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April 13, 2021

Goodwill hunting

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Goodwill-huntingMatthew Michaelis

Good things come to those who wait

I’m waiting to swell my own ranks when human cloning becomes available; until then, there’s only one of me and a great big canvas of choice. So, if you’re ever wondering why you’re not seeing anything of your own favourite eatery in The Good Life, it’s more than likely just a case of logistics. Like any food section in any newspaper or magazine, not all places are written about. I’m sure that with enough word of mouth, the good places you’ll hear about, and perhaps even read about in these pages (though it’s never a fait ­accompli).

Goodwill to all

How do you tell a good place from a bad? Generally, the owners of really busy places are doing something right, otherwise they wouldn’t be so frantic. People sense this and as a result, busy places attract goodwill hunters or folks that are backing a safe bet. Trust is the basis of loyalty, and loyalty, in a business sense, builds goodwill. Am I right, or am I right?

The hospitality industry is built on trust; trust that those serving us won’t treat us in a cutting, dismissive or patronising way (humour excepted always). Trust that you’ll get the same quality each time you visit, trust that the people fronting the business won’t be spitting in your food behind the scenes. This does happen by the way; I’ve worked briefly in places that treat difficult customers this way and worse, so be careful now. Yes, we all need to feel comfortable that the establishment we’re choosing to inhabit is understanding of the fact that we are paying and they’re providing an exchange for that dosh. If you’re ever regularly uneasy about this relationship, then it could be that you’re in a sado-masochistic position and I’d advise you maybe to part ways ASAP. Perhaps you can revisit the place when an ‘under new management’ sign is firmly nailed up (unless you’re into being punished of course).

‘Because nothing is, everything appears to be’

Sometimes, familiarity can be a problem for me. The owners of some ‘cool’ eateries may know me, so it can create awkward situations; they may think I’m trying to catch them out, or I’m ignoring their goodly establishment, when I’m just having some R&R; simply eating like anybody else and trying to enjoy myself. These little misunderstandings are all part of the gig, really. Though with the quality of eateries around us, I do wonder why some places aren’t more confident of their wares and less concerned with influencing a person’s opinion, position or subsequent outcomes. Regardless, I hope the notion of censorship is now a big enough topic to leave a writer, journalist, columnist or indeed a cartoonist to do their thing without people attempting to influence outcomes. It’s a relative planet we live in and sometimes we simply create problems when it’s more than likely just a case of ‘because nothing is, everything appears to be’.

The northern rivers is a beautiful place to live with a crazy amount of good things to try and to take pleasure in. Don’t tarry in places that don’t treat you well, don’t get you, the principles of humanity, or just plain hospitality. Life’s too short and food’s too expensive for silly shenanigans.

Drop me a line if you have a fave eatery that you’d love to see in The Echo’s Good Life. I’m always making the point that the region we inhabit is overflowing with opportunities to experience greatness in small things. Things such as fabulous coffee, incredibly good food, day trips, weekend escapes and entertainment stuff. As I don’t write entertainment, that leaves me with food, travel and an entry on wines from time to time.

Matthew Michaelis can be contacted at [email protected]


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