McDonalds in Balmoral

So, after my post about McDonalds buying land in Kaikoura I was contacted by the good folk in Balmoral Auckland. They have been fighting to stop a McDonalds restaurant open in their suburb.

TV3 ran a story tonight that said the McDonalds application has been approved – with one proviso: that they aren’t allowed to erect the 10 metre high identifying “Golden Arches”.

Needless to say the Balmoral Community Group are gutted. They continue to fight and are raising funds to appeal the decision.

According to the Balmoral Community Group spokesperson Nathan Inkpen, the biggest walking bus in the country will be passing by the McDonalds restaurant twice a day. Perhaps that is the main reason that the McD’s positioned the site there. After all, we know they like to target the young.

Go to the Balmoral Says No! website to lend your support and help them continue the fight.

Congratulations Air New Zealand

I’ve just flown back from Auckland and have two big ‘ups’ for Air New Zealand.

Firstly there’s a huge thankyou to the flight crew that painted their bodies and appeared naked for the Air New Zealand video safety message. It is absolutely brilliant and a better-than-perfect way at instructing passengers on the safety measures and procedures on board the aircraft.

Many times in the past I would slump in my seat and never even glance at the monitors while the video droned on about following the lights to the exit, or adopting the brace position.

Today when the video played I swear to God nearly everyone was watching that screen. It wasn’t just because the staff were naked (that was part of it I’m sure) -but it was more that they kept your attention and gave you everything you needed to know with good humour and good grace, and with a wry smile.

I even saw people turn and actually count the rows of seats to their nearest exit. That’s a stunning success. I know I’m late off the mark – more than 4 million people have viewed the clip on YouTube – but if you haven’t seen it here it is now:

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My second round of congratulations goes to the flight deck of Flight NZ 451 which departed from Auckland today at 5pm.

We knew it would be a rough flight when the pilot told us he would be flying at a lower altitude because the wind at normal cruising altitude was blowing 250kph.

Of course we could expect some turbulence on descent into Wellington (it’d be unusual if this was not the case).

Anyway, ten minutes out of the capital the roller coaster began, and got worse. It was dark and the cloud was low, and we (the passengers) couldn’t see a thing. I knew we were getting close to approach when I heard the wing flaps go down and they switched on the landing lights.

Just before we touched down the pilot did an abort and we climbed at full power to 5000 feet. We were going around again as the plane had struck ‘dead air’.

Another 10 minutes of roller coaster activity, and I must say apparent calm from myself and the other passengers, as we went back around to make another approach.

This time – success! Thankyou pilots and crew of NZ451. I really didn’t fancy travelling on a bus from Palmerston North to home. This was our alternative if our second attempt had been unsuccessful.

McDonalds in Balmoral? No way.

After my weekend posting about the protests against McDonalds setting up shop in Kaikoura Justine from Balmoral made her campaign against McDonalds in her suburb known to me.

Little did I know there are communities around the country fighting to stop this fast-food giant establishing itself.

And the Balmoral people look highly organised indeed. Check out their activity here.

And while we are on the subject, my children have been watching morning TV during their school holidays as a treat. (If I ever have to watch another episode of Ben 10 I’ll scream – loudly.)

McDonalds seem to have moved from advertising the food on morning TV to advertising the games and figurines in an attempt, successfully, to persuade the children to persuade the parents to buy the food.

In my book they are the same thing. The reality is that you can’t get the figurine without buying a burger or a happy meal. Bugger.

McDonalds in Kaikoura?

McDonalds not wanted in Kaikoura

McDonalds not wanted in Kaikoura

The locals in Kaikoura probably won’t win this battle – more’s the pity.

McDonalds has revealed it bought a large block of land on the outskirts of this seaside town with the ultimate aim of erecting the Golden Arches.

Locals are upset about it, but the district plan will allow for the restaurant.

While I’d hate to see the culinary delights of Kaikoura blighted by the presence of a McDonalds restaurant the people petitioning against the development could be seen as a little hypocritical. SUBWAY have a restaurant in Kaikoura. While their footprint is smaller they are still a global brand selling anything but local produce.

According to the Marlborough Express “feedback from a forum held in 2002, A Kaikoura Celebration, indicated that the community did not want to see any large fast food chains in town and a similar scenario is being played out in Mosgiel, where residents have approached the council to try to stop the move.”

Seems it might be too late.

United breaks guitars

While I’m in the mood for revealing bad customer service here’s a doozy that slipped by me. (Thanks G forpointing it out.)

Dave Carroll, a musician from Halifax flew United Airlines to Nebraska where his band, Sons of Maxwell were playing gigs all week.

After the plane landed Dave looked out his window to see the baggage handlers tossing their instruments round like confetti. When Dave collected his guitar off the carousel his worst fears were realised – his handmade Taylor guitar (worth US$3,500) was broken.

To cut a long story short – he complained, and complained – for nine months until finally he had had enough. United Airlines were not going to play ball. So, Dave told United that he would write three songs about his experience and release them one after the other as a warning to others not to fly United.

The ensuing video has gone viral. According to Visible Measures (a company that is in the business of measuring the impact of viral campaigns) the YouTube video has amassed more than 3 million hits in ten days, and over 14,000 comments across various blogs and news outlets. A previously little-known country band from Halifax, Nova Scotia now has a world-wide audience.

United Airlines has also had amazing press coverage, far more air time than they could ever have possibly bought for $3,500 – unfortunately it’s all bad press.

As Dave Carroll puts it on his blog:

I should thank United. They’ve given me a creative outlet that has brought people together from around the world…So, thanks United! If my guitar had to be smashed due to extreme negligence I’m glad it was you that did it. Now sit back and enjoy the show.

Indeed. Here’s the first video.

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No gingernuts taste quite the same…

There’s no gingernut tastes quite the same
Ask for Griffins gingernuts by name…

Gingernuts in short supply

Gingernuts in short supply

So went the jingle when Griffins was the premier biscuit company in New Zealand.

With progress came redundancy and closure. The famous Griffins biscuit factory in Lower Hutt closed at the end of last year and production was moved to Auckland.

Now Griffins are having trouble stocking shelves with the famous red biscuit in the lower north island and the recipe seemed to have changed. Springload has personally experienced this. We always have gingernuts in the cupboard and recently the odd biscuit seems burnt on the bottom, and has a different texture.

So, not only did Griffins move production north it neglected quality control. And it neglected maintenance of supply.

And so progress marches on.

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