Sunday, June 29, 2014

Card Fees

Mine Host's mobile phone rings.  This number is a state secret, thus the call is likely quite important.

The caller is some cute salesgirl for some life insurance company connected to American Express.

The cute voiced girl blunders onward with the sales pitch.

She misses the verbal clue from Mine Host that he is prepared to listen, but is not happy.

She drones on, Mine Host tunes out.  Eventually she gets to the part where Mine Host has to verbally agree to his American Express card being debited.

He says "No".

Mine Host calculates that she has taken up Seven minutes of his time.

He informs her that he is going to divert the next several thousand dollars that customers wish to put onto their American Express card.

Waste Seven minutes of Mine Host's time, have several thousand dollars diverted to Visa or Mastercard.

Something for American Express to think about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Just Dessert


The Wayside Tavern makes most desserts from scratch.
The standard of our dessert is a matter of quite some pride in the kitchen brigade



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Showbusiness

A little kitchen theatre. Actually a routine part of cooking.  Quite spectacular to watch.  Sometimes far more flashy than it looks, sometimes not so much.
 
 
So continues life under the long tall Chef's hat.

Long night, early morning

The current slower economy means there are only Five chefs working at the Wayside Tavern.  However there is still plenty of work to be done.
After the kitchen has finished serving up the restaurant orderd for the night, and the washing up is done, the work is not over.
 

Everyone is tired.
Any kitchenhands have wearily knocked off.
The waiters are closing down for the night.
The last stragglers of diners are in tete a tete over the remnants of their wine.
The front office is reconciling their shift and ready to go home.

But the chefs are straight into the work of preparing for the following morning's breakfast.

Breakfast starts early, nothing like being prepared, no nasty surprises first up.
 
So continues life under the long white Chef's hat.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

On the Shelf


Segment of the top shelf in the Wayside Tavern's bar.



A most serious accusation has been levelled at the Wayside Tavern.
Specifically, of stocking only the cheapest and roughest whiskies.

Judge for yourself.

Pictured above is a segment of the single malt section of the top shelf in the private bar.
There are plenty more, but this is a fair guide to the range and variety of styles regularly stocked.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Market Forced

Two large supermarket chains (gee, wonder which two that would be?) have branches in town.

On the recent Queen's Birthday public holiday, and all other public holidays, especially the Easter/Anzac Day week, the staff at each of the large supermarkets keenly anticipated the big money they'd get for working public holidays.

It was not to be.

Regular staff a each of these two large supermarket chains (gee, wonder which two that would be?) were miffed to discover they were not rostered on to work on any public holiday.

The work (shelf stacking, etc) was all done by juniors.  Schoolkids who (of course) aren't at school on public holidays.
The public holiday rate for juniors is a whole lot less than that which must be paid to adults.

The supermarkets shafted their regular staff, but saved thousands of dollars.


So continues life for ordinary workers in a nation with prohibitive penalty rates.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Republicans

We must be republicans.  The Queen's Birthday public holiday is today.  We are all at work.

Actually not all.  Public holiday pay rates are so high that half the services of the Wayside Tavern are closed.  Mostly only salaried staff are at work.
Any regular staff who are required are the best performers.

Marginal staff are rostered off.

The wage (yes, singular) for Australia is fixed centrally, by a one-size-fits-all commission.  The Orwellian named "Fair Work" Commission.

Were it not for the ill-considered decisions of this commission of underachievers, everybody would have a full week's work.  As it is, most staff will have a light pay week, missing one day of work (& thus one day of pay).

Message to the underachieving inferior intellects on the Fair Work Commission:
Who benefits from the current arrangement?
Staff who lose a day's pay?
Salaries who have to work harder?
Customers who discover the services they want are today priced into closure and not available?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Banks feeling Heat?

"Any publicity is good publicity"
The sentiment behind this very common saying is very sound.

Unless you're a bank, in which case the saying is:
"Any publicity is bad publicity"

In the past couple of weeks, Australian mega-bank Westpac announced a profit that was remarkable in size by just about any metric ones wishes to use.  (eg, percentage of deposits, percentage of loans extended, blah blah blah)

Concerned (justifiably) that making lots of money at the expense of the Australian public (only the most ingenuous or foolish harbour thoughts that banks are there for their intended purpose - to facilitate the economy and public economic benefit) Westpac mounted a survey of customers ("We've just made a record profit that'd choke a horse; do you feel (a) ripped off, (b) extremely ripped off, or (c) totally cheated out of your money?")

Mine Host knows this as he is not a Westpac customer yet received a mysterious telephone call:

The call was a survey about the "customer service experience" of his dealings with a Westpac staffer by the name of; Mr. Rapacious Lender, a business banking manager.

The only contact with Mr. Rapacious Lender was several weeks beforehand when the Wayside Tavern's accounant had telephoned once with a most basic enquiry.

The telephone surveyor was somewhat stunned to discover that nobody in "the household" had ever dealt with, nor even met, Mr. Rapacious Lender, nor was any member of "the household" in any manner a customer of Westpac.

It would seem that one phone call was sufficient for Mr. Rapacious Lender to report Mine Host & the Wayside Tavern as "new customers" to HQ in the big smoke.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm not that crook of a Shot.

Former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard
This photo mock-up is a reaction to last night's federal budget delivered by the opposing political party.
Mine Host struggles to comprehend the mentality of those posting this picture all over the junk medium of Twitter.

1/. Julia Gillard was not the Prime Minister at the last federal election.  Her own government fired her from the job some time beforehand.

2/. That aside, the government of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd (the fellow with whom she job-shared the role of Prime Minister) was so bad that even someone who has had a frontal lobotomy could not maintain a straight face to post the above photo.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Playing at being Grown-Ups

Spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, Jen Psaki
This woman is 36 years old, has never held any previous job except as a political staffer, and thinks this is an appropriate response to a tense geopolitical crisis.

What fool appointed her to this position?

She didn't get to this level of stupid in one day, she'd have to have been exhibiting the signs for a long time, possibly all her adult life....
.... yet someone appointed her spokesman for the State Department.

What is next?
#Putin. ur like unfriended dude, take ur army guys home lolz @statedeptspox


Embarrassing for citizens of the U.S.A.
Comedy for the rest of us.  Well, it would be if it wasn't so serious.



This picture reveals a much deeper message about the Obama administration.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Never Seen One of These Before


Encountering as an adult, something we've never before imagined existed, is quite an experience.

Things that you never imagined - such as the time changing arbitrarily by an hour.  (Yes, some places in the world actually do this - a most surreal event to be present for).

And then sometimes you encounter an implement that you've never even seen used, but it can't be that difficult - surely?

Mine Host encountered this when once when the boss instructed him to use a pitchfork and move some hay.

Pitchforks are objects that appear in Little Golden Books, and nowhere else.
Actually using one is nowhere near as easy as it looks.
It's like fixing 4 x knitting needles 10cm apart, then with the resulting contraption trying to pick up a pile of drinking straws.

But pitchforks are a unique implement, used only in labour intensive farming enterprises.  It is to be expected that outsiders may be unfamiliar with them, and may take some time to attain basic proficiency.

However some implements are universal.  Or so you'd think.

Mop & Bucket, for example.

On the Wayside Tavern staff was an eager 22 year old Zimbabwen citizen.  He had speed, energy, enthusiasm, and if called in to work unexpectedly, would arrive within 20 seconds, still dressing himself as he ran down the stairs.

This particular day Mine Host had occasion to ask the lad to mop up a liquid spill.  It started well.  Young Mr. Zimbabwe dashed to the laundry, returning at a trot with a mop & bucket.

.... then it all came apart...  He had no idea how to use them.  Yes, he'd seen mops & buckets, but had not the faintest clue what to do with them.

... Turned out he had no idea how to use a broom either.  He didn't even know which way up to hold a broom, or anything else about it.  Keen though he was.

From this starting point, instructing someone on the use of a broom, is not all that easy.

The mop & bucket took quite a bit longer.

So goes life in the pub trade.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Market Evidence


"No worker on a 457 visa is paid a salary higher than the going rate for Australians doing the same job."

The above statement is proved by Immigration department (federal govt.) reports.

However it is not true.

Plenty of 457 visa holders are paid above the going rate.

Government reports are lies?  Hmmm.... well.....Yes and No  (in the best traditions of "Yes Minister").

Mine Host knows the government reports are falsified.  The government knows the reports are falsified.

How is this done?

As part of the application process the sponsoring employer provides "Market Evidence" of the going rate in Australia for similar positions.

However, sponsoring employers must not submit any market evidence that shows a pay rate less than the pay offered to the sponsored worker.

You couldn't make this up!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Journalism - the valueless degree.

Even the most inattentive could not possibly have missed the deplorable decline in the standard of journalism since it became a degree course.

The above photo and caption were published today on news.com.au.

The best the kid who wrote the caption can hope for is to use the excuse of "I made a typographical error and one word was omitted."

In which case they should be sacked on the spot, for using bad English.

Alternatively the (cough) journalist who captioned the photo is (as are 99% of "journalists") clueless on "army stuff" and has written the caption exactly as they intended.

In which case they should be sacked on the spot, for gross stupidity.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Enemy Within

In the state of (say) mighty Queensland, a position as (say) an Appeals Court Judge becomes vacant.

The Attorney-General of the state confers with the president of that same Appeals Court, regards who to fill the vacancy.

The President of the (say) Appeals Court suggests two "acceptable" candidate judges:
  1. Her husband, a (say) man, and
  2. One of her friends, also a bloke.
Subsequently the Attorney-General appoints someone else.

Hmmm.....

Incensed that her advice was treated as just that, the President of the (say) Appeals Court finds the nearest microphone and sounds off no end about how the Attorney-General has a "bias against women" pointing out that the A-G has just appointed a male judge.

Stunned at this effrontery, the Attorney-General points out that the President of the (say) Appeals Court did not recommend even one female for the vacant position, just her husband & her mate.

At this comment by the Attorney-General, the court President then hits the roof, as do half the judiciary.

How dare the Attorney-General reveal to the public the two-faced hypocrisy, cosy nepotism, and the complete lack of judicial neutrality that seemingly abounds in mighty Queensland!


From the mass pile-on against the Attorney-General, one cannot but conclude that Judges consider themselves above the ethical standards that apply to the rest of us.

Gee, what a surprise!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Slowpokes on the Information Superhighway


This arrived in the mail on the 28th of January.  It is from a doofus corporation who can't seem to get much, if anything, right.

The address wasn't even correct.  (They are somewhat inept at that corporation).

It was a bit of a tedious grind in the office on the 28th of January, so Mine Host, seeking distraction, decided to give Trip Advisor (a doofus corporation that can't get much right) a call to see what they wanted.

The phone number didn't work.   Just how inept is this corporation?

Why send it at all if it arrives a month after the expiry date of the enclosed offer?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reason #1 for banning email

My email inbox, a couple of days ago:
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Express Service II

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

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

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

"Very observant of you Mariel, to notice that"

"Sirrr, Yourrrr business is declining..."

"No business is not declining, just that less business is put onto (unnamed) express credit cards"

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

"No signage outside"

"Ah, well Sirrrrr, if you had signage displayed outside yourrrr business you would not be missing out on all that (unnamed) 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 place where they pay?  So that people know they may use (unnamed) 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, as does just-about-every-person-on-this-planet.  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 (unnamed) express as you do for other cards, say Master or Visa?"

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

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

"Undoubtedly, but I'm not going to reduce my surcharge for your card, and I get the payments anyway, just via a more palatable card"

"....Sirrrr... you would increase your business through (unnamed) express if you did reduce to the same rate as other cards"

"Me 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 (which shall not be named) used to charge 6% and took several days to pay.  Thus many merchants flatly refused to accept it.

When this card company (nameless) 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   (long in the tooth, but still of breeding age, just)

Dialogue:
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)
                 -----pause------
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.

Philistines.

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.

Philistines.

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

Philistines.

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/explain the amount he spends each year on inward freighting of liquor.

I'm not making this up.