Parcel deliveries

We read and hear a lot about companies that sell on-line, such as Amazon.  Existing retailers with their “bricks and mortar” stores are said to be worried by these developments, as perhaps they might well be.

Just the same, in the final analysis, it’s about getting the stuff to the consumer.   And that means that the delivery has to be  right.   A recent incident made me wonder about the mechanics of this.  Australia Post recently delivered a package to us, because it had our address on it.  However, the person to whom it was addressed lived down the street, and she had obviously provided an incorrect delivery address.

Being neighbourly, I took it down to her place – to be met by a locked gate and an intercom.  Fortunately someone was at home and seemingly a little reluctantly came to the gate and took the package.


But what if no-one had been at home?   Would I have thrown the package over the gate?   I guess a delivery guy would have left a note, but that wasn’t really an option for me, and I wonder about the convenience of deliveries from an on-line seller if you have to go to a depot somewhere to pick the item up.   As for me, I don’t know what I would have done as throwing it over the gate could be seen as “unneighbourly” .

I’m not really sure why people really need to live behind a locked gate.   Security around here isn’t a big issue these days, especially with a locked security door at the front of the house.      Yes, we do get the occasional charity collector at the door, but they don’t trouble me.  I guess the issue is one of perception more than reality.


Renovating the bank

The local branch of ANZ bank is going to be renovated.    I received an email about this, presumably because I use the ATM there a lot, although technically the account I have with ANZ is at another branch.    There are alternative branches to this one – but all are some suburbs away.  Yet it’s going to be totally closed for two months!  Even the ATMs won’t be available.  There’s another ANZ ATM in the nearby shopping centre, but it doesn’t accept deposits (and the centre is closed late at night).  So although obtaining cash won’t be a big deal, especially with the abolition of “foreign” ATM fees,   any other dealings with ANZ just won’t be possible.

The people most affected are obviously businesses who rely on the branch to deposit their takings and obtain change.  Perhaps ANZ has made special arrangements for them  such as an ability to use one of the other nearby banks?

Otherwise, it seems an arbitrary decision to close a branch for two months.

Now gutted!

Recall (2)

The appointed day arrived, and I headed off to the dealer for the replacement airbag to be fitted in line with the recall.   I’m not sure how long it would have taken to do the actual work…a few minutes maybe?    And it’s true that I arrived a  little earlier than the appointed time, but the elapsed time before I was told the work had been done was still 90 minutes.

Yes, I was supplied with a cappuccino and a reasonably comfortable place to sit (overlooking the shiny cars in the  showroom….funny that), but it does seem to me that anything to do with the servicing of cars always takes longer than what I would have thought was required.

Hopefully we’ll never have to put the replacement airbag to the test, but at least if worst comes to worst, it ought to operate safely.

Hay Fever

Marina Prior as Judith Bliss in MTC’s production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever raises expectations of a good performance, and so it was.   In this review, it’s described as “frisky”.  Well, we enjoyed it, but it’s wacky and light-hearted.    Any issues I have with the performance are with the script, as all the acting is fine, with Marina Prior’s character being the wackiest of them all.  But perhaps, as this review states, who needs a plot, when this production invites you just to sit back, relax and enjoy (as we did)?

Are there too many coffee shops?

The question has been raised in Britain as to whether the market for coffee shops has become saturated.   From the BBC report, it seems the issue there arises because there appear to be a number of chains competing in the market.  This seemingly makes the market there rather different from ours, as (at the risk of generalising) it seems that Melburnians (and Australians) don’t favour chains (look at the Starbucks experience).

It’s interesting that the report mentions an opinion in Britain that the big brands need to watch out for the rise of independent coffee shops.

Just the same in some areas, the market in Melbourne definitely appears saturated.  Sure, the coffee culture is particularly strong in our neighbourhood, but the competition is brutal.   Just as one place starts attracting a crowd, another place opens up or is re-furbished, the and the crowd’s loyalty quickly switches.  And a change on proprietorship can result in a dramatic fall-off in business.

I wonder how many people have put their savings into buying a business, only to see the money disappear.    Enthusiastic would-be operators need to take a cold, hard look at the area before jumping in.

Maps in the street

The Council has recently erected a number of maps in the shopping strip not far from us.    Of course, maps like this have been around in the CBD for some years, and I’ve seen people (presumably from “out-of-town”) consulting them.   But in our local area?   My initial reaction was that I didn’t think we get many people who would be so unfamiliar with the area that they’d need to consult a map!

In fairness, though, I know that I’ve been in places where the locals think the location of everything is obvious but the local geography has been unclear to me – such as emerging from the Underground.   But around here?

I suspect the Council’s motivation may be along the lines that it wants to be seen as “doing something” in support of the traders!