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.
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
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
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.
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!