It’s not very often that I even come close to feeling sympathy for this island’s all powerful hoteliers; but, a certain sympathy I do have - given the recent Thomas Cook debacle. To be more accurate, it is those working in the hotel and leisure industry that always seem to cop-the-flak when the collapse of a major tourism player goes to the wall. Quite why we have the usual brinkmanship when a company is clearly staggering towards the final curtain is anyone’s guess. For pities sake, with debts of over £1.5 billion and with the financial writing on the wall for months, if not years - why the shrugging of the shoulders of the company and all involved? Reading my Bulletin I understand that our German friends have a much more practical and civilised way of dealing with these corporate meltdowns when their citizens could be stranded abroad. Listening to British Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, last week, he answered questions on the Thomas Cook cock-up with a frankness rarely found in the House of Commons nowadays. Basically, under pressure from all-comers, he pledged to restructure the way that travel companies seem to surrender their responsibilities when the money runs out.
I know we’ve heard all this before, but - this latest disaster was hardly a surprise was it? Indeed, at its lowest level, how can it be that a company with those sorts of debts and with a begging bowl being brandished to everyone to see - still take money from naive, mis-sold and uninformed potential customers? However, what gets stuck in the craw of all who have been affected and those of us who watched it happen - is the fact that directors and senior managers of Thomas Cook, made quite sure before its eventual demise that all their generous salaries and outrageous bonuses were safely ‘banked’ before their company i.e. Thomas Cook, went into liquidation. All this - as the poor British taxpayer, the poor tourist and lowly Thomas Cook workers pay the price for the company's financial incompetence. I am no lawyer, or financial expert - but, would it be beyond the wit of man, to pass into law that any company that should go into financial administration - all bonuses and ex-gracia payments (not salaries) paid to directors over the past five years should be repaid to the administrator or the appropriate government department?
WHY NOT SAY NOTHING?
Something that my attention has been drawn towards, is the insurance implication of folk who via all forms of social media, make it “clear and obvious” that they are not living/staying at their place of abode as they are away on holiday, or perhaps working somewhere (and staying!) other than their normal home. I guess it doesn’t take a genius to work out why this has/is becoming an area of conflict when it comes to insurance. It might well be worth checking out the ‘fine print’ on your house and contents insurance, if you are in the habit of letting the whole world know via social media that you aren’t at home, and won’t be - until you return from your holidays. Seriously, as I write regular pieces for the Bulletin when we take a well earned break in the UK - it has seriously struck me that - if we should be burgled, have I by my own blabbermouth enticed every burglar on the island to check out where I live. Come on, how many of you reading this, have at one time or another told the whole world via Facebook or Twitter that your are not at home at the moment - nor will you be for another fortnight? It maybe that I/we have nothing to worry about, but nevertheless it might be worth checking out exactly where you stand on this tricky matter. Let me know (privately if you wish) if you have any further information on this subject. Because, let’s face it folks - most insurance companies are never that keen to pay out anything - particularly if they can prove that the victim of any crime, can be held to be the fault of the insured householder.
There seems to be a fast growing criminal activity taking place around the island at the moment. In Friday’s MDB it was reported that two Romanian women robbed an elderly man, on crutches, of his ‘luxury’ watch. I have to say that more than once recently I have winced at the obvious nature of a very expensive watch being flashed about - and thought to myself - that’s going to end in tears. But what to do? If you have a nice watch, why shouldn’t you wear it without fear of having it nicked? My own brother-in-law has a ‘flash watch fetish’ and when he stayed on the island over the summer, I did warn him about the increase in thefts - but he seemed to think that the high value bling that he had around his wrist was safe as houses. However, I hear that his wife made him wear a watch more in keeping with my modest 25 euro timepiece with the white plastic strap.
A VEHICULAR NEGOTIATION
I intend to initiate across the island a competition to find and celebrate, examples of the worst car parking ever encountered. And from my experience the competition will be intense. Indeed, a little while ago, a small group of friends of mine would take pics of some of the more grotesque example of the genre and those postings soon gathered a cult following. This was mostly because - some of the parking witnesses was so awful, it would and could make you laugh out loud. Unhappily, this morning I came upon a brilliant example of spectacularly bad parking. Let me set the scene! In Andratx town, just outside the Post Office, there is a zebra crossing, which rather than allow pedestrians a right-of-way to cross a busy road, mostly it acts as just the beginning of a vehicular negotiation. This morning, sat astride the aforementioned zebra crossing was a chap in a top-of-the-range SUV. Beside him, trying to cross the road legally and safely was an elderly lady on a zimmer frame. Matey, being on his mobile and at the same time looking at himself in the mirror, suddenly decided to take off at high speed from his illegal parking position thus knocking the old and infirm lady clean-off her feet. Naturally, he roared off up the road revving widly as he went, doubtlessly intent on seeking another old bird to kill before washing his hair. Alas, I have no photographic evidence of this incident - but I know there are sad people out there who keep this sort of thing to show their friends at dull dinner parties.