Writing my Page 3 copy for our January edition in mid-December gives me a few problems, not least the fact that Brexit is, after 4 years, still grinding on. Missing deadlines appears to be a politician’s favourite pastime – just how many times have we heard that we’re out of time; we’re at the end game or this is our last chance? It’s yet more evidence that our politicians know nothing about the commercial world. What would happen if every time you had a deadline you could, simply, ignore it? Ignore it and set another deadline that you can ignore further down the road? I don’t think any of us would be in business for very long!

We’re into a New Year. 2021. And we must hope it will be better than 2020. However, I really believe that we shouldn’t presume that Covid 19 is behind us. Even with a vaccine, inoculating the whole population will be a long affair and we are all presuming that this will be a one-off protection for evermore. I’m not sure that’s correct and it will take time to find out one way or the other. The precautions that all our businesses have adopted through the pandemic will, I believe, be with us for at least another year and may be even longer. The virus is not simply going to go away. We may have had all our inoculations as children but whooping cough, polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, scarlet fever et al are still around: we’re just protected from them. It’s a long time ago but I remember BCGs and all lining up at school to get our shots. And what was a Schitt test? I have no idea, but I remember it caused infantile giggling throughout the school!

On the bright side, it hasn’t stopped our industry being successful and everyone I have talked to is positive about the coming year. I’m only hoping that we are prepared for a No Deal Brexit or, for that matter, one with a deal. Undoubtedly everything changes from January 1, whatever the outcome of talks and, by the time my reader is poring over my Page 3 comment, we must know the final outcome – surely!

I just hope that import and export problems won’t bring us another spate of panic buying. Panic buying of windows, doors and so on, is to be welcomed but not of household commodities!

My abiding memory of 2020 will be the pictures of people hoarding loo rolls and bottles of water, pushing their loaded trolleys out of CostCo. Having been horrified by the whole selfishness of the hoarders, I had one opportunity to get away in 2020 and we went to the Lake District for 3 nights in October. All quite legal at the time. My sister-in-law and husband were staying at the same hotel and we ended up talking about the pandemic and people’s reaction to it and how they have behaved. Being a bit gobby, I had to bring up how disgusting it was that people were hoarding and had they seen the pictures of overloaded trolleys with loo rolls? They read the Guardian so they probably hadn’t! Anyway, there was a bit of a look between my sister-in-law and her husband and then the story came out. Having seen these hoarders they decided they’d better get a few loo rolls themselves. They found a company online called Alliance who had loo rolls available so they ordered 8 packs of 6 rolls, reckoning that would see them through a year or so. Talk about efficient, Alliance turned up next morning and a big 6 wheeler truck parked at their gate, unloaded a forklift from the rear of the truck and trundled the said loo rolls to their front door. Yep. Misreading the website, they had ordered and taken delivery of 8 packs of 60 loo rolls: 480 loo rolls, necessitating a clearing out of the garage for storage! When a similar truck arrived two days later with a relatively sensible order of Kitchen Towel, they took delivery only for the deliverymen to say that it was funny coming to this road as one of his colleagues had delivered 480 loo rolls to some idiot just the other day. “Really?” was the only reaction from my sister-in-law!

I trust and hope that I can be writing my Page 3 at this time next year, reporting on a successful 2021 for us all. Success does, of course, come in many guises and, by your own measure, I hope you will be able to look back on 2021 with immense pleasure.

Happy New Year!

 

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