Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 14/2/2012

Five nappies, that’s the count so far this year. Disgusting.
It is not uncommon, for example, to find plastic bottles, lolly wrappers, thongs, bathers, socks and underpants left by lazy beach goers, then there’s the bits of rope, timber and plastic blown in from offshore, but nappies? Who? Why? Well, settle back, I have a list of possibles.
The first type to leave a nappy I call the “the lazy bugger”. This is a person who trundles off to the beach heavily laden with all kinds of junk to enhance their sea-side experience and when it’s time to leave they just up and leave with whatever they have in their hands.
Then there is the “hard of sight” type who has good intensions but when they rise to leave they can only see what they can see and that they collect. Nappies being flesh coloured can easily get lost in sand. Okay, I’m being kind here, because if this were so then how the hell does an old bloke with one dodgy eye spot them?
To be fair, I must include what I call the “good and fair” beach-goer who simply misses the filthy thing sitting on the sand and would, if their memory served them well, return later to the same spot to collect the offending parcel. This may well have happened and if it did, I would, of course, not see the bundle because it would no longer be there.
Finally, the type I call, simply, the "prick".  This person says to him or herself: I’m not picking up that. Leave it for the council workers. Yeah, sure, as if council workers patrol the beach every day collecting rubbish.
No, we do, the regulars, the walkers, the beach lovers.
Perhaps the "prick" has heard of us and says: Leave it, there’s an old bloke with a dodgy eye, comes by every day picking up crap.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 31/1/2012

It’s the tourist season and every year visiting friends ask me the same question: When we come, why does Albany close?
It doesn’t, of course, there’s always a place to buy petrol and at least one IGA keeps it’s doors open. What they mean is: Why is it so hard to find a place ready with a cup of coffee, a piece of cake and a decent meal?
On the Sunday following New Year, I found two coffee shops open and staff at both were running on empty and complaining about all the others with their doors slammed. Not a good look in a tourist town.
What the hell would I know about the service industry? Let me lay my cred on the line: all my brothers are in retail, I was once in retail, my father was a retailer, his mother and her father, all retailers.
The man of our house, Stanley Roy Doust, ran his shop in a time of heavily regulated shopping hours but he ran it with community responsibility firm in mind and if your mower broke down on Sunday at 2.20 pm, he would say: I’ll see you down the shop in 10 minutes. You can pay me tomorrow.
In a tourist town we need to nurture strong local operators like Stanley.
Some years after the proliferation of shopping centres, he said to me: Shopping centres have become the new cathedrals.
He’s right. Colin Barnett knows it. And so does Mark McGowan. People flock to the glitz seeking manna and so much leisure revolves around shopping experiences.
But even bishops should be given time off and so Stanley and I say: Close the cathedrals at least one day a week, but make sure the tourists leave town with a warm glow, because there is no greater marketing strategy than the one that works from mouth to mouth.