Prius Man

Jealous of the 2020 model, Prius Man says “Don’t get one of those, apparently they’ve had to recall a few because there’s no space in the centre console for your Fitbit.”

Today I pulled into a service station to get my petrol, in a tidy and timely manner.

I always like to pull up to the side of the pumps adjacent to my filler. The times I have tried to stretch the pump over the top of the car, then somehow twist the handle sideways so it will only just reach the hole, and only the end of the nozzle will go in ⁠— no thanks. Life is awkward enough as it is.

Today, I waited for the person in front of me to finish up pumping his gas and then proceed to the payment area, and leave to get on with his life.

Sadly, he did not. Instead, he looked around at me, sitting there patiently, and walked to the front of his car and put the bonnet up.

I should have known.

He was driving a Prius, and was wearing a pair of knit material shorts, a t-shirt, trainers and the expression of entitlement.

Perhaps he’d “knocked off” for the weekend; it was 2.30 on a Friday after all. He’d probably finished up for the day with a few terse emails to his PA, putting his out-of-office reply on; “on my return to the office on Monday I will be deleting any new emails, if it’s really important, email me Monday”, and tearing a couple of employees a new one.

I watched him intently as he fussed around under the bonnet, then moved around to the hatch of the car, lifting the wheel-well cover, reaching in to get some sort of anally-retentive screwdriver set.

Who knew what he was doing, perhaps he was going to do some kind of super-charger conversion, all the while a line of cars snaked out of the station and onto the footpath.

Soon, he was back under the bonnet again, tinkering around. The gas had long finished and the pump sat flaccidly in the tank.

Presently, he emerged again and it looked promising that he might actually leave, but instead he strode purposefully into the shop, all the while looking around at the growing queue and smugly thinking that we all could just damn well wait, who were we anyway, with our relatively simple needs and goals.

Back he came with a litre of engine oil ⁠— he’d probably paid twice what he should have ⁠— but this did not once faze him in his determination to waste the lives of at least four other humans, who had now sunk into the pit of despair and turned their engines off.

What became of Prius Man? I’m sad that I’ll never know because I duly reversed as soon as a free pump came up and gapped it the fuck out of there.

I filled my tank, which took a matter of a couple of minutes and I was pleasant to the staff member at the counter: “Thank you, no, I don’t wish to buy three Moro bars or swipe my Mobil Surprises (or whatever) loyalty card.”

As I left the shop, Prius Man was red-faced and huffy, wrestling with life and the cards he’d been dealt; a steady high-paid job for life, an economy company car, and overall access to virtually any space on the planet without question, and got into my car and drove away.

I imagine he’ll be home now, watching his power meter monitor installed on his laptop and fiddling around with some new speakers for the Smart TV.

Go well Prius Man, I certainly hope that bonnet hinge didn’t malfunction and crash down on your head at any stage.

Home Improvement, Boomer Styles

I was doing a bit of a tidy up today and I came across some pictures of one of the houses in which we grew up.

This was the second house mum and dad owned. It was the one before “the dream home”. It was also 1975.

The concrete path was really something

It was your basic “L” shape, north-facing, with a reasonable backyard, incredibly rowdy neighbours on one side, and a family from Liverpool on the other, owners of a horse called Mandy.

Out the front was a bit of section that was crying out for planted perennials, perhaps a few silver birch trees and lots and lots of phormium tenax surrounded by bark.

The first thing my parents always did when they got a new house was dig a vegetable garden and plant unfeasible amounts of things we hated like silverbeet, lettuce and courgettes. Subsequently, dad would begin his vanity project, a brick, chimneyed, barbeque. It was like the family temple. The cement would be mixed up on the garage floor, much to mum’s horror.

Once the exterior had been planted by what looked like every type of flora available to humanity, dad would turn his attention to the interior.

For a guy who worked as a shearer for many years before he entered the police, dad seemed to also fancy himself as some kind of interior “redesigner”.

Bearing in mind that in those days, you could (on a Sunday night) down a few flagons of DB Brown and suddenly be struck with inspiration after watching Stars On Sunday to begin a full kitchen fit-out.

I remember getting up in the night once and dad was in the bathroom grouting and tiling around the bathtub.

Another time he fancied that we needed an arch to connect the dining room and lounge. Previously, there had been a pair of iconic sliding doors which could easily have been “left open” to provide that sense of flow.

The finished product was basically triumphal, and dad walked through, emperor-styles, hold a frosty tankard of beer, proudly examining every inch of his asbestos craftsmanship.

But the pièce de résistance was yet to come. The hallway seemed so boring, with its straight lines and front door, and rooms off the side such as the “toilet” and “bathroom”.

It wasn’t long before one hall wall was tiled. With large mirror tiles, the likes of which are seen in discotheques and actual bathrooms.

With a maidenhair fern potted in a brass urn, atop a slate pedestal in front, the whole thing become quite trippy and I wondered: what was coming next?

What came next was a major surprise.

There we kids were, sitting at the dining table one night, eating casserole, and in came dad, fresh from work.

That night was a game changer. Dad went over to the Bell ™ system record player, turned it on, and gently placed the record under the stylus. We were disappointed to hear yet another classical album being forced on us. We munched on our parsnips quietly until…

Yes, it turned out dad had ‘totally pranked’ us by in fact buying the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever and playing Walter Murphy’s A Fifth of Beethoven, which not only sampled Beethoven’s Fifth but was also an hilarious pun about liquor.

You couldn’t really get more seventies than that and we were soon playing pretend drums on our Belle Fiore dinner plates with our bone-handled knives and forks, in unison.

Over the fence, Mandy the horse neighed happily and our party neighbours spun another round of Joe Dolce’s Shaddup You Face.

Dad would duly phone noise control later, but it was all good; it was 1981 now and time to buy “the dream home” which is where the interior designs hit some kind of new high, or low.

The School Holidays

The school holidays are coming to a close, and parents everywhere are already drunk with excitement at the thought of little Tarquin and Bella returning to school, after school care, and out of sight quite frankly.

The holidays always start out well-intentioned.

I myself always have a long list of things we’re going to do, everything from learning to surf, right down to abseiling the Sky Tower with my three kids strapped to my back, while learning to make sushi.

But the reality is, that you tend to run out of spare money on the second day (Sunday) and so you just grant the kids an extra nine hours’ screen time…

that’s great Big T, I love that you’re on Mathletics like this, good choices, boy

What an absolute joke; you know full well he’s spent the last five hours watching a group of 15 year olds swallow chicken eggs whole, shell and all, then go to the ED to get X-rayed to see if the whole egg is still intact. It’s the whole reason you became a parent.

By the Friday of the first week, you’ve done precisely nothing of significance with them. You scroll through the endless Facebook posts of families who are hiking in South America somewhere, cooking flax over a gas stove so that the kids can weave school satchels for local school kids, and you look around your own house which is strewn with bedraggled children who had an ice block for breakfast and now have literal rectangular eyes.

You make a mental note to ring up the bank on Monday to download off the mortgage to get plastic surgery on the eyes before school starts again, but then you forget because suddenly there’s three different public holidays embedded within the school holidays and you need to quickly buy eight metric tonnes of chocolate and also book dental surgery instead of eye surgery.

Suddenly it’s the end of the second week, and the hellscape of your home includes new Lego that you couldn’t really afford and two-week-old lunches still sitting in school bags that you won’t know about until Sunday night.

Inside the boxes is detritus that can no longer be identified, but you know in your heart that as the lunch was made on the last Friday of term, it’ll be pretty well-preserved: Twisties, the empty suckie foil and half a muffin, so full of sugar, that it will still be around in a landfill until 2079.

All up it’s been a success in that you didn’t end up in triage or blow out the broadband. Or maybe you did but what’s another $500 on the Spark bill?

Monday of term two rolls around and after you’ve had to quickly sew a makeshift uniform for one child since the original is lost forever, you silently, smugly pull up to the curb outside school, your petrol gauge on empty, and one by one they alight.

We’ll miss you so much, mum

Then smugly, knowing you’ve gotten away with the most disorganised bit of chaos ever, you stop by the coffee place and neck precisely five double-shot flat whites, then head home with a mini-digger on the top of your people mover to help clean the lounge.

Hi, my name is Tarquin. I don’t watch Game of Thrones.

Scene:  A typical white middle class drink-up.  It’s late.  People are barefoot and sitting on the floor.

Jonathan:  (pouring a large bowl of Pinot Noir)

So, is everyone ready for Game of Thrones?


Oh yes. It’s amazing.

And people break off into small private conversations about other shows they are currently watching featuring home bakes, gun battles and guys with wires. These folk live in Meadowbank, Auckland. They drive a large Skoda to work and attend the Catholic Church just next to Countdown.

But there is one, just one human here who is different.  He is quiet. He is measured. His drink of choice is a Tiger beer straight from the bottle. He’s been listening, silently necking 25 standard drinks in the face of this gathering. Out of nowhere, he says:

I’ve never watched it.

You could slice through the indignation with one of the swords of Visenya Targaryen or whoever.

Jonathan rises, calmly resting his booze on the occasional table, made from blonde wood ethically sourced from Freedom.

What did you say, Tarquin?

Tarquin shrugs.

I dunno, I watched one episode and small kids were being murdered and there was rape in bulk format.

Jonathan is incensed.

He pulls out a small handgun and slowly orientates it sideways.  The people in the room are beautifully turned to tilt shift miniatures.  The glow of the room is stunning as Jonathan’s sweaty trigger finger becomes the focus.  Ex-members of Linkin Park are brought in to create an overproduced soundtrack—like listening to music while having your eardrums dewaxed.

The kind of occasional table you might find in this situation.

The kind of occasional table you might find in this situation.

Tarquin squints his eyes, tears seeping like broken guttering.  He shakes his head.

You won’t Jonathan.  You can’t.  You’re just like me.  All of you.  Just like me!

Helen, still in miniature tilt shot form, is seen stirring in the background.  Suddenly she looms at Jonathan and knocks the cocked piece from his hand.  It slides over the floor, ricocheting off the Ottoman and into the feature wall, discharging its magazine into the Smeg brushed aluminium dishwasher. One bullet lodges itself into the bottom independent dish drawer. The other, in slow motion, redirects to Tarquin’s thigh. He screams like some kind of wounded extra from The Wire.

Oh well.  That’s the price you pay. It’s only $10 a month.

says Jonathan in a cruel voice, one he would normally use when turning a client down for finance.

He sits down in his special large leather chair, the one no-one, not even the kids are allowed to sit in. He fingers his vast glass receptacle of red wine, and watches Tarquin squeal and cry on the Cavalier Bremworth “Cromwell Autumn” carpet.

The room is back in normal focus. The guests return to sit in small groups. Nora Jones is now the background music. Jonathan places his index finger on the Sky menu button and selects SoHo>Game of Thrones>Series Link.

The room is silent, except for the screams of little Tarquin.


Ciaran waiting for his MySky to warm up.

The Mobile Drape Ladies

Today on my errands, I happened upon a pair of mobile drape ladies, one of the most terrifying archetypes in human existence.

Mobile drape ladies are a pair of ladies that travel in a Spotlight-branded van. They park up outside a house during daylight hours and their mission is to measure your window fixtures and frames, then go away and sew the custom-made drapes.

On the surface, it’s pretty innocuous. What could go wrong?

They enter your house. They are no-nonsense women who survived the ’50s ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and most importantly, now. They are called Margaret and Sheryl. Margaret has a plume of coloured bright red spiky hair which she gets set once a week by her daughter, Sandra.

Sandra has three or four small dogs or guinea pigs, or perhaps they are actually cats.

Meanwhile, back on the mean streets, Marg and Sheryl are whipping out the tape measures and tut-tutting at the net curtains.

Who hung these? They’re bloody terrible Marg.

Incensed, she rips down the set and swishes it into a ball, all the while making a series of huffing sounds.

Soon, they break into easy banter. Marg is doing a fish pie for tea tonight, and Sheryl is going to watch Married At First Sight Australia. Husband Don is off at the Dennis Marsh gig.

Sheryl’s son is getting remarried. Sheryl tells Marg she doesn’t trust his new bride.

She’s older than him by two years. Has three children. From a previous de facto. They weren’t married. Those poor children. (more audible huffing and general resentment.)

They’re almost done. The windows will require a robust, lined drape made with the kind of precision only seen elsewhere in either brain surgery or microblading.

The ladies board the drape-bus and give it a good rev, before heading back to drape-base.

Sure, enough, within possibly a nano-second, the drapes are ready and dispatched. One time Marg made up a pair blindfolded, to the delight of her colleagues.

If you ever want to truly terrify a mortal enemy, dispatch a pair of mobile drape ladies immediately.

Do You Ever Feel Like A Plastic Bag?

A person with colour-coded bags is a person who will never forget their bags

Never before have I felt more like a plastic bag.

I feel I want a plastic bag every time I enter the supermarket now, and see the signs everywhere, screaming


I imagine it’s being said in a chipper yet patronising voice.

By the time you’ve spotted the sign, you’re already halfway through the turnstiles and there’s a queue of people behind you. Other times, you’ve managed to turn around and fight the unnatural spikes out of the way, and traipse what seems like 1500 metres back to the car to get the bags.

You know there’s bags you can buy here, though, as you absent-mindlessly grab a basket, even though (given you’ve forgotten the bags) you’re a no-list graze-shopper who at some point will have to go back through the turnstile and get a trolley.

And off you go into a wonderland of plastic-covered everything, and you wonder at what point in civilisation did everything become about…plastic?  We’re doomed with it and without it and you are absolutely doomed if you turn up to Pak’nSave on a day where they’ve run out of saleable plastic bags.

I was there yesterday. A young couple, wide-eyed with innocence and the anticipation of being able to bag-up their 2000 metric tonnes of groceries, were met with the concrete wall of

“We’re out of bags.”

They stood there, bereft, silent. There was nothing to say. It was like death. There was nothing to negotiate, try as you might.

“But the groceries.”

said one of them. The cashier just stared, we all stared at the empty hooks where the bags should be. Certainly there were boxes, but at a time like this, boxes may as well be your own hands.

The devastation and enormity of the situation was so great, I thought of offering up my small alms of four plastic bags, recently purchased at Countdown because I’d forgotten them that day, but not today I hadn’t.

The Countdown plastic bags were so notoriously good, one day I overheard a lady ask for lots of them because they made amazing bin liners.

But back to our couple.

Off they went, slowly past the checkout area towards the sliding doors, to what fate we’ll never truly know. An archway of flames awaited them in the car park and they walked into the incendiary tunnel.

Locusts swarmed overhead as storm clouds gathered just above the bit where you can get the cheap fuel.

I imagined them picking up one or two items and putting them in the boot without bags, then having to get some bags from the house at the other end and bag up the groceries but in their own driveway like some sort of reverse weird torture ritual.

Every time I have a human interaction from now on, I’m going to say “Remember Your Bags”.

“Hi mum, I need a shower.”

 “Remember your bags.”

 “Hi, it’s Jason from Fisher Funds here. Have you                                 thought about changing your KiwiSaver plan?”

“I haven’t got time because I need to remember my bags.”

“What’s for dinner?”



A typical confused Internet Warrior offsetting negative ions with a peace lily


Sadly, this is not about that great The Smiths song, it’s about something we don’t talk about enough in society: Computer Illiteracy in the Third Age.

More than ever, the elderly (people over the age of 48) are turning to their computer machines to use applications such as the ASK toolbar, Yahoo as a search engine, and to unwittingly download the full version of AVG because it offers full protection from hackers, who are young men who wear hoodies and gloves while hacking in the dark while no-one else is looking.

Hackers always dress this way, it’s very common and even though they are alone in a room probably, wear masks and hoodies and also drink V

Print this out and give it to someone you love, someone who is wrestling with the Internet. I’ll increase the font to the largest that this here WordPress will allow.

1. Check you aren’t just writing a private message to a family member in your own status bar

2. Stop installing the ASK toolbar. Once you have it, you can never get rid of it. Well, you can but I’ll have to do it next time I’m over

3. You can take a screenshot of your screen without using your phone

4. You do not need to switch the entire computer off every time you have finished using it

5. When Microsoft ring to talk about the breach of security on your computer, remember you have an “iPad” which is from a different company. It’s ok to not have a long conversation with someone who is scamming you. They won’t think you are not being polite. The Bridge group will not find out

6. Yahoo is now sponsored by Rich Dad. I know you like this idea but everything you type into the search area will lead you to Rich Dad

7. You can watch a YouTube clip of Nigel Kennedy for free, with the notes he’s playing at the bottom of the screen while you have a New World Graham Norton sav

8. I see you have put some favourites on your toolbar. I did not know you knew how to do that. I see you have Quotable Value, your local council and EzyBuy there.

Great New Zealand Archetypes: Extremely Extreme Sports Dad

The Everyman idea is a fallacy.

The guy who refers to himself as “just a regular dad” is, in fact, Extremely Extreme Sports Dad, oft spotted doing the school run.

He can do it because he’s his own boss. He heads up a consultancy firm that specialises in oblique business messaging. He comes and he goes. You never really know what he actually does, but on pay day, an earth mover arrives and dumps an unfeasible amount of cash into the back pocket of his jean shorts.

To add insult to injury, Extremely Extreme Sports Dad rocks up to the school run in his Extreme Sport clothes. That’s how we know what he’s into.

Clima-dri™weaves cover his body as if he’s about to do the London–Dakar, but Olympic-walking it.

He also runs. How do we know? He’s always got a strapped thigh.  He bikes. He’s got a ten-speed. Or is it a twelve-speed? Old school.

Extremely Extreme Sports Dad’s real name is probably Jonathan or Graham. He went to Auckland Grammar, where he was Extreme Head Boy.

He’s got a soft side. He’s got daughters. He knows all about how long the women take to get ready. And that’s about all he knows.

He’s 6 foot five, taller than anyone else.  The children gather around him after school as he stops to have an Extremely Important chat with another budding alpha male called Lachie. Who will win the conversation is anyone’s guess, but Jonathan is a disrupter in the consultancy world, and Lachie is afraid.

On Saturday, he’s on the football sideline, egging on his sons into a world of Extreme Sporting. Then they’re off, into the ten-seater with someone else’s kids too, for a Big Saturday.

Later that night, Juliette and Rog are coming around for relaxing drinks and nibbles. The group will sprawl out onto the deck while Extremely Extreme Sports dad demonstrates his new drone.

And it’s over, another packed day. Soon it’s Monday again, time to do the school run, this time in a land yacht.

Coronation Street’s Deep Thinker: Tim Metcalfe



Tim Metcalfe is a hapless Englishman, stuck in the middle of others’ drama, in a suburb called Weatherfield.

If you thought Steve MacDonald or Peter Barlow had fairly hard existences, think again.


Tim entered the show in 2013 as the birth father of Faye Windass, who is the adoptive daughter of Anna and Eddie Windass.

Yes. Windass.

Initially he bonded with Faye, and became Preferred Parent, mainly because he had no ostensible rules or skills, and Faye could break free from Anna’s earnest, caring and loving parenting style for a bit.

To facilitate this, Faye cooked up a cracker storyline about how Anna was an unfit parent, with a view to going to live with hapless party Tim.

Initially it worked, with Faye happily moving in with Tim, and within two days he’d left her home alone, and by the Friday she’d only eaten toast for three days straight.

Poor Tim, we thought, it was a big step, and good on him for having that frosty pint at the Rovers all day.

It was as if he had loser stamped all over his shaven pate, and then along came …

Web of Doom

Sally Webster.

And if he thought life was a bit confusing and unfair up until that point, he hadn’t seen anything yet.

For Sally breaketh the balls, slowly and surely, and Tim was no Kevin Webster.

He was jobless, and once the bogus allegations about Anna were proven to be fake, and party time had come to a grinding halt, Tim, without even a ladder like Graeme Proctor with which to start a climbing empire, nor a brass razoo to rub against another, craved a powerful career.


But with a bit of gentle fishwifery from Sal, he built a window washing empire from the ground up, and could reach the dizzying heights of success across the many windows of the Street; even Norris might put his hellish judgemental baby-boomer seal of semi-approval on it.

And Tim just sits through it all, eyebrows cocked in bemusement and sometimes bewilderment at the machinations of the partial humans falling apart around him.


He is Everyman, the bystander in his own life, the observer.

Most of the characters need affairs, whiskey, a light murder here and there to distract from the gutter boredom of Weatherfield.

Tim needs only a pint of Double Diamond and a space in which to stare ahead, one thousand yards.

He is the greatest character on the show, of this era.


I’m white and 45.

When I was 25, I used to look at those birthday cards in the supermarket. The ones with ‘Naughty 40’ and ‘Nifty 50’. The card-makers would run out of ideas for the 60 year olds and just put on a gran-type figure on a walker, hastily making her way toward a Speedoed lifeguard.

Naughty 40 (to me) looked like a shocker of a place to be. It looked desperate. It was as if the brainstorming team at Hallmark were trying to make something good of it.

So, you’re 40. Boom, boom. Woof. You sexy old thing. Cor. I bet you’re a dirty, sexed up old 40 year old aren’t you. You can’t get enough.

And then you get to 40 yourself, and then to 45—which is nearly 50—and you are there. You are the person they refer to on the cards.

But what are you?

You are a lot of things. You are the same annoying Smiths-loving, wine-drinking lush you were in your 20s. Except you are now even more insufferable.

You now know every Smiths and Radiohead lyric. You argue on Twitter daily. You post your herb garden on Facebook and over on instagram, images of your prune tea beverage.

However, you notice that the only things that have really changed are that you do most of your Smiths-drinking at home because invariably, you have children or needy dogs or cats, or a full Netflix watchlist, and there’s really very few chances to get out and anyway, half the time you just can’t be fucked.

How do you spend your time? Here’s a short list:

1. You start to talk about politics, almost daily


A typical group of women talking about politics

Your brain is less addled with cheap Rheinecks, so you can think deeper, and your arts degree has made you a critical thinker.

2. You try to avoid looking old

Twitter handle: @kstew70

How many sad, 45-year-old women are there walking around with Hollister hoodies on, trying to be funny on Twitter. Be warned.

3. You are curious

Curious at its absolute worst

You really want to know everything and you find that the more you know, the less you know. You want to do everything, which is why every single night class and university is crammed with 40-somethings learning Dutch and trying to make polenta smoothies, blindfolded. In the dark.

4. SoHo

Neither of these two guys should drink beer.

Neither of these two guys should drink

You are not 45 unless you are glued to SoHo, living out your last days vicariously watching bad, violent medieval scenarios and then stroking your talking fridge—or your FitBit—and sipping your Sam Neill Pinot Noir and thinking, “I wonder if I should @ Sam Neill right now with an image of my own hand cradling Sam Neill’s wine?”

5.  You actually made a comment about Richie and Gemma’s baby

Be it “leave them alone” or “haha anyone can procreate”, you still went there.


What are your thoughts on being in your mid-to-late 40s? Are you listening to more Anderson Paak than ever? Do you try to hide your age by calling everyone bae?

Mothers without mothers


My mother’s mother died when mum was 15.

Mum cannot remember a time when her own mother wasn’t sick. Back in the 50s, people who needed long-term care were shunted from place to place. At one stage her mother was cared for in a geriatric hospital even though she was only in her late 40s.

She had hypertensive issues and became bedridden. My mother recalls a time when they needed to care for her at home. Mum was in the forth form then, at Hutt Valley High School. She loved basketball and had taught herself how to flick-flack, and to do the splits. She was probably quite a confident girl. School was everything for mum; she wanted to become either a pharmacist or a concert pianist.

All of the money and effort was, however, put into her brother, who was lined up for medical school.

Once her own mother came home to die, mum was taken out of school to look after her. The other sisters were much older, with young children and those sorts of serious commitments.

Mum was 15. She recalls standing on a chair to look out a high window with a view towards the school field, filled with uniformed and hormonal teenagers, getting on with their lives, unaware of the girl left behind to be at her mother’s bedside.

No teenager wants this, no matter how much they love a parent. Kids are kids—they are supposed to be selfish. It doesn’t last anyway; pretty soon the world has you in the grip of compliance.

It was much sooner for mum. Once her mother died, my own went out into the workforce to earn. She became a proficient typist and shorthand-taker in Wellington at a shipping company.

That was that. There was no ‘discussion circle’ or ‘family group conference’ about what should happen to my mother.

Mum’s life of ‘have to’ must have been overwhelming, but the other thing here—the intangible—is that she never knew what it was to be mothered. Fathered, certainly. But mothering?

She had to imagine and invent; and when she became a mother herself, she had no context from which to draw inspiration or just plain practical common sense.

I know of many motherless mums, and on this year’s Mother’s Day, I am thinking about them, and hope that the dead piece of heart can radiate, even just a little.

When Trades go bad

We’ve all had a bad experience or three on Trade Me.

It’s not the company per se, it’s the people who use it.  A bit like hand guns.

You’ve wrapped the six sets of Merino wool, never-worn socks.  The money has just gone in your account.  You decide to post the item right away, because you are magnanimous.  Your Trade Me handle is turntheothercheek2001, and you have one thousand successful trades to your name, all with positive feedback.

You post the item, and wait for weeks to receive the positive feedback you crave.

It never comes.

On another occasion, you are attempting to sell a car.  It’s straight as a die, and your thesis-length description covers the condition of every bolt, washer and that you have recently replaced every single car part.  As soon as you click the ‘Start Listing’ button, a barrage of questions ping into your inbox like bullets being fired into a tin bucket.

When does the WoF expire?

Has the cambelt been done?

I’ll give you $500 for it.

What’s wrong with it?

And, quiet as a mouse, you duly answer:

Thanks for the questions.  They are really well thought out, and I love the way they probe me.  As mentioned in the very first sentence of the description, the WoF has just been issued.  This car does not have a cambelt to begin with, so we’re alright there.  As specified in the description, I have requested no low-ball offers, or actually any offers, because it is an auction.  There is nothing wrong with it, I just want to upgrade to something a bit gruntier.  Thanks!  🙂 🙂 🙂  A+++++++ questions.

and soon after …

Can I pay you for it in a series of installments, of $20 a month?

and then the unthinkable …

$350.00      22 Nov      2:05 am       uselesslifeform(0)


Yes, despite your best efforts to shy the above-mentioned bidder away from your completely transparent trade, he’s put a drunken bid on it.

Hi again Mate.  I’ve put a bid on, not sure if I’m near the reserve?  What’s the reserve?

and …

Thanks for your ever-poignant line of questioning.  I don’t wish to reveal the reserve.  If I am honest, I’d like to get as much for the car as I can, not just reserve.  Thanks, happy bidding.

Then …

There’s heaps of these up at the moment, all going for $1500 or less, it’s not the only one, so you might find you are the one who looses (sic) out.

so …

Thanks for that.  A cursory look at your feedback shows a person who has never actually completed a trade, although there’s been many attempts by people to get you to.  Are you sure you want to be bidding on this item?

resulting in …

So you a stalker now too Mate?  Bad look, remove my bid loser, there’s heaps of Toyota Corolla GLs on, gonna go get a really good one, not this piece of crap.

Think once, think twice, think “why the fuck am I doing this?”


The Worst Ad In New Zealand History


Look into my eyes, not around the eyes; into the eyes.


And the gong goes to…the Chanui ad.

I know I am about 6 months to a year behind here, but I was just sitting there tonight, watching the farce that is House Rules — you know, the one where the millionaire gentry are posing as first homeowners (cough) — and up it came.

The guy from the Chanui ad.

I’m immediately thinking “raised on a fundamentalist Christian commune for sure”, and all the people who jump in to support the brand look like colluders in a great mind-bending tea scandal.

But of course, it’s just tea.  Tea for the workman.  Tea for the housewife.  Tea for the lonely housewife.  Tea for the fucking business analyst.  A tea for each and every demographic and type of New Zealander.

If you hate the tea, you’ll get your money back.  But, who in their right mind would want to deal with these people to get $3.36 back?  You might never get your mind back, let alone your money.

Your money back and (or) be drawn into the dark recesses of the proprietor’s madness.

Those eyes.  He searches your every mental crevice for weakness.  You know you want the tea.  You’re thirsty.  You need a good strong breakfast tea before hitting the building sites of the infill housing boom.  He knows, and you know.

From the company website, people are SAYING THINGS about the tea.

Jason, from Palmerston North, doesn’t usually like the sharpness of green tea.  But Chanui is different.  It treats his palate gently.  Gently stroking it, with overtones of honey and eroticism.

Even Kerry from Auckland — who was a dyed-in-the-wool Dilmah girl — has made the switch.  The switch of her life.  To Chanui, with a 100% money back guarantee.

Listening to this advertisement, and the selection of words in the script, makes me feel like I don’t need a cup of tea — I need a prescription for booze to ease my unease after seeing these unhinged people talk about tea as if it’s some kind of holy grail — of tea.

This advertisement is only rivaled by one other:  for wool insulation under the guise of a company called Earth Wool.

Earth Wool?   That sounds strangely similar to ‘toe jam.’

A man and wife duo shift large phallic objects around and into a very plain dwelling, while a rock tune that’s somewhere between Keith Urban and John ‘Man in Motion’ Parr drowns out any dialogue.  It doesn’t matter anyway because there’s subtitles.  Misspelled subtitles.


I love recylced things. Recylcing. The way of the futrue.

And most perplexing of all — the product is pixelated, making it one of the most unintentionally funny advertisements in the history of humanity.

There is nothing more comic than a dude walking toward a woman, with a bit fat pixelated cylinder.


A pixelated cylinder.

These two advertisements have one thing in common: the man who runs the store has made the ad; and it shows.

Congratulations on winning the Golden Chanui, for Worst Possible Advertising, and the Earth Wool Chalice for labyrinthine weirdness.