Tuesday, September 2nd12.8°C
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John Thomson

John Thomson's I Didn't Know That!

I don’t know what you do to remind yourself of things that need to be looked into, but I write myself notes. I have pads in the car, my bedroom and the TV room. All these yellow pages with things scribbled on them. Some, especially the nighttime ones, are sometimes hard to decipher. So, I went through them on Sunday afternoon while watching the golf and decided these are the questions I most want to find the answers to:

1.  What happened to all those refugees that showed up in the waters off B.C.? I believe there was 481 and that 11 have been sent back to their homeland. Where have the others gone? What did all their legal fees cost? Who paid the bill?  Why are these questions never asked?

I don’t like the back door process or jumping the line but I also know in this troubled world it doesn’t all happen according to the rules. That particular rusted old tub charges these people to take them to Canada. Did anyone ever go to jail for that? 

Maybe we don’t want to know!

2.  While I was sitting there watching golf I saw a news bulletin stating that storm Isaac had hit Haiti. There are still almost 500 families in Haiti that are living in makeshift tents. Has anyone officially ever asked where all the money has gone that was raised for Haitian people? Millions and millions of dollars for new homes and better living conditions. Bill Clinton was involved, surely he wants to know the facts.

3.  Have any of the charities that raised so much money during the Kelowna fires in 2003 ever disclosed the amount that came in and how it was spent? Is the money still sitting in a bank account? Was it used for something else?

4.  When the fire broke out in the oil refinery in Venezuela on the weekend before the TV announcer could finish the story, gasoline prices in North America were already increasing. We know there is a surplus of oil at the moment, but with the fire and the storm get ready for some new pricing. Maybe it will hit $1.50 a litre this summer.

I received an e-mail from one of my readers with a list of gasoline prices around the province and you don’t realize until you see such a list that they vary everywhere.  With the help of some people  I was able to start asking why certain areas of the province have such different prices. Golden was even less than our prices.

I received information back from the island that the Costco low prices affected the prices across the island. We have three main players in this low price picture with SuperStore, Safeway and Costco all taking part.  We’ll have to wait now to see the outcome of these latest glitches in the oil business. 

Every e-mail I get on the subject thinks we’re being ripped off in the Okanagan but big oil companies can do what they want and they will!

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Target Canada is growing and at the moment has just fewer than five hundred people working in their Mississauga, Ont. headquarters.  That number will grow to just under 700 when the stores begin to open in 2013. These are new buildings and of course designed with green in mind.

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Weekend Global BC anchor Robin Stickley is leaving Burnaby and heading for Washington DC. She'll be replacing White Rock's own Paul Johnson as a correspondent for Global National. Paul is in the process of setting up shop as Global National Bureau Chief in Beijing. His move from Washington follows the departure of Patrick Brown.

Robin has been with Global BC since January 2004 when she moved over from sister station Global Edmonton where she co-hosted the morning news.

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I don't know if you have ever been in a Boston Market Restaurant in the U.S. but it is a chain with 476 locations,  one of which is in Palm Springs. They sell dinners for you to take home such as rotisserie chicken, meat loaf, macaroni & cheese and mashed potatoes, all with too much salt. So the owner has stated they are about to get rid of 50% of the salt content in their three main dishes. Now that takes a lot of planning. The company will also take the salt shakers off the tables. Finally somebody has the right thinking on this. I know it was a tough decision.

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Mike Weir, Canadian PGA pro who has won eight major tournaments in his pro career, including the coveted Masters green jacket, talked to the some of the media last week. He says he is going to play the tour next season from start to finish.

Weir has had a traumatic time between the Masters and today with nagging health and injury problems.

His home is in Utah but I have a feeling he may end up as a resident of this part of the world. He produces a line of Mike Weir wines that have been popular and he could certainly do that here.

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The top franchises in B.C. ranked by the number of B.C locations they have:

  1. Subway                                        
  2. Tim Hortons                                 
  3. McDonald’s                               
  4. A&W                           
  5. Dairy Queen                        
  6. Pharmasave Drugs
  7. ReMax Western Canada
  8. White Spot
  9. Royal LePage
  10. Quizno's

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When the deal was completed for the Zellers stores across the country, it was all because Target Canada wanted to develop their own Canadian chain and they had more stores than they would need to accomplish their plan.

Then Walmart came into the picture and there was an offer for thirty-nine stores and that was accepted by Target. What is interesting about this story is that Walmart opened their first ex-Zellers store in Newmarket, Ont. this past week. This store is one of 73 projects on the drawing board.  Included in this list are the 39 former Zellers stores.

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It wasn’t that long ago that Howard Shultz, the founder of Starbucks, was one of the speakers at one of my business conferences. I always remember this story he told.

In the beginning he owned three coffee houses in Seattle and he hadn’t yet had the vision of Starbucks. He went off to Italy for a holiday with his wife and he noticed the coffee houses in Italy. There were people sitting around talking and reading the papers. It was a happy crowd.

Shultz called associates in Seattle and asked them to come to Italy so they could see first hand what he was talking about. They came and experienced the situation. They were not impressed and said the idea wouldn’t work in the U.S.

Shullt didn’t take the advice as you know, and now there are 20,000 Starbucks locations in the world.

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Do something nice today.  It adds up.



Read more John Thomson articles

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About the Author

John Thomson is the Okanagan's pre-eminent business columnist writing his column, Rumours and Things, for over 24 years. Plugged in to the valley's who's who, John keeps his readers coming back for more with his straight talk and optimistic perspective on where we are headed next.

When John is not writing his column, he runs a sixteen year old think tank called the Executive Roundtable and holds his popular "Thomson Presents" quarterly business speaker seminars.

Have a comment, question, or tip for John? 

E-mail John at
[email protected]
or send him a fax at 250-764-8255.

 




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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