Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ON REFLECTION: More than weeds whacked


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Those using weed-whackers and other equipment, especially Government workers, to clean the sides of our highways and byways are likely to lead the Government into a major lawsuit some day.
I say this because I believe it’s high time for whichever Government department is in charge of such work to put up some sort of fencing for the protection of road users against these workers as they all perform their honest, productive and necessary tasks.
These workers protect themselves with the necessary clothing, goggles, boots, hats and even gloves, but what they don’t do is think of the innocent passer-by.
When the weed-whacking is in process, everything that the blade touches – whether it be a stone, piece of metal or glass – becomes a missile whose velocity makes it an extremely dangerous object that may not only damage vehicles and crack windscreens but, God forbid, ricochet into some passing car or bus and injure someone.
And I’m so conscious of it that every time I pass these workers blissfully whacking away, I put my hand up to the side of my face.
I do this as a result of an incident 14 years ago when, having just changed my vehicle from a car to a small SUV, I was passing a certain roundabout which was being mowed, and an object struck my vehicle just under the window.
I subsequently stopped and gave thanks as I saw the dent. I was thankful because my vehicle was higher off the ground than my former car, and I instinctively knew that the point where the missile struck would have been the area of the car’s window and I might hitherto have been struck.
Therefore, I am imploring and beseeching the authorities at the National Conservation Commission, or whoever, to set up a moveable fence when their workers are cleaning the sides of the highways and byways of Barbados.
It could be a large piece of mesh similar to that which householders put in windows to keep out insects. These are very much available, and the cost should be negligible compared to a potential lawsuit, which an injured driver or passerby would, in all likelihood, win.
The situation cries out for protection for the innocent passerby; and let’s not be reactive about this. It’s bad enough that some landscapers whack and mow on private property with little consideration for passing individuals, but it’s even worse when a Government department is guilty of such gross negligence in the midst of a large segment of drivers, cyclists, children walking to and from school – you get the picture.
When ‘less’ is more!
I DO NOT KNOW why Barbados or, by extension, the Caribbean, has to be different, but anywhere else in the international market, including major capitals like New York, Miami and London, a store that bears the word “less” in its commercial title guarantees bargains that no other store can match, unless there’s a Black Friday sale or the celebration of some other popular holiday.
When you walk into those stores that carry the word “less” in their titles, you no longer feel a part of the average commercial market. The items are priced way below the markup of others.
But in Barbados, these foreign franchises in my view are not truly offering that experience. I admit these stores do offer less in some cases, but there remain several items priced the same or above other places offering the same products.
And I’m serious about the possibility of some legal professional looking into the possibility of an establishment advertising “less” in its pricing but not really living up to that claim.
These foreign franchises have a duty to live up to this because the inducement to pay less for their products is in their very name, and means more than a one-off weekend advertisement of a percentage off.
It is their duty to make a difference to the normal market by being less in terms of pricing.
It’s only in Barbados that we allow businesspeople to get away with such a dereliction which, in my view, can be challenged or at least questioned in a court of law.
I am disappointed to see certain world renowned franchises come here, get certain concessions, and offer prohibitively priced items. Seriously?
• Ricky Jordan is an Associate Editor of THE NATION.


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