Apprenticeships for the unemployed

The future of Irish unemployment, or for that matter, unemployment anywhere, may involve re-establishing a medieval apprenticeship, where students, or other unemployed IT/Scientific/Technical workers live with those in the same industry who ARE working, and learn the business from them, as MASTERS of the craft.

Apprentice – A Medieval Guild Apprentice was sent to work for a ‘Master’ during his early teens. The Apprenticeship lasted between 5 and 9 years depending on the trade. During this time the apprentice received no wages – just his board, lodging and training. An Apprentice was not allowed to marry until he reached the status of a Journeyman.


While all of these requirements need not be followed, it might alleviate homeless students or other tradesmen.

Idiotic Small Business Shop behavior

I know there is a recession on, I really do. But there are things to do to cut costs, and there are things that you can do to cut your own throat, and you should never get them confused. I’ve seen a recent example of the later, under the guise of the former. Curry’s in the Ballincollig Shopping Center have chosen to close their shop on Tuesday and Wednesday’s of every week rather than pay salaries to idle staff!

In my past experience with the shop I have often observed 4 or more staff shuffling around their premises with little to occupy their time so cutting staff hours would make sense. But why not shift their hours so at least a fewer staff are on hand on Tuesday and Wednesday’s rather than close the store.

Closing the store is a permanent commitment to earning ZERO sales for two days out of the week. Shifting the worker schedule will not alter the saving earned from reduced staff salaries, while maintaing an open store. Closing for two days of each week will close ANY sale, and will put off ANY future sales from people who will go elsewhere to purchase items.

In other words Curry’s is cutting their own throat!

In this market there are two strategies that you can adopt, reduce costs, and increase customers. Funny, those are the same strategies that you have to employ ALL THE TIME! A recession only makes the urgency more poignant.

And on that point, let me call most Irish shops foolish. Think of a coffee shop or Pub that could offer free refills of simple coffee, how far will that go in earning customer returns and loyalty? Would a shop full of coffee drinkers be more inviting than an empty one? Could you maybe offer them a bit of cake to go with that refill?

What would be the benefit to the shopkeeper to stop charging for WiFi and offer it Free to customers who might like to use it with their coffee and scone? Wouldn’t it be nice to have your office have a meeting in that shop and use the WiFi to conference.

What makes to so hard for the average shop owner to shake themselves out of this ‘Celtic Tiger’, greedy take no prisoners behavior, and get back to being generous with quality customer treatment. (that last, wasn’t a question)

What simple difference could you make to the customer experience that would elevate you in their mind to choose your business over another? (that was a question)

Voting with your feet

It may be a bit premature to talk about the recovery from the recession but it’s not too early to take steps to initiate a decision about the culture and nature of the recovery from the recession. In my time in Ireland I marveled at the concept of the local shop in an estate, and the small shops in general and the culture of such an environment. Now the the incursion of the giant Dunn’s, and the discount Aldi’s and Lidl’s a decision can be made about the nature of the recovery.

Do you save yourself a bit of change and buy cheap, or spend it at the local shop? Do you want to keep that cultural icon of local shops and merchants alive, or support the mass market monster. The application of your food budget to supporting your local may tax us all, but could well to the means of survival for the little shop keeper. The same could be applied to your favorite small cafe or restaurant, voting with your feet may be your only option if you want to continue to visit them.

I’m not saying that it’s the ‘Patriotic’ duty to shop in the Republic, there has been entirely too much disparity allowed to creep in there. But if you have the change, maybe it’s best spent in the local shop, rather than the big chain store,

The Recession and Comfort food

I’m making a bold prediction that this Recession with bring on a resurgence of Comfort food in the Irish diet, and really the world. Many exotic restaurants will begin to feel the pinch long before the local carvery closes it’s doors. The question you could ask, can you still find proper Comfort food these days. I was reminded of this after the wife prepared a fine feast of Shepherd’s Pie and bread pudding.

WoW! A positive step to restore trust.

The Gardaí raid offices of Anglo Irish Bank in Dublin in the first positive step in restoring confidence in the Irish Government. It’s a shame that that it took almost violent public outcry from the people to stir action from the lame corrupt ministers. It’s also a shame that any incriminating evidence has probably been destroyed and disposed of.

The Belief in Economic Recovery.

Economics is as much of a Belief system as it is matter of math and relative perceived value exchange. And as such is subject to Self-fulfilling prophecy . If the belief is strong enough the value or a rock could be zero, of worth vast sums of currency. So also when a people believe in their leadership, and believe that they will fix the underling issues in the economy, almost by magic, the economy will turn around. The reciprocal is also true, when a majority loose faith in the economic plans of a government, nothing that government will do will generate a reversal of economic decline.

This is why the U.S. will recover from the world recession quicker than the Irish. A faith in the Obama plan far exceeds the faith that the Irish have in Brian Cowen and Fianna Fáil. At this stage nothing that Brian will do, can have any impact on the downturn in the Irish economy. The Banks will not get their reputations back, credit will not be extended, recovery will not happen. The faith of the Irish people must be regained. This can only happen if Brian makes drastic actions against the criminal intent of the banks, developers and regulators. Or else the government must be replace with one that does regain the faith of the Irish people. Fianna Fáil is intimately linked with the white collar crimes, lack of enforcement, and general corruption that currently exist. It’s unlikely that the membership will change the the color of their balaclavas.

A revolution is in the wind, and the Irish are not unfamiliar with revolution.

Dell Blackout on Factory Closings

It looks like Dell is attempting to suppress all information as they slap blackout on news about Raheen factory closings. That could be good news, or not. It could be a sign that they are negotiating a deal with the Irish Government. It could also be very bad news, and they are holding off until they can extract all the executive ‘hostages’, just in case ;-)

UPDATE: Dell ceases all production at limerick

UPDATE_2: Looks like a dirty deal in Poland motivated the move Probe into €50m sweetener behind Dell move