Who wants to be a billionare?

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It was that master of quick wit Groucho Marx who once remarked he found television very educating as every time someone turned the set on he’d go to another room and read a book.

Perhaps less cynically I too extoll the pedagogical (a truly frightening word if ever there was one) virtues of television. In fact, allow me to suggest from the outset, it’s very possible I could have been a doctor had there not been so many good shows on television back in my youth. Like shards of intermittent sunlight filtering through a thick rainforest canopy, things worth knowing – from sources other than a whisper-narrating David Attenborough –  do occasionally manage to escape the blast-furnace of noise, opinion and melodrama that is the small screen.

Not that what I’m about to relate really fits into that category. But here goes anyway. On the show MILLIONAIRE HOTSEAT the other afternoon, the following question was posed:

According to FORBES MAGAZINE, who (of the writer’s pictured) became the world’s first billionaire author?Real

*** If you answered Robert Galbraith, congratulations!

       You’re now $20 000 richer in lounge-chair expert imaginary tv dollars.

*** Ps. On a non-literary note, if you’ve got  a yearning for the top prize, simply name the person, who as of 17 hours ago, overtook Bill Gates to be crowned the new World’s Richest Person (Hint: Initials J.B)

 

 

 

 

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Deathstares – The Aftermath

Death Stares

Pick your battles they warned me.

But what if the battle picks you?

If the title of this post reminds you of some diabolically cheesy WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.) ringside promotion-event, then the apple has definitely not fallen far from the tree. In the last three weeks I’ve given and got my share of headlocks, legdrops, breath-sucking chokeholds, and Boston Crabs… metaphorically speaking. I’ve also tasted the canvas during this marathon hijinks on more than one occasion.

If you joined late and can’t quite catch my meaning, here’s what’s been happening –

Today marks the third and final installment in the trilogy of connected posts that commenced back on June 30th with my review of the movie CARS 3. In that initial report (Read it here) I made mention of a bizarre incident that took place upon our arrival in the carpark of Indooroopilly Shopping Centre prior to entering the cinema. Then last week (Read it here)  I went into detail about my and my family’s encounter in the carpark with a young McDonald’s employee I dubbed WILD WEST MEGAN.

This has indeed been the story that just kept on giving. Here now is the wash-up to the whole sorry, stricken McDrama. The short version is that after 19 days of unreturned phone calls, overlooked emails, uncontactable franchise store-owners away on holiday in the Virgin Islands, area supervisors with false promises of Fitzgerald-Inquiry-scale investigations and shopping centre retail managers that decided to either resign or go on leave during the extended fracas, the ceremonial peace-pipe has finally been passed between McDonalds, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre and I. Two words is all I need to describe my current feeling regarding the whole ordeal – over it! (that’s with an added seven exclamation marks (previous record six)).

The conclusion from all combined parties seemed to be that had a certain very young assistant manager at McDonalds had her time over again it would be hoped she would handle a situation (born 100% of her own making) with less flaring of the nostrils and a lot more conciliation.

The correspondence with McDonalds was mostly by phone but with Indooroopilly Shopping Centre management there was a definite paper trail. Here’s the final email from them, followed by my reply –

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From: Courtney Dreaver <cdreaver@indooroopillyshopping.com.au>
Sent: Monday, 17 July 2017 20:00
To: Glen Donaldson
Subject: RE: No response or even acknowledgement of complaint

Hi Glen

 Thank you for your initial email and for your  follow-up email. My sincere apologies you have had to follow up this up.

 I have shared your experience with the centre team and we are sorry to hear about your experience within our carpark also a staff member of one of our stores. I can only imagine how this would have impacted your trip to our centre.

To give you some level of comfort, upon receipt of your email on the 28th, I forwarded this onto the Franchise Owner of our McDonalds, as Megan is a senior staff member in the store, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to share with the store via email. I was then on annual leave from the 30th of June, so was not aware of your follow-up on the 4th of July. Upon return from my leave, I have followed up again via phone and email with the owner to no avail.

I would like to give you a level of comfort that this is being addressed from an internal perspective from McDonalds, as well as from the Centre. I will continue to follow this up as I wouldn’t wish this experience on any other customer.

 Due to your experience on your recent visit and my tardiness in responding, we would like to offer you  $20 Indooroopilly Gift Voucher. We can arrange to have this posted to your address or it can be made available for collection at the Centre Management Office or one of our Customer Service outposts, whichever you would prefer, if you could kindly let me know and I can arrange.

 Again, thank you for taking the time to contact us (and following up) on your correspondence. I will continue to follow-up with Franchise Owner to find out his course of action with the staff member you have identified below.

 Have a lovely evening & we hope to see you in the centre again soon.

 Kind regards,

Courtney Dreaver

Retail Manager

 P: (07) 3378 4022

F: (07) 3378 9802

Death stares in the carpark at 20 paces

Death Stare

This was gonna be one of my most ambitious (some might say, before knowing the full details, ridiculous) writing challenges.

How to compose a credible letter of complaint to (Indooroopilly) Shopping Centre Management alerting them that one of the retail employees working on their premises had looked at my wife, seven-year old daughter and myself with less than welcoming eyes?

You think I’m joking?   I’m not.

For starters, let’s substantially upsize the aforementioned ‘less than welcoming’ look to what it more correctly resembled and really was:  a withering stare of unbridled loathing that could easily have peeled the paint off any unsuspecting metallic street sign for miles around. A common enough weapon amongst the passive-aggressive crowd I know, but when it’s directed at you, you’re left in no doubt you’ve just been given a deliberate black-eye minus the visible mark.

Then there was the time factor.

By that I mean how long this malevolent optical blowtorch was applied for.

Which, if you haven’t begun forming a mental picture yet, was, I’ll tell you, a bloody long time. Too bloody long. Way too bloody long! Like ‘mentally irregular’ (as Rocky Balboa might say) way too bloody long!

Still reading? Good, ’cause here’s the details.

Last week’s blog post mentioned a family outing to the movie CARS 3 I had taken along with my wife and daughter. I described that though the movie may have been full of car chases spun in together with the occasional car crash, the real action, at least for my family and I, had started in the shopping centre carpark before the movie had even gotten underway.

At this point in the retelling, it’s simpler if I just reproduce the letter of complaint I was asked to compose after contacting both Indooroopilly Shopping Centre management and McDonalds Brisbane head office (located at Chermside). Yes, you read that correctly. This is another one of my adventures involving the golden arches, only unlike last time, (February 24th – Miracle at the Drive-thru  ) this was definitely no McHappy meal.

Hi Courtney,

This morning around 10am, my wife, seven-year-old daughter and I entered the Centre car-park from the Musgrave Rd side near the cinemas. The purpose of our visit was to take our daughter to see the movie CARS 3.

In the process of parking our car an awkward and unnecessarily uncomfortable encounter occurred with what I was to later discover was one of the store employees who works at the Centre.

I chose to reverse park my car into the available space. Immediately, I activated my hazard lights to signal to cars behind me (of which, important to note, at this time, there were none) my intention. In the process of reversing, a car with a young female driver continued to approach and come forward, making it a very tight turning circle for me to enter this space. Once parked, my wife and I watched the driver of the car pass in front of us making every effort to cast her best unblinking hard stare in our direction for what seemed like an overly long time as she drove past.

Unfortunately, as we were to find out 30 seconds later, this driver then regrettably chose to park in a space approx 8 metres behind us (when there were numerous parks available further down). Upon exiting our vehicle, we were greeted with the sight of the young lady now standing next to her car and continuing to stare in our direction with what was, to our eyes, a look of hostility. This was unpleasant and I felt unnecessary (in layman’s terms – I believe she was spoiling for a fight). Bizarrely, as she walked ahead, going toward the sliding glass doors that open to the cinema, with us also pointed in the same direction, she continued to look around at us defiantly while all the time walking with her elbows noticeably cocked outwards from her sides like something from the Wild West. As I say, awkward!

After purchasing our tickets at the cinema, my wife and daughter then visited McDonalds in the foodcourt to buy a coffee. As luck (if you could call it that) would have it, who should we see behind the counter working as an assistant manager but the young lady we had just encountered in the carpark. My wife then spoke to the manager (Luke) who offered the idea that Megan (the young lady’s name) hadn’t meant any harm and was probably just in a hurry. While I understand Luke was seeking to calm the situation down, we were not content with this explanation as Megan’s actions were most certainly a display of deliberate impatience/bordering on aggressiveness from someone who should have shown a more responsible, peaceable attitude while wearing an identifiable company uniform.

My family and I had been looking forward to this day since the beginning of the current school holidays but to have the morning blighted in this way (when we did nothing wrong in the first place other than to inconvenience a person for at the most 10 seconds by our reverse park) by the unpleasantness of a worker who, one would think, should be acting as a role model to others in their interactions with the public, was disappointing and did to some extent take the shine off the morning.

I have no doubt Megan is a very nice girl under other circumstances but on this occasion, to us, she did not act in a remotely friendly way or one which I believe her employer would support. While there was no swearing, rude finger signs or horn beeping from her, she did everything else in her power, I believe to ‘punish’ us for our reverse parking action which impeded her travel so briefly.

If, based on what I have described, you see fit to speak with her at some future time, her manager or possibly both, I would very much appreciate being let known the outcome. I may be contacted either by phone or email.

Regards,

Glen Donaldson

Forest Lake

Ph: 3372 3958

Gunslinger

If I live to be a hundred, don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the sight of feisty young Megan walking that last 30 metres across the car-park and then stomping into the shopping centre with elbows cocked like a gunslinger and a stride like she’d just stepped off a horse. If it wasn’t so bizarrely over the top it would undoubtably have qualified as a moment of bona-fide comedy gold.

My wife and I joked later that maybe that day it would have been more fitting had we seen the movie DESPICABLE ME(GAN). Was I too hard on the young girl, dobbing her into her bosses? (My wife also spoke face to face with her and her in-store manager while being served at Maccas).

I don’t think so. A person who chooses to get all huffy like she did while dressed in a company uniform and direct their frustrations (and hate) at a guiltless family, including a seven-year old girl, needs, I believe, to be corrected by someone outside of her immediate colleague serving alongside her in the same store.

It all goes to prove my theory that try as one might to avoid conflict in this world, there’s no getting around the fact conflict sometimes comes searching to find us. Really, there are times when I think the only reason I go out some days is to get me a fresh appetite for being at home. That, and to see with my own eyes how truly strange some people can be.

cartoon

** Bonus Read**  Click here if you’re interested in Nude Maids for Hire (You read that right!)

 

Vroom Vroom!

Cars

This movie has car crashes and car chases, as you’d expect, but the real action happened in the car-park before we’d even arrived at the cinema. More on that later.

It’s been ten years since the first CARS movie hit cinemas and the hero of the series, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson using his best Texan drawl), is not as young as he once was. He’s facing challengers from next-gen racers that use new fangled training methods, embrace ‘data’ to inform their racing tactics and show little respect or even knowledge of the past achievements of the ‘legends’ of their sport.

CARS 3 is a movie that draws on our collective fear of ageing and irrelevance. In posing the question “When does a past champion call time on their career and stop trying to compete with the youngsters?” it can easily be seen as a kind of ROCKY BALBOA (2006) on four wheels. In fact, this movie pays indirect homage to a number of sports films including, most obviously, the Tom Cruise starring ‘vehicle’ DAYS OF THUNDER (1990). (Underlined by the fact that the other main ‘car-racter’ in the movie besides Lightning McQueen is named ‘Cruz’).

Favourite scene?

Glad you asked.

Predictably for me, it’s a blink and you’ll miss it bit-part that shows Lightning McQueen finishing up in the locker room after yet another humiliating training session on the racing simulator, suggesting to him again his best days may be behind him. Into this scene glides a talking polishing machine whose job it is to clean the tiles once everyone’s left for the day. We hear the tile-polisher remark under his breath,”You’re all washed up McQueen”, but the former-champion racer picks up on the comment and challenges the cleaner to repeat it. “They’re all washed and clean” says the janitor-bot again, pointing to the tiles while not missing a beat.

As to the ageing theme, Owen Wilson, who’s now 48, in an interview for the film, pointed to real life parallels. Describing a recent press junket whereby actors from the film moved from table to table talking to journalists, Wilson related the following amusing anecdote –

“I’m quietly talking and they’ve got their litle recorders out listening and there’s some light chuckles – but at the table over from me, Cristela Alonzo, who’s playing Cruz, would be just laughing, seeming like they’re having the best time.

It reminded me of the time when I was doing press on Armageddon (1998), maybe because it was one of my first movies and I was really excited to do the press junket, I remember my tables really laughing it up, having a great time and Bruce Willis saying, “What are you guys talking about?”

I felt like I’d moved over into the old veteran who’s just boring my press junket while Cristela’s knocking them dead.”

And the car park incident?

You get that one next post, so…

tuned