Loyalty means more than pretty coloured plastic

Yesterday I visited 5 different chain stores, at each, the teller asked me if I had their loyalty card? I wondered, what these corporations must think, do we have so much free space available in our old wallets. Offer us some plastic and you will get us to shop there more frequently? Meanwhile the only reason I shop there is because they have specials or cheaper items I need

Loyalty means more than pretty coloured plastic

Loyalty means more than pretty coloured plastic

For me loyalty is a sacred word, reserved for friends, family and especially my animals, not shops or corporate service providers. I return loyalty to good shop assistants, doctors, hair dressers, any people who I deal with that give me great service. Sadly, most great staff go largely unrewarded for the extra mile they go for customers.

Now I hear you shouting, “But what about my rewards? We’re getting something for nothing!” Rubbish, whoever thinks there is a free meal is dreaming, we probably end up paying higher prices to cover costs of these promotional campaigns.

But then there is that great store image you love so much. Do you think those designers, contractors, project managers came for free? They created a sterile environment for us to make us feel warm, safe and cosy.

Just before I was sequestrated, I remember a large corporate where my brand loyalties had become immortal. For 11 years, my bill was insane at (±R3.500.00) per month, yet the very month I couldn’t pay, due to not getting paid from a customer, they took all those premiums and got a fancy corporate lawyer to do what felt like an assassination on me. I question the use of the word “Loyalty”.

If stores and corporates want our loyalty, then they need to start earning our trust again by trading honestly and ethically. After all, it is you and I who built those businesses by giving our support.

Besides this I am sure those loyalty cards are probably more about “big brother” tracking our buying cycles and collating data on our monthly spending habits rather than giving us any loyalty. They must really laugh to themselves when they realize how clever they were and how easily enticed we are.

Anyway I must go shopping now, can’t remember what I need but I am sure I will remember by the time I get there…




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Posted by on Sun 13th Sep 2015 in Corporates, Loyalty


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Today I am 57, I was Born 22nd November 1957

I have always though that this year and this birthday, would somehow be very special. This year would act as my benchmark of success for the future; show that I am Ok, doing well with upward momentum. Well, that hasn’t quite happened, but something better has cropped up! Let me try to paint the picture.

My mother is 88, turning 89 in January 2015. Every time I call her, she moans, she has bad back pain; she is still recovering from a hip replacement from earlier this year. She lives alone. But hell, she’s nearly 89 and living 1250 km’s away from any family in Johannesburg. Yesterday I called her to see how she was doing and she complained because “I was interrupting her Soap’s”! What can I take from this, I have great genes!

I have two brothers, both older than me, (I was the ‘late lamb’). I might not see them often, but this is only because we live some distance apart, we are all very busy and I don’t like reporting my current situation to them. I feel that I have made my bed, I’ll lie in it. However, if ever I have a real problem; either Clive or Trevor has always been there for me. Both of my brothers married great British women. Trevor is married to Heather who is always kind, hosts the perfect dinner party, or weekend at one of their places. Clive is married to Jeanette who is a good friend, a superb physiotherapist and probably the only person my Mother ever listens to. Both ladies deserve a gold medal; both are still married to my brother’s…

I have two sons, Nicholas and Christopher. Nicholas lives in London England, Chris down the road from my work in Kempton Park. I am very proud of Nicholas because he’s had a tough life without any of the privileges of a good stable family environment. He is one of the nicest young men to sit with and have a chat. He has a warm magnetic charm. He is independent even through great hardship, never asks anyone for any help. One day Nic, the world will be your oyster.

Christopher lives with his lovely wife Alicia, he regularly meets with his new family, about a 1000 Portuguese people, scattered throughout Johannesburg’s East Rand. I have never met such a friendly, generous, noisy, naughty, party mad bunch in my life.

Christopher hasn’t had it all his own way either, the last few years has been a tough character building exercise for him. He joined a strict company to work for, not only has he succeeded, but is starting to really prosper. He and Alicia work all day, Monday to Friday, then study after hours, they are busy getting their degrees. They are paying for the tuition themselves! Guys I am proud of you both, more than you will ever know!

John Tout, my best friend for all of the better part of 50 years, I have known you longer than you have known your own wonderful wife Jeanette. I have watched on quietly while your youngsters have grown up and become young men with their own brand of your legacy. You have always been a true and honest friend, you never pull punches, you are kind and generous always treating others to good times. You call a spade a spade. Thanks for always being there for me, always ready to give great un-adulterated advice and great braaivleis, (barbeque). May we share many more chats and red wine together, today!

Mike Lessick Mica Hardware, the place where I am employed. I have learned more here in 2 years, than in 13 years of managing and running my own business. I have also learned how to setup, design and administer shopping cart websites. I have learned how to take a website to the very top of Google without paying them a cent. Now I just need to learn to make money?


Flash (Beagle) and Spike (Yorkie)

I live in a 2 bedroom cottage in Benoni North Agricultural Holdings. I have adopted two wonderful dogs and the terror of the plot’s mice, a cat named “Push-wush”. I love living here, even when the landlord sometimes overcharges me for the services. Every day I watch 100’s of birds living on the land next door, all have their own personalities, I have seen some of their offspring born and grow up. I walk my dogs just about every day; I am privileged to look out into beautiful blue skies, trees and freshly burned turned green grass. I eat healthy taking in lots of vegetables, I make a mean chilli sauce.

Life is great!

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Posted by on Sat 22nd Nov 2014 in Uncategorized


South Africa – 2014 Election

I was born an English speaking white South African. Before I get too far into my election story, lets clear up a few things. I was never consulted about this, NEVER chose to be born, NEVER chose to be born white, NEVER chose to born into an English family, NEVER chose to be born in Africa, especially NEVER in South Africa. I just landed here, (the stork brought me, according to my mother), no questions asked or answered! Of course, none of this would have been a problem, except that I am not the preferred shade of light brown. To top it, previously I was part of the wrong language group!

Must admit though, I do love life here and adore the country, especially when politics doesn’t enter into it…

South Africa 2014 Elections

South Africa 2014 Election Statistics, Image Courtesy of

Our 2014 elections were very well run, I was taken through quickly with pensioners privilege, at 56 years old, I wasn’t sure if I should feel insulted. In less than an hour voting was done and dusted and I was visiting a chain store on the way back to my cosy cottage in Benoni North A/h Plots.

Prior to every election, we, both blacks and whites, (dark & light browns), spend many hours discussing all the issues. We argue about the ruling party’s lack of performance through this term, plus the corruption, conservatively estimated at about 20% of our annual budget. Lots of our dark browns have not received their free RDP houses, or electricity, or water, or sanitation services. But President Zuma’s family, that is his wives and children, keeps growing in number. Then there is Zuma’s R 214,000,000 upgrade to Nkhandla, his Zulu mansion and multilevel complex, built with tax payers money. His friends get approval to use a our military facilities for their personal parties and guests private aerodrome. Zuma’s old friend and former allie, Julias Malema suddenly being persecuted for opposing Zuma and the ANC Government.

All these discussions leads us, (the light browns), into believing that we are truly making some progress in South Africa, that there was medium to long term hope of some real change and improvement to everyone’s lives. Dream on fellow South Africans!

What we don’t realise is that voting is not about our hopes or dreams, or even about future growth as a nation, or about creating critically needed JOBS. Which really should have been the emphasis from Mandela’s time.

It’s more about scaring your electorate, put the fear of the past into your voters. Fear that the light browns, us, will bring back Apartheid if the dark browns stand with us to try to clean up our government and change our country for the better.

I am sure voters are also motivated by the 390 odd Billion Rand spent on government grants, paid for by us taxpayers. The credit goes to ANC Government who claim its to redress the imbalances of the past. Is this not a perfectly legal form of bribery? Isn’t this is why our dark brown brothers speak reform, but actually vote ANC? As the poor are in the vast majority in South Africa, there might not be much political will by the ANC to change that status…

President Jacob Zuma promises to create 6 million new jobs if the ANC stays in power after the election.

President Jacob Zuma promises to create 6 million new jobs if the ANC stays in power. Last election it was 4.5 million jobs, Image Courtesy of

Winning an election, followed by celebrations, is not like winning a football cup, election supporters must remember there will be at least 5 years of consequences. And as I can’t afford to drive anywhere on our Johannesburg highways right now, due to the high cost of tolls, road taxes, high fuel price including the ±68% of that price going to the Government coffers, all of this will result in me looking for a better paying job.

In five years time, we optimists, will be having the same discussions all over again, and guess what, probably with the same results. Looking at the election statistics, things are changing slowly, ultimately this will lead to creating jobs and more prosperity for those who are lucky enough to be in work.

Did I say South African Election or Zimbabwean? Funny how all these liberation party stories are so very similar. Saying all of this, we must count our blessings, I remember a time, (apartheid), when we were not allowed to criticize, the dark browns were not allowed to vote, use toilets or park benches… Viva ANC, viva! Long live! Long live!




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Posted by on Tue 13th May 2014 in South Africa


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Who is this woman?

My 88 year old mother lives in Knysna, an Eastern Cape coastal town in South Africa. She’s a robust old lady with a wicked tongue and no regard for the consequences. My father passed away 6 years ago, so we try and visit her annually. I am divorced and the youngest of three brothers, I tend to draw the short straw, end up staying for about 2 weeks over Christmas. This incident happened in December 2011.

Jonty - Miniature Schnauzer

Jonty 2004 – 2013. Miniature Schnauzer, a wonderful companion to my Mother.

When I arrived, she had a bad case of Pink Eye. No amount of advice could get her to the Doctor. She made every excuse in the book, “Oh the Doctors are too busy and can’t see me!”…

So, when I was asked to accompany her to town, to Clicks, a retail and healthcare store, (with in-store pharmacist), plus, we had to take Jonty, an 8 year old Miniature Schnauzer, I was very nervous.  She would always tell me “Jonty is allowed in Clicks, and all the other shops!”

There’s no doubt, we all, (our family, that is), have a huge debt of gratitude at the role Jonty has played, as companion, after my dad’s death. He survived our visits and kept my mother reasonably sane.

Apart from my vain protestations we ended up taking Jonty. Once out the car and on the way into Clicks, Jonty took a leak on the stairs, now I new trouble was coming. She dragged us into Click’s, the local Coloured folk leaping in all directions, to escape. Luckily Jonty didn’t start barking at them. By now I started sweating badly, so I quickly tried to escape, nipping down a side isle, hoping to avoid further embarrassment. No such luck, after about 5 minutes of listening to the mayhem inside the store she appeared from the other side.

She pushed her way to the front of the queue in an attempt to see ‘Sue’ the Pharmacist, who she considered her friend. Nobody dared to argue, including me. Sue took one look at mother’s pink eye infection and ordered her to see the doctor immediately, ignoring my mothers protests. She called the called the Doctors rooms on our behalf, made an appointment and sent us packing with a small bottle of Eye anti-biotic.

By this time, Jonty and I were exhausted, all the other customers queuing were staring into space and tapping their feet. Eventually we made our way out, even stopping to show Jonty some lovely colours, he was most impressed! (I could tell by the way he yawned). She led him passed more queuing customers waiting at the tills. By this time Jonty had stored up another full bladder and as we left and cut through the mall, Jonty found a white Christmas tree, he promptly lifted his leg, luckily missing the electric lights which were live and wound around the tree…

My mother just chuckled, luckily, she wasn’t able to take him into the supermarket to buy milk, so I agreed to go and then meet her back at the car. Ten minutes later, Jonty repeated his marking in the garden section of a Hardware Store, he found the nearest potted plant and watered it for about 10 seconds. Once again, she though it very funny.

Who is this woman? My mother was never like this, we would have had to wipe-up every drop, would never hear the end of it! She is so rebellious now, At 56, she still manages to embarrass me at the shops…

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Posted by on Wed 1st May 2013 in Mans Best Friend


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