge only a nominal fee for registration if you have the animal desexed. The fee is otherwise much larger. But get this, according to vets, they will only usually desex a dog of at least six months of age. So, can you register your three month old pup at the lower rate on the basis that you will duly have it desexed at six months? Not with our council. Pay the full rate and there is no pro-rata refund even if you have the operation done. So, don’t register the animal until it is six months old and desexed. Hmm, that risks a fine for not registering the dog or even losing the dog for good should it escape and cannot be identified to be returned to you. Answer, council raise your dog registration age to six months!

Case 2: A lost animal is often handed in to the nearest vet. The vet checks for an identifying chip in order to reunite the animal with its owner. Failing that and if the animal has lost its collar, often any other identifying tags have also gone missing. It makes a great case for micro chipping the family pet.

So, micro chipping must make the council dog catcher’s job much easier. After all limited pound space, a policy of only keeping most animals for a week, the council would be delighted to be able to identify an animal and return it to its owner. And it collects on the pound fees faster too!

My step-daughter regularly checks the council pound web site and that of the other animal shelters just in case she finds a client’s animal that she knows to be missing. And that happened this week! The dog had been missing nearly a week. She phoned the council to ask whether the animal had been claimed and perhaps the web site had not been updated. Nup. The dog was still in the pound. “The council has no obligation to scan for microchips”, was the stern reply! Another beloved family pet nearly bit the dust. No thanks to our local council and all thanks to a diligent vet nurse.

Words that Lie

August 23, 2012

There are so many English words that lie; are not true to themselves; are the antithesis of their meaning. Consider:

abbreviation – isn’t

long – isn’t

diminutive – isn’t

big – isn’t

contraction – is not

ubiquitous – probably isn’t

palindrome – nuh

Feel free to send me more!

The home of the future

August 22, 2012

The internet has already change the nature of shopping. We comparison shop between real stores and online stores. Sometimes it is more convenient to buy locally. Other times because of range, availability, price or convenience we prefer to shop online. Currently, retail purchases are only 5-10% online. But that is only after ten years or so of online commerce. Already we can purchase so much onlineĀ  for under $1,000 from any where in the world – that threshhold being the limit for inporting in to Australia without the need for payment of duty, GST or any other importing red tape – and in many cases have it delivered faster and cheaper than placing a back order with a real live store. What of the next ten years?

How does this leave the real world store in the average shopping mall? Your local mall is owned and operated by a large listed property manager. The average mall business has almost no control over their rent, outgoings or share of the mall’s advertising costs. Their hours are regulated, seven days a week and there are precious few days of the year that they can be closed. But there are no guarantees…on most mid week mornings and afternoons the mall barely has any customers. The weekends, late nights and school holidays are a mad dash to make some cash to cover the rent, outgoings, advertising and wages. And then there is competition from the internet. Any business in the mall that sells any THING – clothes, books, music, home wares – can be beaten for price, convenience, range and service by the internet retailer. And already, some of us don’t even go to the mall for our groceries.

The only businesses alive in the mall of the future are those where the customer HAS to be present – cimemas, hair dressers, chiropractors, dentists, coffee shops and take aways. But once all the other stores have disappeared, how will the whole food court be available to survive?

The plan of the future. Much of your local shopping mall will be converted … to housing? Don’t believe me? Studio apartment/1BR apartment/ 2 BR apartment for rent/sale, features: plenty of parking, central city location, public transport at the front entrance, complex includes a gymnasium, convenience store, coffee shop, hair dresser and pharmacy. Walk to the cinema, heated pool or indoor skating rink. Wait a minute, no mall has a heated pool or an indoor skating rink! There will be plenty of room once the supermarkets and large chain stores have vacated the premises!

And turning shops into apartments? Simple. Most major shopping malls have a major overhaul every 10-15 years. Turning a shop into an apartment only involves a few internal walls and some plumbing and electrical work.

You heard it hear first. In the future…you can live at the mall… and you have internet shopping to thank for it.