Posts Tagged ‘business’


As everyone knows, yesterday was the day that the rich got richer and the poor got the impression they were better off. Although in reality, when is anyone actually better off. Although fuel duty didn’t rise, we can’t afford fuel. Although a pint went down 1p, we still can’t afford a pint. Although in 2015 you’ll be able to earn £10,000 tax free, nice sentiment but in reality it means pennies.

All the above taken into account, the biggest annoyance on my part, was the well paid, elected members of our counties, acting like a bunch of yobs. They were jeering, pointing, laughing, abusing and basically disrespecting each other for the cameras. As in my previous blogs, no one actually answered one of the questions posed by either side. In reality it seemed like a bit of fun. The place was packed, which is a rarity. The ammunition had been prepared a day early thanks to leaked information. It was just an expensive episode of Jeremy Kyle.

Good TV but is anything in parliament actually truthful or representative of the people any more. No matter what the party in power do, the opposition would have done it different. If the opposition make a fair point, the party in power do something different, just to prove they went there own way. It’s mob rule it seems. No one has any morals, no one has any clue and everything is done for cheap points and judging by yesterday, cheap laughs.

I have to be honest, I don’t even know my local MP, they have no interest in knowing me either it seems. They don’t come around my rural location to find out what my opinion on anything is. In fact they don’t ask anyone. They turn up when one of the other parties drops the ball, to emphasise the mistake. They have no better morals or ideas on fixing things, they just have the majority agreeing with them on one point and maybe winning the odd vote.

I’d like to see a parliament that is a genuine representation of the people. People from a diverse background of areas and employment. Normal people who know how it feels to live on nothing and struggle to find employment. The problem is that people are nurtured to vote for particular parties by events of the past. Labour will soon be forgiven for putting the country into the mess it is in today because the Conservatives are having to tighten the purse strings. But when they do eventually get the country back in the black, people will have become tired of them and voted Labour back in. Liberal Democrats will side with anyone to get into parliament. UKIP will preach that they will sort immigration but what are the other items on the mandate for them. Not a lot it seems.

Perhaps it’s time for a new party. A party that gets a chance because they earn it, not because the rest are terrible. A party that understands you can’t please everyone, but is open and honest about the reasons they are changing the mandate to match economic climates, immigration statutes and things that need to be amended to meet demand. It’s not the things of dreams, it just need belief from the people.

I’d support anyone that realises that we can’t allow any immigration currently because we don’t have jobs. Someone that realises that the current benefits system, tax system and credits system is poor and needs revamping completely to a standard format. A party that understands that council tax is extortionate when coupled with the other taxes we pay on everything from fuel, car tax, income tax, VAT and alike. And someone that realises we need to become more self sufficient in production, manufacturing and technological development to create jobs of the future. We can’t all work in retail, warehousing and transport. We need to build some things too.

Something needs to change to stop the boys club doing whatever they like for the rest of my lifetime. Perhaps people like Dave from the Bank of Dave, Richard Branson and others like them, should be encouraged into parliament. At least they have an opinion and they’re not afraid to share it in the right way, rightly or wrongly.

Would love to hear your thoughts and hope you enjoyed the read…


In today’s climate, it’s getting easier for employers to pick and choose who they hire. Some even take this to the extreme and treat job seekers like cattle at a cattle market. They bring them in, hundreds at a time, spend no real time with them and don’t have the means or the method in place to turn them down gracefully. Forgetting how much effort and cost the actual candidate has spent getting to the interview, maybe buying suitable attire for the interview and even hours spent stressing about it.

Fortunately I have a positive example of how the process can be done. The company in question is called Mystery Shoppers, whose website is


Now I wouldn’t normally mentioned the details as it can seem a little biased but when I have finished stating the lengths this company have gone to, to make me feel like an important candidate, person and potential future employee, I think you’ll agree, they deserve a special mention.

The job was advertised in the local Bude & Stratton Post, it was for a Client Services Manager. Something I felt was suitable, as I have relevant management experience, albeit in other industries and sectors. A nice easy application process, which in the current climate I am always grateful for. Send an CV to either an email address or postal address and the company will be in touch.

The very next day I had a reply, thanking me for my application and informing me that following the closing date for applications, someone would be in touch with me.

The closing date passed and as promised, I received an email inviting me to interview for the position. But would you believe my poor luck, I had got my first passport interview on exactly the same day. So fearing this would be my application over and done with, I emailed Valerie at and explained my predicament. Valerie replied that she should be able to sort something for me and true to her word, she phoned me a few days later to ask if I would like to attend the interview earlier in the day to complete the paper based assessment, meaning I would have an extra half an hour on the back end of the interview to make my way into Plymouth for my passport interview. Not only this but she had booked me the first slot for my oral interview with Paul Grafton, the Managing Director.

How many companies, go to this length to accommodate a candidate. Rightly or wrongly I have known people be turned down flatly due to having an interview at exactly the same time as another, as the candidate should make themselves available. I agree you need to show commitment but these things happen. And when you do eventually get a job, wouldn’t you rather work with an employer who will make exceptions for extenuating circumstances.

So anyway, I attended the interview. Got offered a nice cup of coffee and completed a nice paper based activity involving a geography exercise. Something I hopefully didn’t do to badly on, after all, I have worked in transport for years.

Secondly we did an interesting group activity,involving a scenario, this was assessed by Paul and Valerie, who made notes on our performance and interactions I’d imagine. Mentioning I’d probably use the gun in the scenario to shoot the tribesmen in order to keep all the survival goods, maybe didn’t help my case for being a fair manager. Although it was taken in the humour it was meant.

Next up, I got a one on one interview with Paul Grafton, who is the Managing Director and a very friendly, experienced and well travelled man. He made me feel comfortable and opted to have a friendly chat style interview, taking notes and letting me express myself in a more relaxed atmosphere. Rather then the usual name forty negative things about yourself scenario, that make you feel very positive about yourself in the middle of a very pressurised environment. I think it went quite well as we over ran our chat a little. Discussing my learning Mandarin Chinese and Paul’s experiences of countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, which I personally found fascinating.

Lastly, I got to actually do part of the job, which would give me and the company an insight into my capabilities. Although at this stage, I was clock watching a little but did do the task to the best of my ability. On an even better plus side, I did in fact make it to Plymouth to prove I was both English and me but that’s a whole different post.

A week after the interview, I got a very nice email explaining that a couple of positions had been filled and apologising for the length of time that had gone. And offering me some positive feedback, which is always what candidates enjoy and saviour the most. Valerie also informed me that I’d hear more in a couple of days regarding the final outcome.

Unfortunately a few days later, I was in fact unsuccessful for the position. But informed I would be considered for future positions, something that I had no doubt was a genuine email, as opposed to the automated ones you receive from other companies, stating you’ve been unsuccessful.

But after all that had happened and the process being so positive all the way through, I didn’t come away from the process feeling negative and destined for the dole for the rest of my life. I actually came away feeling that I’d made an impression and that I could in fact hold my own with other people with similar experience. Now the only people who will truly know the impression I made will be the company. But for my part, I think that they did an amazing job in making a good impression and would happily recommend them as a company going forward and who knows, one day I might need to use a service similar to the one they offer and wouldn’t hesitate in calling Valerie or Paul and make that happen.

Hopefully this will encourage businesses and interviewers to think about the candidate that little bit more in the process. I know with having a thousand applications for a position you can’t address each one individually but try to remember the effort it takes to apply, the impression you leave for the future and the fact that one of these candidates may need to use your service in the future. Mystery Shoppers did and look at the free publicity they’ve received because of it.

Hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment as always…..

Once upon a time, a whistle would blow or a bell would chime and work would stop. Has this disappeared on purpose or have businesses merely taken the bell or whistle off the wall?

I know laws are in place to ensure that we all have adequate breaks at work. But in reality, laws are only effective when they are followed in every office block, warehouse or factory. And who actually polices these laws and regulation, the HR department of a national company who are in London, while you are in an office in Devon.

Lets be honest now, how many people reading this have worked through lunch to meet a deadline? How many feel pressured to do this regularly? How many have lunch at a desk and a colleague or manager will just check on some work? The sandwich goes back on the foil and this time is magically wiped away from the dinner hour. It happens everywhere and the mere mention of it, screams lack of commitment to the company you work for.

In my opinion, countries such as Spain and Japan have a far better system then our own for this sort of issue. Some companies in Japan have pods for the employees to sleep in during breaks to ensure they are fully rested and performing at the best of their abilities. It gives them a break to dream of new ideas and evaluate the day so far. Although I have to point out, that I for one can’t do power naps. If I eventually go to sleep, it’s for good, not for 30 minutes of relaxation time. But the principals are right. People need a break. Its common sense. But when we go to a cafe for a cup of coffee, do we look at the beautiful view at Crooklets Beach? Or do we get our IPad or laptop out and just check on our emails.

When do we unplug everything and say, today I am going to relax and evaluate  the day in it’s simplest form? This is how some of the greatest ideas in history were thought up. We need to use the greatest piece of technology we have from time to time, which is our own brain. When you sit in silence, have you ever noticed how many new thoughts occupy your mind? Things you may not have thought about for years. You start to evaluate things, you start to use skills you have learnt over the years to decide the best way forward. Instinct can be our most prized asset but we spend so much time checking Google, reading forums and updating social media, that we never actually ask ourselves what we think the best form of action may be.

I’m a firm believer in technology being used to make things easier but lets stop developers making it the new human brain and do a little thinking for ourselves. Not using the internet or technology for one day isn’t as scary as it first seems. Take a walk, meditate, go to the gym and you’ll see a new perspective. Even if it’s the realisation that actually, you can’t live without the technology you use so often.

Just an ironic thought, the irony being that you need to use the technology to read the post in the first place. I needed to use it to write it but no one said I was perfect either.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment…





President Obama has decided to increase the minimum wage in America. Now most people will think this is a noble act of someone trying to put an end to poverty, in a nation where people are still starving to death. A similar action was taken in the UK a few months ago. My opinions of the minimum wage are pretty honest, I don’t think it helps anyone.

Lets face facts, money is generated to spend, save or borrow. If we earn more we’ll have more money in our pockets to spend. True enough but what happens to the things we want to buy, they go up in price due to increased cost in production, distribution and retailing. All these areas rely on staff accepting minimum wage to make good profits. Looking at the costs in the home alone, we don’t benefit at all.

I decided to do a little case study based on a 21 year old, single person, living in Bude, Cornwall who needs to be a car driver due to poor transport links to work. Below are my estimates.


Lets look at our minimum wage of £6.19 an hour (21 year old) on a 37.5 hour week.

This gives us a £12,070.50 per annum gross salary. Without being too accurate with regards to tax and National Insurance, this would give us roughly £10,740 per annum to live on or £895 pcm.


Rent for a 1 bedroom flat in Valley Road, £395 pcm.

Water Bill £50 pcm.

Electricity/Gas £99 pcm.

TV Licence £21 pcm.

Phone Line/Broadband £14.50 pcm

Car Tax £11.25 pcm

Car Insurance £100 pcm

Petrol/Diesel Costs. £80 pcm

Now based on those estimates that leaves us £124.25 per month, give or take a few pound.


Now the above to me are standard living costs. But we haven’t even done a basic weekly food shop for around £29. The cost of food has risen dramatically over the past few years, with even basic cupboard fillers such as bread and milk being unaffordable in my opinion. With this sort of budget you have to pick and choose which area of your life you forsake.  You  can’t pick and choose any products, you have to take what you can find, which in the majority cases are heavily laden with salt and sugar to make them taste a little better. You have very little chance to buy anything fresh, as the cost of these products mean you’d have to leave other products you definitely would need. And lets not forget the hygiene and personal health aspect. I have no issue stating that cheap toilet roll, as a massive example, is absolutely useless. It is not good for your health, hygiene and in reality your pocket, as it’s so thin you use a roll per curry. But it is all you can afford.

Social Recluse 

Now even though food is the necessity  This is the area that really gets to me the most. We are all overweight, spend too much time indoors watching TV and playing on our game station  This person is living alone and can’t afford to socialise. What doesn’t cost these days. They could join a local football club. I pay £3 per week for the privilege of playing. About going to the gym, only if they don’t eat for the month and use the entire shopping bill to afford the membership. Maybe they could try the pub and meet new people there. Hmm, maybe not. So what is available for this person, that works hard on the minimum wage purely to stay alive. Not a lot in my opinion.

Now all of the above is an example in my eyes of a person living on the national minimum wage. Although personally, all the wage is actually doing is keeping the person alive. The worst thing about the example is, I haven’t even included the credit cards, loans or overdraft the person will now doubt have by this age. Whether it be through educational costs, living expenses or once in a while, a night out with friends or family.

What is the answer?

In my mind, living in a world where money is everything, I don’t see how we can improve things easily. We could put the wage up some more and go full circle. It makes no difference what we’re paid, as it’ll increase the cost of buying what we need. Perhaps the answer is driving the costs down by using local suppliers, wholesalers and retailers. Taking the national status and scrapping it. Making communities self sufficient and supportive of each other.

Can’t see it and neither can you but inevitably, something needs to change. We can’t live, while we’re just trying to stay alive.

Thanks for reading…


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In the UK we have placed an emphasis on education and experience for a number of years now. Which up until the past year or so, was a positive attempt to make us a serious country to do business with. That was until the recession took over the country. Now it seems that experience and qualifications are actually a bad quality to have whilst finding employment.

Now as with all my posts, I’m speaking quite generally. Of course if you have a law degree and a lawyer needs a trainee, they’re going to find it imperative to have this quality in a new employee. But what happens when the person with the law degree decides that they’d actually like to work in retail and applies for a job in a supermarket. Years ago this was the normal, students were studying whilst working in retailers, fast food and clothes shops all over the country.

But over the past year or so, I’ve heard more and more people complain that they’ve applied for jobs and been told that they have too much experience or too many qualifications. It has happened to me countless amounts of times. I am the sort of person that has an enormous amount of ambition but also a fierce sense of loyalty with companies that give me an opportunity to shine. I have saved companies up to £500k in costs and never left for any reason other then lack of career progression within the company I am in. Not that the opportunities weren’t within the company, they just weren’t sent in my direction, which is fine on the outside but not when you take into account what I gave the companies back.

So I’d personally enjoy the challenge of working my way up from the shop floor to the managers seat, through innovative solutions and hard work. Unfortunately companies look at my CV and believe I am purely looking for a stop gap, I don’t even get the opportunity to explain my loyalty, work ethic or what I can offer. In fact in 3 minutes actual time, I got turned down for a position at Pets at Home in Launceston. 3 minutes after they’d seen I have previous retail experience, 3 minutes after they’d seen my CV with evidence of turning a £16k deficit into a £3k profit per month, 3 minutes after they’d read I have experience of dealing with £3 million plus turnover budgets, 3 minutes after they’d seen I have a dog, 3 cats, guinea pigs, fish and children. They decided I was the wrong person for the job.

Now I’m not saying no other reason could have been viable, but the above is fact and it took 3 minutes to decide I wasn’t suitable. What could possibly have been the negative. Maybe I am used to projects, managing large teams or saving lots of money on a regular basis. But I have also worked hard for each company I have been at and saved a lot of money through working with management up to director level. This is not to say I am perfect and I wish it was bragging but if I can’t even earn an interview for a job I believe I could do to a high standard, then I’ve not got a lot to brag about.

Now it could be something simpler. It could be merely down to the fact that the amount of CV that the company wanted were set at 100 and I was number 101. It could be that the person reading the CV decided I maybe a threat to their own position, you’d be surprised how often you hear this in a managers office, it could even be that I had the wrong postcode but either way it gets a little frustrating for all concerned.

The solution isn’t a simple one. In the current state of job application process, which in my opinion is badly outdated and in need of an overhaul, It is hard to actually get into the interview seat and prove you want the position and are not over qualified. In any other world, surely being over qualified means being able to perform the position. I mean if you could get a perfectly trained member of staff for minimum wage, is it actually a risk to pick someone with experience or qualifications?

It’s something that won’t be changing for a good few years yet but something that I’d love to put out there to potential employers. When you see a CV and think, is this person right for the position? Or I wonder why they applied? Pick the phone up and ask. You might save £500k for minimum wage. It doesn’t take qualifications or experience to see that makes extremely good sense.

Thanks as always for reading and I would love to see your comments.


As it’s Valentines Day and spirits are high, well in some cases, I decided to pass judgement on the meaning of the day, the sentiment, the economy and the values it holds. As with all my blogs, the detail is in the opinion, not my fascinating knowledge of the centuries old tradition of Valentines and where it all started and by whom. My basis is on today and the impact it has on the lives of people living right now.

The idea of Valentines in it’s most basic state is kind of sweet but in reality, is it actually a day for celebrating? Looking at all age ranges and statuses, we soon find that a large amount of people will actually feel pretty miserable right now. That said a large amount will be very happy.

Infant Children
I remember being at school and watching as children opened up Valentines cards, sent with no real idea what it meant. Honest truth, I got a card, I felt pretty good. But even at that age, I saw children looking around for their card. It wasn’t meant in a hurtful way and no child chose to punish another but with Valentines, it’s not encouraged to send everyone a card, unlike Christmas or Easter.

As a teenager it’s even more confusing. You get cards from your friends, pretending to be girls, just to be humorous, at least I hope it was. Although that would explain a lot. You also get cards from girls that wanted one back but yours went to their friends. It’s sounding like a counselling session now but you get the idea. You maybe even find your first love and borrow money from your parents to get them a present and card for the first time. It’s confusing but kind of fun. But again, you still feel that loss of confidence when you don’t get a card.

As an adult, it becomes increasingly important to make sure you put this date in your diary. Failure to appreciate this date can result in all sorts of problems. It’s sold to be as important as your actual anniversary. The questions start as soon as you hit the workplace, gym or football pitch. Are you doing anything tonight? What did you get the wife or girlfriend? The answer to this question is quite simple, something. Nothing, indicates a lack of love on this faithful day. But imagine for a minute if you didn’t get anything because you hadn’t got anyone to share the day with. Even as an adult this can have a massive effect on your day, self esteem and confidence. Even reading this some of you might be a little down right now.

We’ve looked at the affect on the age ranges. Now lets look at the benefits on the economy, the waste and the potential changes or ideas to improve the day. I mean you don’t really believe that this day has to exist to celebrate love. Surely every other guy brings home flowers weekly to the wife or chocolates. Nope, me neither, if you ever try that on any other day then Valentines Day you may get accused of having an affair or going to the pub after work. Although some couples are just that loving. Only on this day, is it important to do these things.

Local Economy
For an area like Bude, the economic affect of Valentines Day can be quite profound. I mean how many menus, flyers and vouchers have you had to advertise it. They will be fully booked for the entire weekend. No tables will have one person alone, that’s banned on this day. Every table will have a couple, whether it be two men, two women or man and women. The prices will be competitive but only compared to each other, after all, this day is special. But on the positive side, this creates work for people, business for people and an atmosphere for people. Couples may propose and this could result in marriage and parties in the area. Again good for business. Couples could baby make and, well you get the idea.

Waste and Environment
The one thing I do hate about these days are the cards and boxes it creates. Every special occassion has them. Trees die for love daily and we justify this by saying, it’s okay, we’re planting more to replace them. Why send them. We have technology, send a video, send an ecard, send a text, actually pick up a phone and talk to someone. These are much better methods. But if you do feel that a card is neccessary, please recycle it. It’ll make me feel better, if not you.

Improvements and Ideas
How many establishments are having a singles night tonight? How many places are encouraging people to find the one they love? Not many from my browse. Wouldn’t it be nice to be the exception from the rule. I know as a businessman or woman, you must think I’m crazy. Lets be honest, it’s easy money. The marketing has been done for you, the event is set in stone and men and women will be booking those tables on instinct. But to be different can sometimes help to be memorable. To create love is as important as celebrating love.

In my house as you’d expect, we do things a little different. Our anniversary is conveniently the week after Valentines Day. So for us, it’s much more special to go out the week after Valentines Day. The atmosphere, the intensity, the food and the love are still available but It’s a hell of a lot cheaper to show it.

Hopefully you enjoyed the read and as always feel free to comment…



Every week we take our bin bags outside and watch as they are removed from our lives by a refuse vehicle. Not thinking about where they will end up, some of us even use the notion that we pay our council tax for this very reason, so we may as well use the service. This post will hopefully encourage more people to stop and think about waste in general and furthermore maybe reduce the need for this weekly service. Although the mere suggestion of this has provoked outrage in the past.

Most people will at this stage, quote figures of some sort. Some will be positive, some will be negative, it just depends which side of the fence you are sitting on. Personally I have worked within the waste industry and have also placed my bin bags out weekly, so I feel I have the knowledge and background to make a neutral opinion on the situation.

First thing I’d like to do is draw your attention to the picture below. It’s not as dramatic as visiting a landfill but it does show a brief insight of what you would see, if you did have the misfortune of visiting one, although I would encourage it, if the opportunity arose.


Now the first problem with the waste industry in my opinion, is it’s a business sector. The aim is to make a profit, I know they will all have exceptional plans to create environmental, recyclable solutions to any problem but in reality, they all operate more general waste vehicles per depot then any other waste stream. This isn’t always the waste industries fault, after all, if the customers recycled everything they could, the recycling vehicles would be most needed.

Each waste vehicle can hold around 10 tonne of waste and they empty twice a day in some cases. This is an astonishing amount of waste just in the Bude area. Whether it be commercial or household waste, it is just left outside and collected without a second thought.

Whilst working in the industry, I had to lead a team of people to target a well known pub chain who had bins for food, DMR (Dry Mixed Recycling), glass and one general waste bin for anything that wasn’t recyclable. Although all these recycling options were their, they insisted on loading every bin with general waste. The answer from the majority of managers at these establishments was lack of time or staff not listening. Although from a manager who leads by both example and guidance, my staff have always done as I have asked and we worked together to achieve these kinds of objectives.

Unfortunately whilst the government Is getting a large amount of landfill tax per tonne of waste (£80 per tonne by 2014), supposedly to stop us from sending waste to landfill, which is similar to the high level of duty on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol to stop us smoking, drinking and driving our cars, although we all are fully aware of the real reason. Although obtaining planning on other solutions such as incinerators and recycling facilities isn’t always easy.

This is where communities, businesses and local families in areas such as Bude need to set a precedence for being the best in the country for not only recycling but not creating a lot of the waste in the first place. A few ways of doing this could be as follows:

Freecycle type of initiatives
When we have a piece of furniture, a toy or even an old TV, our normal route would be to take it to the Sita site at Bude and throw it into a bulk container. I’ve done my bit, it’ll get recycled you say. But what happens if someone could have used it. Just because you feel like an update, doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t be interested in your old belongings. I’d urge you to put an advert on and see if someone wants it first, it’ll save the cost of your fuel, the diesel of the bulk carrier carrying it around and potentially stop it going to a landfill.

No general waste week in Bude
Why not organise a local no general waste week for the area. Encourage the waste providers to close for the week, no need to collect our general waste because we’re not going to create any. I know this may seem far fetched but what do you actually put in the black bags you place out. Food waste? Don’t cook as much, place it on the plate before you put it in the oven to see if you will eat it all, it works for dieting, it works for waste reduction. Recyclables? These are generally thrown into black bags, the bags are black to identify them, not to hide the sins of throwing away card board, plastic bottles and tins. It’s a possibility.

Waste in Business
Most recyclable waste is cheaper to dispose of then general waste. So why not speak to your waste provider about giving you a free recycling bin to go with that costly general waste bin. Even if it’s a little 240 litre one that you think, I’ll never use that, but you slowly fill it with card and paper waste. Restaurants and cafes, get a food waste bin, the collections are getting more regular and it’s cheaper then general waste. Rats aren’t the problem, effort is the problem from my experience. Office environments, companies will still pay for bailed card or paper and it’s a good rate, create some extra turnover by finding them and selling your own recyclables.

Get the schools involved
Schools are such a positive environment for issues such as waste. Perhaps schools should have recycling bins that encourage the kids to fill with recyclables, it’s a good learning curve for the children and can heavily influence parents at home.

And lastly council tax
Recyclables are worth money, we are like little labourers every fortnight, seperating them all to make the council more money when they sell them on. If Bude could lead the way and get weekly recyclable collections and fortnightly general waste collections, it’d be nice to see this on the bottom line every month in the form of a council tax discount.

So much more could be written but I’m fully aware of the length of the post already, so for now I will end it here. The main point is, let’s make Bude green and an example to the rest of the country, one less black bag to landfill at a time.

Feel free to comment as always and hopefully it will provoke some thought on a subject I am truly passionate about…