It is spring in Australia and generally that is a pretty good time. Christmas is just around the corner with all the fun times that involves. Fun shopping for presents, the fun of preparing for the family gatherings and then the actual fun of Christmas and the holidays. Of course we will be able to find things to complain about. There will be those that for some reason see our celebrations of Christmas and the Christian traditions that go along with it, as something that is morally offensive. Then there will be those who see these people as offensive. Some will then complain about the commercialisation of the whole event - time they just all enjoyed the good parts of the period.
This is the great thing about Australia. We allow these discussions and we allow people to have these opinions and to express them. It always amazes me that so many vocal opponents to how Australians live their lives don't seem to see the irony in this. We are a tolerant and diverse nation which is why it is such a good place to live. There will always be some level of conflict between left and right, employer and employee, young and old, religious and non religious, Collingwood supporters and everyone else and it is this that keeps making out country better. We just need to keep it all in perspective.
There is one area that does get me riled up. We seem to have two excuses that allow the bureaucracy to make our lives more and more difficult: Privacy Act and OH&S. The latter has to be one of the worst cost centres for small business. I was recently told that I couldn't enter a loading area because I had a yellow safety vest and due to OH&S I should have an orange one. At one supplier the driver has to take their keys to the office before they can be loaded or unloaded. One large store will only allow one vehicle to unload at a time and last week I sat there for 45 minutes to unload a $100 order and a van in front was even longer to unload a box of foam cups. This means it is costing more to unload the shipment than there is profit in the order.
Shows and Expos are really good. I was told at one show that I had to wear a high visibility vest to go in the hall at pack up. Sounds fine but there were no vehicles allowed in so I guessed this was so that other exhibitors wouldn't bump in to me. NGIV Trade Day is another good one. Recently I was reversing the truck out in the morning, beepers going, lights flashing and everyone wearing shiny vests but two people were standing in the driveway and didn't notice me. They had their backs to me and there were so many beepers going they didn't realise I was there. Now I am being told I have to wear covered shoes. I would love to see the statistical justification for this. I have been wearing thongs / sandals all my life and have never injured my feet. I have never seen an injury at Trade Day to anyone's feet but have seen a few fingers jammed in trolleys and a few people poked in the eye from plants. Perhaps we should all wear safety gloves, safety glasses and hard hats whilst there. In fact why not full motorbike leathers, boots and helmets - doubt we would have any injuries then.
Any way we have had a great spring with some fantastic sales. The industry is on a high and let's hope this carries right through Christmas and into January.