LInk to 612 Breakfast page

If you're looking for 612 ABC Brisbane stories, you'll find them on the official 612 Breakfast page:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bmag 18th Sept 2012 - Off to Canberra, gift voucher rip-offs

As you read this, I’m on a year seven school trip to the nation’s capital. No, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’ve been looking forward to this week for six and a half years and I’ll tell you why. As a really young fella growing up in the north-west of England, London was the most exciting place you could ever hope to visit. To do so was rare and it was special. With Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, black taxis and red doubledecker buses, London was the Land of Oz and the train line from Preston to Euston was the yellow brick road! Then in 1981, just before my ninth birthday, we moved to Australia.

Of course, London retained its magical status and I still pinch myself whenever I’m there, but I soon found myself looking up to Canberra in exactly the same way. I first made it to Australia’s capital city when I was 13, part of the formative experience that was a driving holiday down the New England Highway, across to Broken Hill, then down to Adelaide and Melbourne, and finally up to Canberra and the Snowy Mountains. Road trips have been in my blood ever since. But I digress.

What I’ve never understood is why we in Australia make such a sport out of hating Canberra. It’s packed with sites of national significance, yet people laugh if you tell them you’re going there. Sure, it might not have the most exciting nightlife in Australia but it is our capital city and the thought of flying down with Jack’s year seven class is bringing back all those tingly thoughts of a childhood trip to London.

So keen am I on Canberra that when Nikki fell pregnant in 1999 and we were looking for a special somewhere for our final childless holiday, that’s where we went. We could have chosen a tropical island somewhere, or the hustle and bustle of Sydney, but instead we had a week in Canberra. And now I’m dying to get there to share my love of the capital with my son. And that brings me to the other reason I’m chuffed to be heading down.

We’ve known about the year seven Canberra trip since Jack started primary school in 2006. For all these years, we’ve plotted for me to go as one of the parenthelpers, so that Jack and I can have a boys’ bonding week. You may have noticed I’m not on the radio this week. Now you know why. I’m also taking next week off!

I have a feeling I’m going to need an extra week just to get over the excitement of a trip to Canberra! And that’s my excitement I’m talking about!

Gift vouchers

On a completely unrelated topic, why must shops impose expiry dates on gift vouchers? I recently found in my wallet a voucher for a coffee shop that was given to me a year ago. It literally was one day from expiring. If I hadn’t used it, that $30 would have just evaporated. Only, it wouldn’t have disappeared, would it? In reality, the coffee shop would have kept it. Why can’t shops just hold the money (which they receive when they sell the voucher) and allow you to use your voucher at any time, forever?

With complimentary or discount vouchers, there is an argument for shops spreading out redemption. They can’t afford to have everyone claiming their free or discounted goods or services on the one day. That, I understand. But when it comes to gift vouchers, the shops are sitting on the cash, not to mention the interest it’s earning them.

Then, of course, you get the situation where shops go into administration and won’t redeem vouchers or they have rules stating you must spend a certain amount in order to use your voucher. Again, they have the cash! What happened to it? It’s worth noting that some shops don’t have expiry dates.

And yes, I acknowledge that ABC Shops are among those that have expiry dates, so I’m certainly not claiming the moral high ground for the ABC here. It all makes me think the best gift voucher around is cold, hard cash. It’s the gift voucher you can spend anywhere, anytime!

No comments:

Post a Comment