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Thread: Madazine

  1. #171
    PARLIAMENTARY EXCHANGE

    Minister: What we need here is a free, frank and open debate about the whole matter.

    Member: Hogwash! When the minister speaks of a free, frank and open debate, we all know that what he really means is that the government has no intention of doing anything about the problem. We require action.

    Minister: We have already done a great deal. Does the honourable gentleman not realise that we are a world leader in the field of which we speak?

    Member: Balderdash! Allow me to translate. The truth is that, as in so many other matters, this government has ensured that we are a world leader in talking about the issue. Virtually nothing practical has actually been done.

    Minister: That is not true. We have spent almost ten million in setting up a study group comprising some of the finest minds in the country to advise us on the way ahead. That could hardly be called inactive. It gives an indication of our serious intent.

    Member: Twaddle! The minister has recruited a bunch of otherwise out-of-work academics and is paying them handsomely for what it has proved to be: a master class in procrastination. As ever, the government is using this chamber as a talk shop.

    Minister: Oh dear, the honourable gentleman seems to be having some difficulty with the English language. If the word Ďparliamentí does not mean talk shop, I am bound to wonder what it does mean.

    Member: Well, it doesnít mean endless temporising and prevarication, which is the governmentís approach to any troublesome affair. This whole administration is characterised by indolence and indecision.

    Minister: The honourable gentleman is once again in error. I have already indicated that we cannot be regarded as indolent. As for indecision, I have repeatedly made my attitude clear in the plainest possible terms.

    Member: Tripe! What the minister has clarified to any but the most obtuse minds that he is sitting on the fence and has no idea how to get off it. I hope the splinters are not too uncomfortable. I am mindful of some famous words of Oliver Cromwell, which are appropriate here. I believe they were as follows: ĎYou have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!í

    Minister: Thatís interesting coming from the honourable gentleman. His party sat even longer than we have and did far less good.

    Member: Never mind what we did or did not do. The point here is what the minister is doing or rather not doing. He is simply kicking the ball into the long grass in the hope that the question will disappear and he will not have to deal with it at all.

    Minister: The honourable gentleman has already shown that he has trouble with one aspect of our language. Now he is struggling with metaphors. If a ball is kicked into the long grass it is indeed likely to go out of sight. However, that has not happened in this case. I suspect that what the honourable gentleman really intended to say was that the can has been kicked down the road, which I think implies that it is still visible, as it is on this occasion. The fact is that when in office the party now in opposition kicked the can so far down the road that it took a little time to reach it. However, after doing so, we have made much progress.

    Member: The government has not done any such thing. In fact it appears to be paralysed. I would say it could be regarded as more in traction than in action.

    Minister: Oh, very good. What a pity that the honourable gentlemanís wisdom does not equal his wit.

    Member: Not so great a pity as that the ministerís sagacity does not match his mendacity.

    Speaker: That remark must be withdrawn. I have allowed hogwash, balderdash, twaddle and tripe, but mendacity is going too far. It means lying and that has long been considered unparliamentary language.

    Member: Thank you for reminding me, Mr Speaker. I will change my comment by harking back to 1906 and substituting Winston Churchillís reference to terminological inexactitude as a variation on untruth, but you might admit that it hardly has the same ring as my observation.

    Speaker: I accept that you have a way with words but we are here to deal with politics rather than poetry. However, you may continue after the minister has responded.

    Minister: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was about to express my regret that the honourable gentlemanís intellect is in inverse proportion to his invective. No doubt that explains why he failed so lamentably when he was in the seat I now occupy. Sadly, his conduct at that time was nothing short of treasonous.

    Speaker: Oh, so the minister is at it now. An accusation of treason falls into the same category as one of lying. This argument must now cease and the two of you will be allowed to resume it when I am satisfied that your intelligence exceeds your intemperance. See, you are not the only ones who can produce catchy quips. We shall now proceed to the next item on the agenda.

    Note. Anyone unfamiliar with the kind of parliamentary protocol demonstrated above may wish to note that in such exchanges the participants do not normally use the word Ďyouí to the opposing party because remarks are indirect, being addressed to the speaker, who need not observe the same nicety.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  2. #172
    FRANCIS DRAKE REPORTS

    The item below is a transcript of a one-sided conversation in which Queen Elizabeth I talks to Francis Drake during his circumnavigation of the Earth. What Drake said can be understood by inference.

    Hello, Frankie. Itís about time you called. I was beginning to think youíd got lost. . . . You have? Thatís a pity. Anyway, apart from not knowing where you are, what have you to report? . . . You had to scuttle two ships while crossing the Atlantic. Why? . . . Oh, too many men perished to keep all the fleet going. What a shame. You havenít said what happened to the Portuguese merchant ship you picked up on your way but never mind that. Anything else? . . . One more ship lost to storms in the Strait of Magellan and another sent limping back home. . . . Really, Frankie, thatís pretty careless of you. I mean, you started with five vessels, added another and now youíre down to one. I hope itís your flagship. . . . Oh, good. Youíve renamed it. So what do you call it now? The Golden Hind. I see. Well, I liked it when it was the Pelican, but I suppose you had your reasons. They say thereís method in your madness, although I sometimes think itís more case of madness in your method. Hang on a minute. One of these pesky courtiers wants to tell me something.

    Back again. Have you managed to collect any plunder? . . . Oh, attacked a few Spanish ports, eh? That might be a bit too provocative. It wouldnít surprise me if Philip sends an armada here within a decade or so. I hope youíll be back if that happens because I have you in mind for second-in-command of our lads to repel any possible assault. . . . No, you canít have the top job. Thatíll probably go to Hawkins. Now, about the marauding and pillaging. I need oodles of boodle to keep the country going. . . . You captured three ships. What did you get from them? . . . A load of wine. Well, that isnít much. Ah, 25,000 gold pesos. Thatís about 37,000 ducats in Spanish money. Very good! Is that all? . . . Well, well, itís gets better. Eighty pounds in gold bullion, twenty-six tons of silver plate, thirteen chests of royals and another load of plate. Excellent work. I can use that kind of loot. Just a moment. Another interruption.

    Here again. Whatís that? You executed Thomas Doughty. A bit drastic, Iíd say. I mean, he was your co-commander. However, whatís done is done. Anything further? . . . You couldnít find the way back to the Strait of Magellan. Thatís quite an admission for a chap whoís supposed to be an ace navigator. So what will you do? . . . Cross the Pacific Ocean. Wow, thatís a long haul. It could take a year or more. I could do with you back here sooner. Still, as long as you return with all that lovely mazuma, weíll call that a success, big time. If all goes well, there might be a knighthood in it for you. Now, Iím being pestered by affairs of state, so weíll have to close. All the best for what remains of your voyage and try to stay in touch. You know what they say Ė donít be a stranger. Bye-bye.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  3. #173
    AS THE CRITICS SAW IT

    Yesterday evening’s recital of piano music at the town hall was attended by two of our most prominent critics. Their views are given below:

    A star is born! I was privileged to spend much of last evening listening to the first major performance in this country by Polish pianist Szymon Babrinski. Readers may be sure that he will give many more. It was enthralling to hear his interpretation of Beethoven’s eighth sonata, followed by Liszt’s sixth Hungarian rhapsody, with encores of Rachmaninov’s prelude opus twenty-three, number five and Chopin’s etude opus ten, number twelve, known far and wide as ‘The Revolutionary’. Not surprisingly, his rendition of the last item was particularly moving.

    Every moment was a joy. Rarely have I heard any of these works presented to such effect. Mr Babrinski’s ritardando and rubato were particularly delightful. It is of course well known that these famous pieces usually get a rousing reception but frankly I was far too transported to notice how the rest of the audience reacted. So thunderous and overwhelming were the chords in the Liszt piece that I was put in mind of an avalanche. At times it seemed as though at least two virtuosi were in action.

    It has been held by many that Sergei Rachmaninov was the greatest pianist in living memory. I suspect that same will be said of Mr Babrinski at some point in the future. My space here is too limited to do full justice to what I heard from this young man, so let me just say da capo, maestro. Your next appearance cannot come soon enough for my liking.

    The Herald
    * * *

    It would be difficult for me to overstate my disappointment at last night’s piano recital by Szymon Babrinski. To my mind it was the pianistic equivalent of listening to the squawking of Florence Foster Jenkins, once called the world’s worst opera singer.

    I had been told that we were to hear superb interpretations of Beethoven’s eighth sonata and Liszt's sixth Hungarian rhapsody. In the event the attendees who sat through these pieces and came up for more also had to endure Rachmaninov’s fifth opus twenty-three prelude and Chopin’s revolutionary etude.

    The whole experience was extremely painful. I have it on good authority that Mr Babrinski’s contemporaries at whatever conservatoire he attended were in the habit of referring to him as ‘Old Ten-Thumbs’. One can understand why. At times I was reminded of an episode of the Morecambe and Wise comedy show, when Andrť Previn accused Eric Morecambe of playing all the wrong notes during his fumbling at a piano keyboard. Eric replied that he was in fact playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order.

    I fail to understand how this alleged artist managed to get as far as appearing before a paying public. Perhaps he or someone on his behalf indulged in bribery, rather in the way boxing managers of old were, I understand, accustomed to paying opponents of their pugilists to fall and take the full count as soon as they received a punch that seemed convincing enough to satisfy the spectators. Whatever the background, I hope that I shall not be asked to sit through another spell such as the one I endured yesterday.

    The Clarion

    * * *

    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  4. #174
    THE APPRAISAL

    Dorothy: Well, here we are, Matthew. This is the first time our employees have been given sight of their annual appraisals and had the opportunity to comment on them. Youíve seen my assessment of you and Iíd like to hear your response. What have you to say?

    Matthew: Plenty. First I want to know what happened to the corresponding documents in respect of earlier years.

    Dorothy: Theyíve all been destroyed, in order to give us a fresh start.

    Matthew: I think you mean theyíve been scrapped to cover possible embarrassment. What did you say about me for the rest of the time Iíve worked under you?

    Dorothy: Thatís no longer relevant.

    Matthew: Iíll bet it isnít. My guess is youíve said some nasty things, probably so you could keep me in this department instead of encouraging my transfer to some spot where I wouldnít be treated like a galley slave.

    Dorothy: I canít believe I heard that, Matthew. If all the galley slaves had worked the way you do, the vessels wouldnít have moved from their starting points.

    Matthew: Whatís wrong with the way I work?

    Dorothy: Itís more a question of the way you donít work. Let me be frank here. We expect our staff members to show at least a little get up and go. Now, ever since you came under my wing, itís been obvious to me that even though your bar of ambition is set at rock bottom, you have persistently failed to clear it. You donít seem inclined to make use of your education, so why did you go to university?

    Matthew: No problem explaining that. It was a way of not going to work for another three years.

    Dorothy: Thatís exactly what I mean. You were unemployed for some time and now that you have a job, you appear to be intent on doing as little as possible.

    Matthew: If that were true, it would be understandable. I mean, if youíre never going to be satisfied with my work, then the less I do, the better. That limits your scope for criticism, right?

    Dorothy: Thatís an original idea. Maybe the first one youíve had since joining us. However, your attitude doesnít do much for our productivity. Itís my opinion that youíre just coasting.

    Matthew: What do you mean by that?

    Dorothy: That youíre trying to get through life with as little effort as possible.

    Matthew: Itís another point that would be easy to comprehend, if you were right.

    Dorothy: Why would it be easy?

    Matthew: Look, Dot Ė

    Dorothy: Itís Dorothy, and donít forget that.

    Matthew: Okay. What I mean is if I were coasting, I would simply be anticipating events.

    Dorothy: How do you make that out?

    Matthew: Itís plain enough. We all know that the advance of technology is going to put nearly everybody in this dump out of work in the next three or four years. Iím merely getting used to doing next to nothing before weíre all in that position, you included. Listen, Dot Ė

    Dorothy: Itís Dorothy. How many more times?

    Matthew: Okay, Dorothy. I have a delicate constitution. Iím used to the finer things in life. A touch of elegance is what I need and what do I get here? Just look around this place and what do you see? Iíll tell you. A bunch of weirdos. Grubby, smelly, bearded and stubble-faced types with hair halfway down their backs, ĎBuilderí stamped across their foreheads and muscles in their spit Ė and the men are no better.

    Dorothy: Well, maybe you shouldnít work in a perfume factory. Anyway, you wonít be doing it after today. Youíre fired.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  5. #175
    THE HEARING

    Extract from the record of a court case held in the Judgeís chambers

    Prosecutor: Now, Miss Gloat Ė

    Defendant: Itís Ms Gloat, and donít you forget it.

    Prosecutor: Very well, Ms Gloat. I put it to you that late in the evening of the twenty-fourth of March you did, wilfully and with malice aforethought, enter the home of your next-door neighbour, Mrs Vinaigrette Mountbrace, and place in her bed a convincingly executed plastic model of a dead mouse, causing Ė

    Defendant: I did no such thing and you canít prove that I did. I know nothing about any mouse.

    Prosecutor: Well, thatís all right then. We will move on to the second charge against you.

    Defendant: Not so fast. If the mouse was made of plastic, it would have been dead, wouldnít it?

    Prosecutor: No doubt, but I have just said that we are about to address the second charge.

    The Judge: Just a moment, Mr Beanforth, you are supposed to be the prosecuting counsel in this case, yet you have made no effort to disprove Miss Ė

    Defendant: Itís Ms. Are you deaf?

    The Judge: Partially, but kindly curb your impertinence or contempt of court will be added to the charges you face. Now, Mr Beanforth, what have you to say to my intervention?

    Prosecutor: Only that Your Honour was somewhat hasty in saying that I have not tried to prove the first charge.

    The Judge: Explain.

    Prosecutor: I am merely attempting to lull the defendant into a false sense of security before I return to the mouse matter and execute the decisive thrust.

    The Judge: You are going about your business in a strange way, but proceed.

    Prosecutor: Thank you, Your Honour. Miss Gloat Ė

    Defendant: Itís Ms. How many more times do I have to say that?

    Prosecutor: Sorry. Now let us finally get to the second charge, which is that, following the incident involving Mrs Mountbrace and the mouse Ė

    Defendant: Alleged mouse.

    Prosecutor: As you wish. However, following the incident described in the first charge, you responded to the involvement of Mr Percy Mountbrace in the affair by striking him in his left eye with a bent stick. Why?

    Defendant: Because I couldnít find a straight one, and I didnít do that either. Anyway, it didnít hurt him and it would be the left eye because Iím right-handed, so his left side would be the most likely target, wouldnít it?

    Prosecutor: Your grasp of anatomy does you credit, but we are getting into deep waters here. First you say you did not carry out the assault, then you add that it didnít hurt him. Which is it to be?

    Defendant: Youíre confusing me.

    Prosecutor: That is my intention and I seem to be succeeding, donít I? You have already contradicted yourself regarding the second charge and I have no doubt that in due course you will do the same with respect to the first. I suggest that your whole defence is a farrago of lies.

    Defendant: Your muddling me again. Whatís a farrago?

    Prosecutor: A confused mixture, a medley. I hope it will not be necessary for me to give you free language lessons. I normally charge for my time, you know. Let us describe your testimony as a pack of lies.

    Defendant: If thatís what you want to call it Ė

    Prosecutor: Ah, so we are in agreement. You have been lying.

    Defendant: No I havenít. That mouse was made of wood, not plastic.

    Prosecutor: Oh, it gets better as we go on. First you know say you know nothing about the model rodent, then you state that it was made not of plastic but of wood. Your Honour, I think I have demonstrated that Miss Ė sorry Ms Gloat is guilty as charged and that the jury will agree with me.

    The Judge (emerging from a nap and catching only the last few words). What? Wake up, Mr Beanpole Ė

    Prosecutor: Itís Beanforth, Your Honour.

    The Judge: Never mind that. You seem to be singularly unobservant. Let me remind you that this hearing is in camera, so there is no jury.

    Prosecutor: Beg pardon, Your Honour. For a moment I was thinking of another case. My contrition is boundless.

    The Judge: So it should be, though Iím not surprised that you lost track of these proceedings. You have discombobulated me, the defendant and now yourself. Perhaps I have overlooked something here, but even if that is so, I am not willing to listen to all that nonsense again. It is clear that we shall never learn the truth in this case, so I am minded to dismiss it. Now off you both go and I hope that you will never darken my courtstep again.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  6. #176
    SEE YOUR DOCTOR

    Doctor: Good morning. What seems to be the trouble?

    Patient: How do I know? Youíre the doctor.

    Doctor: True, but you bounded in here apparently full of beans, so I think itís reasonable that I ask what you believe is amiss with you.

    Patient: I may appear to be sprightly enough but who knows what might be lurking beneath this facade? For all I know there may be some ghastly malignancy consuming me as we speak.

    Doctor: Possibly. However, most of my patients call because they have symptoms of some kind, whereas you havenít mentioned any.

    Patient: Well, thatís where your expertise comes in, doesnít it? I mean, after all the training youíve had, you should be able to diagnose illnesses at a glance. What do you suspect might be wrong with me?

    Doctor: My dear sir, this practice is based on my curing ailments as soon as I have established what they are.

    Patient: Hah, thatís whatís wrong with our so-called medical service. You should be working on prevention, not cure. Your business is similar to the police service and it falls short in the same way. The constabulary ought to be forestalling crime rather than merely detecting it.

    Doctor: Thank you for the social critique, but letís concentrate on you. Now, in order to let the dog see the rabbit, as it were, a pointer from the patient concerned is usually helpful. What do you think I can do for you?

    Patient: Iíd say you should give me a good going over. See if you can find out if thereís anything about to overwhelm me.

    Doctor: Look, I have an average of about five minutes for every consultation. A thorough examination will take quite a while and other people are waiting to see me.

    Patient: Thereís another thing. Why are you rationed to five minutes per patient per visit? You shouldnít have to rush through your work in that way. No wonder we keep hearing about people whoíve slipped through the net because of this casual attitude to appointments. If you were to give everyone the attention they needed in the first place, you might find that youíd uncover the nasties at an early stage and that would save a good deal of misery later. Also, if you picked things up at an initial visit, you wouldnít need to see people as often and that would save a lot of your time.

    Doctor: Very kind of you to tell me how to do the job Iíve been doing quite successfully for many years. Perhaps youíd like to take over here.

    Patient: Worse things could happen. I could sit there and refer patients to hospitals, as you do with any problems that are beyond you, which seems to be most of them, or I could write prescriptions for placebos and medicaments that donít work. You general practitioners are nothing more than an obstacle in our health service. They are the best-paid office drudges in the country.

    Doctor: Heaven preserve us from amateur medicos. One thing Iím fairly sure of is that thereís very little wrong with your chest. I mean, youíve just got a lot off it, so you canít have much left there. However, I have an idea. Take my stethoscope and this reflex hammer, examine yourself to your satisfaction, let me know what shape you think youíre in and weíll see if I agree. For what itís worth, I can give you a start point, which is that you have an overdose of gall and probably a touch of apoplexy.

    Patient: Rubbish! I want a second opinion.

    Doctor: Okay, Iíll give you one. Youíre a hypochondriac. Forget the self-diagnosis and scram.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  7. #177
    That is some very clever dialog.
    I could hear the accent clear across the pond.

  8. #178
    Hello Ralph. So pleased to see you liked the item. Hope you will enjoy some of the others.

    Best wishes, Courtjester
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  9. #179
    ALTERCATION

    Dear Penfellow,

    I have just read your supposedly funny piece about an electronic newt. Whatever gave you the idea that you are (a) a humorist or (b) a writer of any kind? This collection of words, I can hardly share your opinion by calling it a story, is absolute drivel. Take it from me, a highly successful published writer, that you have no chance at all of getting anywhere with trash like this. Your best course of action would have been to submit it to a shredder.

    The only words of comfort I can give you are that youíre not alone as a hopeless contributor to this forum, which I joined last week. I intend to offer some incisive comments to other incompetent aspiring authors, giving them the same advice as I offer to you, which is to abandon writing and turn your hand to something for which you have talent, if there is any such field. Doing that will save you a lot of wasted effort, and spare other people the time involved in trawling through your feeble efforts, searching in vain for something enjoyable. I did consider sending this as a private message, but on reflection I think it should be available to all members and guests.

    Writinman

    Dear Writinman,

    I suppose common courtesy requires me to answer your diatribe, though I would be justified in ignoring it. Like you Iím a newcomer to scribblers.com and I never expected that my little tale about the newt would evoke such an onslaught. Responding at length to what you regard as a critique is not worth the exertion it would entail, but I will stoop to your level for a few minutes, if only to demonstrate that you are not this siteís only exponent of mud-wrestling.

    First, my intention was merely to offer a little light entertainment. I did not ask for observations, though I understand that as this is a forum we are exposed to remarks, including derogatory ones. Second, I note that in addition to harpooning my work, you have already carried out your threat to attack other members in much the same way. It would seem that nobody is good enough to satisfy you, despite the fact that several of those you have assaulted are established authors who are simply enjoying themselves here and giving pleasure to others. In fulfilling the requirement to make a minimum number of postings before presenting your own doubtless immortal efforts, you have adhered resolutely to negative remarks and did not offer a single word of praise to anyone.

    I have done a little research into your record. When joining scribblers.com you did indeed describe yourself as a successful author, albeit in your words, of self-published material. Oh dear, this is not quite the case, is it? The information I have unearthed is that your output amounts to one story in the historical fiction genre, produced by a notorious vanity publisher, rightly disdained by good writers.

    It is clear that you do not grasp the difference between self-publishing and narcissism. This can be gathered from your opus, a copy of which I have obtained with some difficulty, as it cannot be got from any respectable outlet. Even the least proficient self-publishing house will normally proof-read books before unleashing them. Apparently nobody checked your twaddle before it was issued. It runs to only fifty-eight pages and contains sixty-two spelling mistakes and forty-seven grammatical blunders, many of them astounding howlers. What really puzzles me is that your above mentioned animadversions, even though profoundly distasteful, are passably lucid and that makes me wonder who might have written them for you.

    After reading your Ďnovelí, I suggest you take a course in English language and follow that with another one in creative writing, not that either will do you much good, as a pigís ear cannot be turned into a silk purse. However, occupying yourself in the way I recommend might keep you from pestering those who do know how to put words together.

    Penfellow

    Dear Penfellow,

    Your response to my entirely justified observations is scandalous, and possibly even actionable in law. I was merely trying to be constructive. However, I see now that you are a case of one can lead a horse to water but cannot make it drink. I will leave you to stew in your own juice, whilst taking legal advice as to what can be done about your disgusting outburst.

    Writinman

    Dear Writinman,

    The guidance you need is not legal but literary. In view of your offensive attitude, I have invited the forum moderator to step in.

    Penfellow

    Moderator: Hey, donít ask me to intervene. Iím enjoying this punch-up far too much to stop it. Get stuck in and when youíve finished, Iíll clear up the blood and feathers.

    Dear Moderator,

    Thatís a disgraceful retort from an alleged senior forum official. I shall, with immediate effect, close my scribblers.com account and open one with a decent forum, namely scrawlers.org.

    Writinman

    Dear Moderator,

    Me too.

    Penfellow

    Moderator: Good riddance to both of you. That saves me banning you.

    * * *

    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  10. #180
    RETAIL PSYCHOLOGY

    Ruth: John, Iíve been meaning to speak to you about something thatís troubled me since I began working here.

    John: No time like the present, Ruth. Fire away.

    Ruth: I hope youíre not going to bite my head off, but Iím puzzled by the way you operate this shop.

    John: Why?

    Ruth: What I mean is that Iíve been with you for five months now. Iíve worked in two other health food stores, but as far as I know, your method of doing business is unique.

    John: How?

    Ruth: Well, in my time here, youíve put on two special offers and now you intend to introduce another.

    John: Right. So what?

    Ruth: My point is that on both previous occasions, you made sure we didnít have any of the items supposedly on special offer, and now youíre going to do that again. Iím baffled. How do you expect to sell the stuff in question when weíre out of stock of it?

    John: Obviously I donít expect to sell it. This seems to be an aspect of retail psychology you need to grasp, Ruth.

    Ruth: Would you care to explain?

    John: Certainly. You must have noticed that I announce the offers loud and clear, and stress that they are available for only two days. The resulting footfall here in those short periods is much higher than at other times.

    Ruth: I understand that, but some people leave disappointed and empty-handed when they see that the special offer shelves are empty.

    John: Indeed they do, but many of them reason that while theyíre here anyway, they might as well stay and buy other things at normal prices. Now, if you just go over our sales figures for the two-day periods in question, youíll find that daily receipts are on average over a third higher than at other times. All those takings relate to stuff sold at full prices, which means that weíre selling goods at top margins all the time.

    Ruth: But we get complaints.

    John: I know that a few people squawk, but most shoppers are pretty fatalistic. They either buy something else or just leave. Anyway, my assessment, based on experience, is that the gripers are usually those who come only to nose around for bargains, and who needs them?

    Ruth: I see what you mean. Do you ever have any genuine special offers?

    John: Oh, about once a year I dispose of things I want to jettison anyway. That doesnít cost much and gets rid of clutter.

    Ruth: Donít you feel that your technique is a wee bit questionable?

    John: You might look at it that way, but I prefer to think of it as making a good profit. Thatís why I could employ you. Get used to it, Ruth.

    * * *

    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustnít sigh and you mustnít cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



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