Thursday, March 26, 2009

Value Added Words

Take a trip down the aisle of your local Woolies or Coles and you will spot a new style of adjectives describing products, even though they are proper nouns.

In the yogurt aisle you see French Vanilla and Traditional Greek. Walking past the chocolates you get swayed by the Swiss Lindt. I need some olive oil and looks like its Extra Virgin Italian pressed. My choice of dip is French Onion and pasta is Italian style. Heading over to buy more coffee, its a choice of Brazilian or Colombian, Italian or French roast. My beef and bananas are Australian. Lastly, my Achilles heel has to be Swedish, Russian or Polish Vodka.

Need to buy clothes? Even in retail the trend is cropping up. Aussie Bum swimwear, French perfumes - Coco Mademoiselle, Michael Kors - Capri, Hawaii and Bermuda. Italian leather handbags and shoes, French knickers and Swedish or Danish designed furniture. Our cars should be with German or Italian engineering. We must tell the time with our Swiss made watches.

There is an obsession brewing here. Maybe due to our geographical isolation, our need to be seen moving in higher socially and financially and to want the best, but who says that really these are the best and as your average middle class Aussie, is this reality?

Lets now take a more realistic view of what we can buy in our local shops.

  • Undies (namely Bonds) we now know are made in China.
  • Leather producers (shoes, handbags, wallets) are biggest in China, Italy and India.


  • Coffees largest producers are Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia.
  • Global production of olive oil is generally from Spain, Italy, Greece and Tunisia.


  • The top 5 cars that Australians privately own, 4 out of 5 are Japanese cars (Toyota, Mazda, Honda) with a Korean (Hyundai) thrown in too.

We may be faced with facts one day that all our clothes and shoes will come from China and India, our produce will probably be from China and India unless we keep our produce quotas and tariffs in place.

Imagine Japanese Bum swimwear, Singaporean ice Cream, Afghani made watches, Tongan made cars, olive oil from Brazil and Romanian designed furniture. Life would be so much more interesting!

(Stats and data used from

Monday, March 23, 2009

Commuter Anxiety - The People we sit next to

There are many types of anxiety plagued by commuters. This one is rather taboo and not widely spoken about. The anxiety over the people we sit next to on public transport.

The bus pulls up and is relatively empty, I walk up the aisle and slide into a double vacant seat and sit next to the window (Opera House side to get the good view).

As more people get on the bus, I secretly hope that no one sits next to me. I like the freedom of space and can put my bags on the spare seat. Bus stops again. I know, I know, it is naive to think the bus won't fill. I decide to move my bags to my lap so someone can sit next to me. I'm now anxious to know, who will sit next to me. I can see the line of people getting on and I try to work out who is the one to sit next to me while avoiding direct eye contact.

Someone can only sit next to me if:
  1. They are relatively normal/good looking.
  2. They must also look awake. I don't want someone drifting off to sleep wanting to let their head rest on my shoulder or worse still, they don't wake up while I want to get out and off the bus.
  3. They must smell either neutral or nice. (no B.O., morning breath or overkill of perfume).
  4. No fatties! I choose not to be squashed up with my cheek pressed up against the window, entertaining those who drive or in other buses.
  5. Minimal baggage and not a broadsheet newspaper reader. (although if you're a good looking bloke, feel free to ignore this one.)
  6. Above the age of 18. No kiddies, no crying, no kicking the seats.

More stops, more people. However, it's now getting to a point where everyone around me is sitting next to someone else. I then suddenly realise that the seat next to me is vacant! A new anxiety has arrived.

"Why isn't someone sitting next to me?" "Am I the ugly person no one wants to sit next to?" "Is there something in my hair or teeth?" "What's wrong with me?"

I have been that girl who's seat is empty when the rest of the bus is full. I feel like an outcast and that I have some sort of deformity. I have also seen those on the bus sitting alone. I feel their pain but I still wonder what is wrong with them.

The bus lets more people on and finally someone sits next to me. I am de-stressing and oh Shiz! Whats with the doof-doof music? Time to add another rule.

Friday, March 20, 2009

GPS Systems are for Lazy Buggers!

Yes! It's true.

I have never owned one but from my experience using this stupid mono-tonal, narrow-minded machines, I would have a better way of going to most places and would know the back way to by-pass our god-awful traffic.

I would seriously give any taxi-driver a run for their money if I was competing in the "Annual Best Way to get from A to B in Sydney Competition" (if there was such a competition).

Ok sure, I don't know the whole of Sydney like the back of my hand but I don't drive to way out Arcadia or Zetland too often so I am excused. I know where I need to go and I don't need some smart-ass machine telling me how to get home.

If I'm lost, I will ask or go via instinct. If I don't know where I am heading, I look it up on and write down the address on a post-it note. I think the GPS was invented by men, for men. (The ones who don't have the balls to ask for directions! haha.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

European Vs Australian Weekends

I have have grown up spending my weekends and school holidays the same way for years! Always a choice of deciding which shopping centre to go to today. Even these days (and I know fully well I am not alone) that people when planning what to do on Saturday, Boxing Day and now Easter Sunday will choose what shopping centre to visit.

Contrast this with Europe (Central and Eastern Europe to be more precise) where stores and shops are generally closed from mid-day Saturday and all day Sunday. What do they do instead? Go for a bike trip, long walk, cook, spend time in their gardens, hiking, BBQs, tennis.

The lifestyle is based around enjoying the outdoors, being with family and it doenst always include shopping and submitting to consumerism like individuals and families do here.

I remember hanging out with friends at the local shopping centre, walking aimlessly around, buying fast food and buying clothes and accessories. What has changed these days? They now also look at the latest Xbox or Wii games.

The Europeans (well some of them) lead more healthier and organic lives and lack the obesity troubles other western countries have. They enjoy their country and don't spend every waking moment spending! So many of Australia's health and financial woes would be solved if people just spent a few hours enjoying the great outdoors!

(Photo from: 17/03/09)

Monday, March 16, 2009

User Friendly CityRail

Public transport in Sydney already has its problems and unites commuters in anger and frustration. A simple rolling of the eyes is suffice to know that someone is pissed off because the train on Platform 1 is 10min late.

In a move to make travelling a little more tense, CityRail have come up with a campaign which mirrors the kiddies game, Eye-Spy. 8 types of annoying passenger behaviours have been identified from The (seat) Hogger to The (phone) Yeller. The (loud music) Blarer to the (litter bug) Rubbisher and my favourite, The Splutterer (infecting the whole carriage with their disease ridden antigens).

CityRail have come up with a competition about what should the 9th offence be. Start looking! Although, I hardly ever catch trains and I already have a list.
  • The drunk and disorderly (especially Friday and Saturday nights)
  • The vagrant yeller (as opposed to the phone yeller)
  • The staring (potential) stalker
  • The clown lady (putting on her makeup to and from work)
  • The Stinker (either from B.O. or way too much perfume)

Will I win? Don't think so ... not too PC.

(Photos from: 16/03/2009)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who Cares?

Today in the Sunday Telegraph .... Joe Hockey spotted in the Strand Arcade. Who cares and who cares what he buys? Since when does the shopping behaviour of our politicians matter? Why do our journalists fill our newspapers with shite?

(Nothing against the guy but really, doesnt he also just want to be left alone?)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Recession: Not in my dictionary!

There is too much political and media driven banter over the word Recession and Consumer Confidence. The recession in Australia is NOT officially here. We should not be thinking and talking about how to get out of recession, more thinking and talking should be done about what we are doing to prevent it and what to do to minimise the effects of negative growth and job loss.

The media play a HUGE role in this and I would essentially blame them for the way people are freaking out and band-wagon jumping. It does not help when people are told ohh its grim, its going to be a bad one, oh yes ... even K.Rudd is also to blame.

However. Consumer confidence is something that we voters have control over. We can either see the glass as half full or empty. We want out of this precarious position, so we need to think differently. Its not going to get worse before it gets better, its just going to get better! Think and do. Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Recession? What recession?

Mac Bank shares? They're a bargain! Same with BHP and Woolies all our good Aussie Blue Chip shares. Go on, buy some! Buy your new LCD TV or that iPhone. You deserve it and you are helping the country to move into the black. I read somewhere that someone was donating all their cash handout to the victims of the Victorian Bushfires - yes, this money will be spent there.

Go on! Take that $900 and buy yourself something pretty!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ribbons Galore!

I am all for raising awareness of causes and diseases, funding and volunteering etc but I am all ribboned out. There is a ribbon for raising awareness for everything these days. I give money when I can, why should I wear the ribbon and why are there so many of them?

I recall a funny yet resonable complaint in a Seinfeld episode. Kramer gave money, his time and participated in a walk for the families and friends of AIDS victims but why is he forced to wear the ribbon?

To remember those who passed away during our Feb 2009 Victorian state bush fires, people started to wear YELLOW ribbons. Everyone was wearing them. Spotlight was even giving away free yellow ribbons.

There are RED ribbons for AIDS awareness.
GREY ribbons for Ovarian cancer awareness.
PINK ribbons for Breast cancer awareness.

BLUE and WHITE ribbons to remember those Police personnel who have died on duty.
GREEN for mental health awareness.
A BLUE ribbon was worn last week
by our politicians.
There is a PURPLE for bikers against Lupus, child abuse and for the neo-pagens.

YELLOW is also for showing support for our troops.

If an emblem needs to be worn to show your support - think differently but please, no more of those rubber wrist bands.

Its so much more refreshing seeing the more traditional ones for Rememberance day with a Red Poppy and ANZAC day with Rosemary.