I’m still here.
Still feeling grreeaatt!!!
And still moaning.
Went to Whipsnade Zoo at the weekend. Went with Wee D, Canny K and his two boys. It was a lovely day (bit of advice if you go there with young kids – take scooters! they all have them).
As you know it’s nice for kids to come away at the end of the day with a little gift – a little toy – just to round off the day and give the kid something to remember the day by – oh, and to play with on the way home.
But there was a time, was there not, when you could go into a gift shop and select the quality from the tat? Not any more. Not at Whipsnade. I have never seen such a pile of kak in all my days.
And what they charge for this kak? Unbelieveable. A piece of plastic rod with a plastic animal head on it.
£3 to you sir?
No, not 3.
How about £4?
No. Not 4.
£5? Nope, not even £5. This is your lucky day sir.
What, you mean £6? Hey, since it’s you sir, I’ll add a little bit more on top – £6.50 to you sir.
Wee D – I am not paying £6.50 that piece of rubbish. So he starts picking up other things to see what else he could have. £6 for a crappy plastic car. Corgi? No. Dinky? No. Matchbox? (I really am showing my age). No, these are Made In China.
That well known make that is on the bottom of every last piece of garbage in this shop. £1.75 for an eraser? Yeah, right.
You know I think maybe Wee D realised what a load of rubbish it all was – he genuinely seemed to struggle to find anything he really thought was worth either a) pestering me for or b) more than two pence.
Which leads me to one of my persistent bugbears in life. That of the continual demand for cheapness over quality. It happens in all walks of life. In business especially. There was a time where you could go to the stock room in the office (yes, there was a time when an office had a stock room) and pick, say, a pack of Post-It Notes. That was until Mr Supplier came along and asked Mr. Purchase Manager how much he pays for his Post-It Notes. Mr. Purchase Manager says “x”. Mr Supplier say “x divided by 2” and voila! Mr. Supplier gets a new client (he’s happy), Mr Purchase Manager saves money (he’s happy) and Mr User is totally hacked off ‘cos the replacement to the Post-It Notes does not do what a Post-It Note should do – STICK.
And the same goes for the pile of kak to be found in many shops up and down the land, toy shops, Stationers and Gift Shops, like the one at Whipsnade Zoo. Mr. Purchaser at Whipsnade Zoo says – why pay “x” for a piece of kak to be sold at “10 times x” when you could pay “half of x” and sell at twice the price?
In short, we don’t get the choice of quality anymore. It’s tat or nothing. We have to accept that. As long as there’s a massive country like China willing to exploit its own workers by crowding them into sweat shops for meagre reward and as long as there are western countries willing to choose cheap over quality and as long as there is a significant and silent world populace willing to purchase the tat (except me) (on this occasion at least) then the equation will stay the same.
The question is – can the tat get even worse? Or have we reached the nadir?