The City Weekly (Incorporating The Sydney Times) May 6-12 1999
mikey robins picture

nuthin' for something

It seems that every other business these days has some membership club tha you can join. And just what, pray tell, are the benefits of these clubs? Quality service my friends. That's the benefit you can join some club for - you fork out cold hard cash just to ge the service that you used to get for free. Oh, and you get a membership card and sometimes, if you're lucky, a glossy newsletter.

Here's a not for all you corporations: no-one, and I mean no-one, reads your glossy newsletter. It arrives in the mail and you think "oh good, a magazine". I mean, it feels like a magazine, it looks suspiciously like a magazine, but it's basically a bunch of pictures of models lounging around some pool in a resort that I'm going to have every damn cent I have just to be able to rack up enough points to maybe spend a wintery morning at one day 20 years from now . . .

I recently joined one of those airline lounge clubs. You see, I spend a lot of time in airports (I don't fly anywhere, I just spend a lot of time in airports) and I've always been intrigued by these clubs and their members - mostly chubby businessmen with those tiny little suitcases that they drag behind them on tiny wheels. And, digressing slightly, by god those suitcases annoy me. If you don't have the strength to carry something about the size of a lunch box, have a long hard look at yourself, people.

Anyway, I was fascinated by the smug looks on the faces of these chubby people as they checked in at their own counter with its enticingly small queue, and then the way they would break off from the heerd and go behind the sliding glass doors to enter their world of, what I assumed to be, pure indulgence.

"So, what the hell," I thought, "I gonna get me some of that." Against my better judgement I signed up and, with trembling excitement, entered my new world of privilege.

I don't know what I expected in this brave new world, but I must confess I did have images of an establishment - somewhere between a 19th century drawing room and togas. But then again those same two words often go through my mind.

Imagine my horror when I discovered it was just another holding pen for tired commuters with the same nerve-shattering piped music that, for some bizarre reason, airlines think will calm our nerves. Here's a second not for large corporations: pan pipes are not soothing, they're bloody annoying.

I'd spent good money to be here and was crestfallen, until I made a very important discovery. The tea and bikkies were free, the little buffet was free, the orange juice was free, hell and, here's the big one, after a certain hour the booze was free. Here was my chance to strike a blow for consumer rights.

Within 10 minutes I had assembled a cheese plate the size of a small family sedan, accompanied by several glasses of every juice and booze I could lay my hands on, I was consuming my feast under the complimentary shower whilst covering my body with as much free shampoo and conditioner as I could carry, and, with the hand I was not stuffing my face with, I was flicking the pages on a veritable library of outdated magazines.

I reckon a few more trips to the airport and mayber, just maybe, I might be ahead on the deal, for once in my life. #

-Mikey Robins

Typed up by VellaB.
Next Article: 20 May 1999; Vanishing youth Last Week: 29 April1999; modern mysteries
If you have a copy of the article published in the 13 - 19 May 1999 (Volume 4, Number 17) edition, I would be muchly appreciative if you could email me. Thanks!