Changing the World One Gift at a Time™* by Angela Caldin

What happens when you’ve lived in the same place for 38 years, 27 of them in the same house? You accumulate a whole lot of possessions, that’s what; and most of them remind you of someone or somewhere so that you’re sentimentally attached to them, even though they have little monetary value. Our garage was so full of chattels that the car was parked on the driveway whatever the weather. I stood in the midst of it all one day and decided that something had to be done; the clutter had to… Read More

Long Distance Information by Trevor Plumbly

When my particular piece of modern communication conked out, the manual told me that all I had to do was dial the Freephone number and all would be well. So I did, and discovered the joys of trying to communicate with an international communications company. Unlike the electronic castrati of the domestic answerphone voice, this clockwork secretary offered no apologies for the absence of real people. She opened by announcing that my call was important, and then promptly destroyed that dream by rattling off the numerical options available in zombie-like tones. I… Read More

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction by Emily Smart

People in my line of business (marketing rather than procreating), spend a lot of time banging the drum about the importance of good customer service.  Be nice to people, we say, give them what they want, build a relationship and they’ll keep coming back. Of course, we are all of us customers at some time or other. When I have a bad experience as a customer, I have a seriously good moan about it to anyone who will listen. Whether it’s my other half, my mates, the mums at the school gate… Read More

On the Origin of Names by Angela Caldin

One of the highlights of the recent school holidays was a visit with the grandchildren to the Tip Top Ice Cream Factory. The tour encompassed the history of the product, a view of the factory floor where ice cream flowed unstoppably, and, at the end, the choice of whichever delicious ice cream we wanted. Our spritely tour guide told us that in 1936, Albert Hayman and Len Malaghan opened their first Ice Cream Parlour in Wellington, NZ. It’s believed that they were discussing business whilst travelling in a train dining car when… Read More

Parlez-vous McSpeak? By Emily Smart

I like McDonald’s. In fact, what’s not to like? They make big fat greasy burgers that can cure even the worst hangover, they have indoor play facilities that keep the kids busy while you try and read a newspaper, and the small people are given a piece of plastic that either waves, makes a loud noise or flashes, and is invariably broken before you can say ‘Get in your car seat please.’ Leaving the politics of obesity and the dodgy bloke in the clown outfit to one side, one thing that struck… Read More