Summer Help

23 February 2022 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is a blog I posted 8 years ago. It is a good read and has anything changed in 8 years or has it gotten worst? Enjoy the read anyway.


I posted this blog in June 2010 and re-read it recently. It is well worth a re- posting. Not much has changed in the last 4 years. Enjoy the read.

Have you noticed that it is next to impossible to find kids to help with summer work around the house. I have tried for the last 3 years. It is unbelievable what the kids expect and there are so few of them that want to do outside work. They refuse to work at a fast food place for minimum wage yet want to do minimum work. If you do find someone they are slow, can’t think for themselves and you have to watch them and tell them in detail what to do. What would they do if they lived in the U.S. where there is no minimum wage law? I know times have changed but as a kid I would jump at an opportunity to do work for a neighbor and make a few bucks. I had to work on the farm for my Dad for free or as he would say ” You have to earn your keep or who do you think is feeding you? ”

Here are some of my experiences in recent years while either trying to find some help or with the kids that I did hire but did not last long.

1) Yes sir, I can rake leaves, wash cars, trim trees, wash windows. I charge $ 20.00 an hour and $ 25.00 an hour if there are black flies.

2) Yes I can cut lawn. What kind of a riding lawn mower do you have? I don’t, I have a push mower with no motor. No thank you sir?

3) Start time 9:00 am. Arrival 12:00 noon. Sorry I am late my mother slept in and did not wake me up.

4) Start time 9:00 am. Arrival 1:00 pm. Sorry I am late my brother had a bonfire last night and invited me to the party. I only got 4 hours of sleep.

5) Can I work with my head phone?

6) Could I have something to eat and drink I did not bring anything.

7) After 4 hours of work. I did not realize you wanted me to work all day.

8)  At lunch time. Can you pay me tonight for my work? How much will it be anyway?

9) I can operate all sorts of equipment and power tools. Can you use a rake, shovel, push mower, clippers, hammer, etc.? Reply: Are they powered?

10) Would you take this hand saw and cut those tree branches? Don’t you have a chainsaw?

11) Please wash all my outside windows. Here is a bucket, water and rags. Don’t you have a power washer?

12) How often are my breaks? I have to check my text messages.

13) Do I have to work this Saturday?

14) I can’t work any night after school because I hang out with my friends.

15) Don’t tell my mom I am working for you. If she finds out she’ll want me to do the same work at home and she won’t pay me.

16) Can I bring my girlfriend? Will she be helping you because I only need one person? No she will just sit and watch me.

17) Will you pick me up? My car is broken. What about your bike? I have not ridden my bike in years even my motorized bike is broken. Oh, you will get them fixed with this money. No, I want a new cell phone.

18) Pick and move these rocks. Don’t you have a tractor to do this?

19) Paint this porch, here is a paint brush and a can of paint. Why don’t you buy the spray cans?

20) I can’t accept your job because my cell phone does not work at your place.

There are many more reasons and examples but I am getting frustrated just writing about these incidents. Bottom line, I am no longer looking for help unless is shows up at my door step. Instead I have accepted the fact that kids do not want to work so I will take my time and do it myself. If the work gets done great if it does not get done that is OK as well.

Read the full article 0 Comments


16 February 2022 Categories: Gerry's Corner


Originally posted December 2013 but still food for thought.

     As a kid I used to read a lot. Over the years while raising a Family and running a Business it has been hard to read leisurely. There was always lots of “have to” Business reading. The last 2-3 years I have been getting into more leisure reading. I am not a novel reader but I love to read History, Geography, Nature, Animal, Travel, Discovery and Exploration books and magazines. This past summer I bought at a yard sale a 50 lb. box of 20 year old magazines for $ 3.00. I have been enjoying reading what writers had to say on events pertinent to the time and comparing the information to today’s realities. I have 2 subscriptions from the U.S.; one is called “Farm & Ranch” and the other “Country”. These magazines have great pictures and interesting articles about both the present and the past. I was born and raised on a Farm and these readings bring back great memories. I find these articles bringing me back to my childhood. While growing up I felt like most other kids that life was tough, unforgiving, never ending, wishing for better days and my parents were unsympathetic tyrants. My parents were actually great and loving but it took me into early adulthood to appreciate and understand what they taught me. These magazines do allow me to go back to a simpler and happy time in my life. These publications are American but it is amazing to learn how many people in all of America had identical upbringings and experiences. The other satisfaction I get from these readings are the real great and memorable things we did as kids. Building forts anywhere we could in ditches, in buildings particularly barns, in and under trees, old culverts, in miles of snow which lasted from October to April. We made things like tools to help us build, bow and arrows, clubs, spears, bats and more. We made things to reach high in a tree, long sticks to poke, clubs to break things, sticks to dig, etc. We were ingenious and spent hours creating. We did even more than all of this but we were active and outside and happy. The world was ours to discover. These moments were also done after a long list of duties, responsibilities, homework and church. Then it dawned on me! What will the kids of today remember as their favourite memories?

         Let me speculate what today’s kids will remember and cherish 40-50 years from now. They will most likely remember the video games they conquered, the computers they hacked, the pictures they posted on line, the farm or business they built on line, the friends they harassed by phone, the world they explored but never visited, the hours of surfing on the internet, the great pictures they took and lost in cyberspace without ever getting their hands dirty or getting a cut or scrape, weathering the elements or creating things with their hands instead of drawing them on a computer. I am probably over cynical but it does beg one to wonder what it will be like when comparing to our experiences and memories.

Read the full article 0 Comments

Banks/Financial Institutions

10 August 2021 Categories: Gerry's Corner

      Written in 2012. Nostalgic but still true today

      Recently I spent 4-5 hours in appointments with various Banks to update myself on current products like savings, loans and credit cards. What an education that has been. More people should do (in less time) what I did to learn about new products and their current products they are paying for. Times have certainly changed. When I was 5 years old I opened my first bank account with money I earned by finding and picking glass pop bottles. At 2 cents a bottle it took hundreds and thousands of bottles to accumulate money in a bank account. As a child growing up my Mother taught us the importance of saving our money for important purchases or as she said “for a rainy day”. She was a master at saving and stretching a dollar into hundred dollars. She had a bank account for all her 6 kids where she would deposit our baby bonus cheques. She had accounts for every occasion like Christmas, Birthdays, special occasions, house necessities, car, and mortgage and more. She would go to the bank once a week with her 25 plus bank books. She was a banker for the family. If times were hard and she needed money for an important purchase, she would borrow from some accounts but always paid the money back. When we reached legal age, got married or bought our first car, she would transfer the account to our name with every penny of interest since the day we were born. She was also my Dad’s banker. As a Farmer my Dad had good years and bad years of income. My Mother would save from the good years without my Dad knowing to support him during bad years. In those days if you had a bank account(s) and dealt with one particular bank everyone in the bank knew you by name. At times if you needed changes to your account, better interest rates or special considerations there was a Bank Manager that you could speak to who would look at all your records and history and take a decision on whether to help you or not. That was the good old days. Today the banks do not know you nor do they care. There is nobody to talk to who wants to listen and understand your needs. There is no one at the branch level that can take a decision including the Bank Manager. The only boss now at the bank is THE COMPUTER. The computer will not allow this or that. The computer dictates this rate. The computer says your options are this or that. Nobody looks at your history. If you have been the model client for 20 years it counts for nothing today. If you make a mistake today then you get treated like every crook on the face of the earth. It is God awful what banking has come to be. The banks forget that it was people like me with their 2 cent deposits that got them to where they are today.

       Don’t get me wrong Technology has helped us tremendously however the price we are paying is questionable. The depersonalizing of banking services, the lack of service where it is important, the continued gouging in fees and service charges of all sorts is a big price to pay for less service. Do you remember the days where banks encouraged you to use the first ATMs because it was FREE and discouraged you to talk to a Teller? What happen to the FREE service?

In my recent research it brought to light how confusing and inflexible banking services really are. It also made me realize how expensive banking services are. I would encourage everyone to take a hard look at the cost of their banking services. You cannot expect the banks to manage your money, you must be an informed client and manage your own money otherwise you are not getting what you are paying for.

Read the full article 0 Comments

Hiring Older Employees

10 August 2021 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Written 1n 2012 but still applies today

Someone told me recently an interesting story about a particular company hiring policy. This gentleman started a new job driving a truck for pickup and deliveries covering a very large territory. His new company has a fleet of 12 trucks with a garage for repairs and a small office staff. This company apparently has been in business for many years in fact the General Manager has been with the company since High School. After a week on the job, this gentleman got to meet most of the staff, other drivers and was a driver’s assistant to learn the ropes and routes. His opinion was the company was well managed, caring to employees, open to questions and suggestions, trucks were very well maintained ( clean inside and out ), all staff ( office and truck drivers ) were known on a first name basis, nice uniforms, etc. Everything looked perfect except for one thing so he decided to ask the General Manager about his observation. He asked him why all employees including new hires were over 40 years old. The reply he received was: “ We do not hire younger people anymore. They are slow, often late or absent, no sense of urgency, poor customer relations, always want overtime, no loyalty, no pride in their work and most of all, they spend most of their time on a cell phone. We have given opportunities to younger people and even hired some as a driver’s assistant but none rose to the occasion. In fact some drivers wanted to do their routes alone rather than babysit these kids.”

Is this not a shame? Opportunities exist but the younger generation do not accept responsibility. I have a client who refuses to consider local hires because of the lack of reliability and is now considering importing immigrants to do his work.


Read the full article 0 Comments


27 July 2021 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is my experience with a particular Doctor some 40 years ago when living in the GTA. Our Family Doctor for 10 years whom delivered our youngest daughter had a very busy practice. He was not only a good Doctor and popular but he was a Business person with an interest in making money. He was an investor in the stock market but also belonged to some select investors groups which would buy properties for resale in both the domestic and international markets. He frequently took business calls during patient appointments. Between personal phone calls and over bookings,  he was constantly very late for his appointments, thus the problem. He would book your appointment  for 1:00 pm but would not see you for 2-4 hours. While waiting in his office I have witnessed mothers with newborns run out of milk and have to leave and rebook their appointment. I’ve seen irate husbands come 3-4 times to check if their wife was finished yet and the same for people bringing elders to the Doctor’s office. Never did I or my family members go to his office without being there for at least 2-4 hours. The waiting room was always full and at times some people had to stand or sit on the floor in the hallway. One day I decided to poll the people waiting to determine when their appointments were scheduled for. I found that in most cases people were booked 3 at every 15 minutes. My common sense told me that it was impossible to see 12 patients per hour. That is definately overbooking. In my Business being late for an appointment would mean Bankruptcy or lost of Professionalism at the very least. I felt sorry for some of the Moms and the elderly, so I took it upon myself to talk to the receptionist. Her response was : That is the way it is in the medical field, too many patients and not enough Doctors. When I finally met the Doctor for my appointment, I brought the issue to his attention and he gave me a speech about that is the way it is and could not do anything about it. As nice as he was, you could not argue with him or challenge him. He was always right and he knew everything because he was a Doctor.

Time and time again we waited endlessly for our appointments. Basically when you went to his office, you had to plan to be there for 4 hours and bring a lunch in case. Well I got more and more agitated with these 1/2 day appointments. We preferred not changing Doctor after having a long history with him. Then one day I thought I am going to appeal to his Business sense. I mailed him an invoice for my 4 hours of  lost work time. He called me one evening at app. 7:30 pm. He says; ” Gerry what kind of a joke is this invoice”. I said no joke. You are costing me money. You make an appointment, I show up on time then you make me wait. I could be billing my time out rather than sitting reading out dated books/magazines. I asked him: ” What Business are you in?”  He said : ” The Medical Care field of course”. I replied; ” No you are not. You are in the Business of making money. No one overbooks like you do and expect to give quality care to all their patients. Besides you take personal phone calls about your investments while we are waiting. I can’t afford that much time to see you. It is unprofessional”. Well he gave me a piece of his mind in words I cannot repeat.  I told him that every time I have to wait more than an hour to see him, I would send him another invoice. If  he did not pay I would have a Lawyer call him or I would bring him to small claims court just to get a note put of his credit bureau. Now he was really mad.

The next visit to his office was by my wife and daughter. That night she tells me she was in and out of the Doctor’s office within a half  hour. I thought maybe we were in for some positive changes. On my next visit to the Doctor’s office, I get called in ahead of some people that had been there for some time. We deal with my medical issue with no mention of our telephone conversation and I am out of the office within 1/2 hour total. The short version is we never talked about that infamous call and from then on my family and I never waited more than 1 hour tops ever again. We did feel bad we were seen ahead of other people but it suited our needs at the time.

To be fair, I have to admit to having tried similar approaches with utility companies and two Hospitals however the results were not as positive.

Note: This same Doctor many years later was investigated by the Provincial Government

for excess billings.

Read the full article 0 Comments


27 July 2021 Categories: Gerry's Corner

I have 2 stories to share but before I begin, I want it to be clear that I am NOT sharing these stories as recommendations but purely for humorous reading. These actions that I took in response to some unpleasant experiences felt like the right thing to do at the time. Both these incidents happened more than 40 years ago.

I was working onsite at a client. This particular day when I arrived at work the client gave me a cheque for my last invoice. Being on a tight family budget, I decided to go to the bank to deposit my cheque during my lunch hour. I arrived at the bank and it seemed like everyone decided to go to the bank at the same time. These were the days before ATMs. Now I have to stand in a serpentine line of app. 20 people with only 2 tellers working because the other tellers were at lunch as well. I waited in line for 45 minutes to complete a 2 minute transaction. Even though I was a Business client with the bank, I was not allowed to go to the Business teller because my Business was too small, in other words I did not deposit many cheques, cash and coins. When I finished at the bank, I did not have time to grab any lunch because I had a meeting to attend at 1:00 pm. I forfeited my lunch and was on time for the meeting. It bothered me tremendously that I had to stand in line so long and miss my lunch. I was thinking, I give my money to the bank to keepsake it for me, they in turn give me no interest but yet the bank makes money on my money. I thought the bank should be in line for me instead of the reverse; afterall they were going to gain the most from this transaction. That night I could not get this situation out of my mind. Then I put my Buusiness hat on and thought time is money therefore the bank cost me money for waiting so long in line. I decided in a fury to send the bank an invoice for my waiting time that day. I prepared an invoice, addressed it to the Bank Manager and mailed it. What have I got to lose? Two weeks later I get a call from the Bank Manager asking me if I had made any arrangements with any of his staff members for work that was covered by my invoice. I replied no and explained that I was charging him for my lost time being in a line up so long to deposit a cheque. Of course he advised me that he had to talk to Head Office about this but he did not think they would allow him to pay my invoice.  So I replied like a typical CEO ”  Well you will be talking to my Lawyer ”  Two more weeks go by and I heard nothing further from the bank so I sent him another invoice plus interest for past due payment. I received another cheque from my client and off I go to the bank to deposit it. I really don’t recall if it was at lunch time but again I was in line a longer time than acceptable. I get to the teller and as soon  as she seen my name on the cheque, she moves aside and whispers something in the ear of the teller next to her. That teller leaves and talks to another person and that person literally runs to the back offices. You would think that I had just presented a note to the teller saying :”  This is a robbery ”  The teller very slowly continued to process my cheque then a short and stocky gentleman comes from the back offices straightening his tie and suit coat. This gentleman comes to where I was standing and says : ” Oh, you are _____”? Then says ” I am ____ the Bank Manager, could I see you at the other counter, please “. I went to the counter and met the Manager. He starts explaining to me that since I had sent my invoice that he had conducted an investigation and found that I was treated unfairly. He had found that I was a Business customer in very good standing and that I should never have been in line with the retail customers. I explained to him that I was rejected by the Business teller more than once and that the Business line was strictly for large Business clients like stores. He then told me that I would never be rejected as a Business customer again. I thanked him and told him to forget about the invoice I had sent him.

The real funny part is the next time I went to the bank everyone knew me, even greeting me by name. I was now a somebody. When I went to the Business teller I found I could do my retail banking ( personal accounts, kids accounts, etc. ) as well. For the time I dealt with that bank branch I never had to stand in line again. Read my next blog for the second story on a similar subject.

Read the full article 0 Comments

Tone of Voice

26 July 2021 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is another complaint or observation on today’s Technology. I truly believe that we are losing something very valuable and important in communications by relying more and more on Electronics. Text messaging and the likes is not the same as talking to the person. You lose the most important element which is the tone of voice. Even voicemail does not do justice compared to the real person. You say a phrase 10 times in various tones and you can convey 10 different meanings. Take the important phrase   “ I love you “ One tone could convey words only yet with another tone give a warm feeling to the person we are saying it to. Electronics have not evolved to that degree. Reading a sentence or message does not give you the real meaning of the message or the opportunity to ask for clarification. In relationships this could mean the difference between strengthening a relationship or breaking up. The communications between child/adolescent and parent and vice versa is critical to get it right the first time.

In Business this could mean the difference between getting a sale orlosing sale. Here is a case in point. I have been looking for an item that is difficult to find. I wanted to find it locally so I could see it before buying. An Internet purchase was out of the question. I very seldom buy on the Internet anyway. I started calling certain specialty stores to find out if they carried this particular item. I called this one store and was lucky enough to have the owner answer the phone. I asked about the item and she genuinely felt bad that she did not have this product or related products. She proceeded to ask me if I tried this store and other stores. Her tone of voice was conveying a deep concern that she disappointed a customer or potential customer. I thanked her and she wished me not only to have a good day but also success with my search to find this item. I got off the phone with her, paused and thought about our conversation then said to myself   “ She was so genuine, polite and accommodating I feel great about this conversation. I think, I will visit her store, thank her in person and see what is in her store.” Had she been rushed, rude or just have a colder tone of voice then I would never visit her store.

Years ago some companies trained people for face to face service like Banks or for telephone service and support. Their training in part was to skill practice while looking in a mirror. The concept was relatively simple: Would you buy from this person in the mirror? Would you want to talk to this person who is not smiling in the mirror? “

In Business and personal life take the time to talk to people and mind your tone of voice rather than electronically communicate, it will always serve you better. No one minds talking to a happy voice. No one can get mad at a happy voice. Use your happy voice and have yourself a great day.

Read the full article 0 Comments