My email to Myer

Yesterday, the CEO of the department store Myer, Bernie Brooks is said to have told a business conference that an increase in the Medicare levy to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would be bad for their business. He said that the $350 per year that an average-income earner would pay towards the NDIS under the proposed funding model “is something they would have spent with us”.

I’m weighing into this discussion relatively late: the response since about 3pm yesterday, on social media and beyond, has been pretty epic. Myer realised this morning that things were getting out of hand and crafted this exemplar of corporate communication, hilariously mentioning that one of the reasons they were opposed to the increase in the levy was that it might lead to “negative consumer sentiment”.

So, belatedly, here’s my email to Myer’s exalted leader:

Dear Bernie,

Just a quick email of support during what I know is a difficult period for you.

We exist in truly bizarre times, don’t we? More and more I feel like we’re living in a Leonard Cohen song. Not literally, of course, because a song would offer precious little protection from the elements and would provide no stabling facilities for our polo horses, but certainly figuratively.

Everybody knows the notion that Australia’s economy rides on the back of the sheep is a shining artefact of the past. Everybody knows it also doesn’t ride in a train carrying iron ore (or for that matter inside a personal jet flying over the Pilbara while making remarks about sterilising Indigenous Australians). Everybody knows that what makes Australia’s economic clockwork really whir is retail, and more specifically bricks and mortar department stores selling products made almost exclusively in China.

Everybody knows that because of this, we, as members of the community – and when I say we, I definitely don’t mean you, my liege – must show our gratitude, and must consider things from the retail sector’s perspective (I, for one, fairly quiver with anticipation on Boxing Day evening, waiting for the news to tell me whether post-Christmas sales are up or down). That’s why I don’t understand this outcry about your perfectly reasonable comments on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Everybody knows that governments should leave governing to captains of industry. Company CEOs, the venerable fathers (and – *snigger* – every now and then, mothers) of our society, know what’s best for us – all of us: from highly mobile, massively productive keyboard heroes like me, all the way down to disgracefully non-productive disabled types.

Everybody knows what’s best for this latter group is for them to pipe the fuck down, cease complaining and stop expecting those of us who were enterprising enough not to be born with mental or physical limitations to pay for their lavish and luxurious lives of leisure and languor.

Everybody knows that if they really need money for their health, they should do what everybody else does: raise money through hard work or the death of rich parents, funnel a substantial part of that money to a private insurance company, then use a substantial additional part of that money to pay for that section of the healthcare cost that the insurer inevitably doesn’t cover. And then, if need be, eat lard for dinner.

Oh, but no. Everybody knows that the fight was fixed: the rich get poor and the poor get rich. Everybody knows that what is really proposed with this sick NDIS joke is simply redistribution of wealth, namely from those who buy Reserve windcheaters and Basque blouses to those who don’t. And that, as you intimated in your comments, is a disgrace to the nation!

Everybody knows this deal is rotten. Old Joe Taxpayer’s still picking cotton. Which would be fine if it was actual cotton used to make ribbons and bows sold at Myer, but it will in fact be the metaphorical kind, used to finance tummy tucks or brow immobilisation surgery – or whatever the hell this self-indulgent ne’e’r-do-well minority (of 4 million) are coveting.

But there’s a silver lining, I believe. Everybody knows your assertion that the $350 a year average-income earners will have ripped from their (Blaq) wallets by the government would have been money spent at your famed emporium was unimpeachably true. Everybody also knows that buying nose-hair trimmers and leaf blowers and an eighth pair of sunglasses at an outlet where they are at their most expensive is the very lifeblood of our country. And like the good, honest toilers they are, everybody will scrimp and save and find that $350 to spend at Myer. I certainly will! And I will treasure the Myer One points I receive from these transactions like childhood memories… all the way up until the point at which I redeem them for some aftershave.

Everybody knows your comments were taken out of context – all CEOs’ utterings are. Everybody knows your apology, although unnecessary, was gracious, considered and perfectly-worded. Everybody knows the cold, dead hand of the government never springs to life like Thing from The Addams Family and scuttles around changing things for the better. Everybody knows that improving people’s lives never leads to a net economic benefit. Everybody knows that the strong should never give a hand to the weak lest it bugger up the markets and trigger the downfall of civilisation.

Everybody knows this. Everybody! So why you’ve been bombarded with such bitterness, spite and, worst of all, sarcasm, is a mystery to me.

That’s how it goes, I guess.

Your humble servant (literally),

Jonathan Rivett, consumer

Not familiar with Leonard Cohen? Here he is (quite a while ago) singing ‘Everybody Knows‘.



Read more Haught emails

…or choose one that takes your fancy from the list below:

My email to Yarra Trams
My email to Metro Trains
My email to Facebook
My email to Microsoft
My email to Coles
My (unsent) email to the Victorian Department of Transport
My email to Alan Jones
My email to Kyle Sandilands
My email to Gasp Jeans
My email to Jim Beam
My email to Ben Polis
My email to Hoo haa Bar
My email to Weis ice creams
My email to some tobacco companies
My email to Margaret Court
My email to KFC

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