Life of Riley: Buying back the farm

October 16, 1996

Life of Riley

Buying back the farm

Pauline Hanson has yet to find a buyer for her fish and chip shop business. She has had several expressions of interest but has been unable to make a sale. This week I intercepted the following advertisement intended for the classified section of the Courier-Mail:

ARE YOU SICK OF WORKING FOR A BOSS? Do you want a rewarding new lifestyle? Are you hungry for a dynamic business that will generate the profit you desire? Blessed already with the sign of success, here is an opportunity you have only dreamed about.

The most famous fish and chip shop in Australia is up for sale.

This high profile establishment (as seen on Sixty Minutes) can now be yours. Already a popular tourist venue, this bright and attractive store has a prime Ipswich location. Excellent turnover and growth potential for an active management.

Present owner will train in filleting and gutting.

Vendor desperate and committed elsewhere.

My interest was immediately aroused, and my fancy took over. The business could be purchased by offering shares in those communities Ms Hanson seems to hate. We could rename the shop (examples that spring to mind are Nguyen's Cooperative Seafood Shoppe and Takeaway or, simply, Soy Ahoy), revise the menu by including a range of yum cha, decorate the interior in Aboriginal motifs and install a sound system that plays nothing but Yothu Yindi.

I think it's a goer. We'd have postcards for the tourists, special T-shirts and gift-ware, with parking outside for the tour buses. After doing the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a brief circuit of Aboriginal sacred sights in the Brisbane River valley is then followed by lunch at the famous Soy Ahoy — "where east meets west".

Behind the counter the same theme is maintained by preference hiring of indigenous and migrant personnel. There'd be no "have-a-nice-day" or "do-you-want-fries-with-that?" in this enterprise, but "chao ban" or "apa kabar?" Uniform for Aboriginal staff will display the slogan: No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger. Beside the small Buddhist shrine at the door, we'll keep a life-sized cut-out of Jimmy Barnes saying he eats here every time he is in town.

For the kiddies there won't be any silly Ronald McDonald lookalike, but a Chinese dragon with impeccable bona fides and a huge bunyip who plays We Are The World on the didgeridoo.

As well as regular battered fare and delightful Asian morsels, we'd cater to all tastes. Cuisine essentials would include the very popular Chips Rafferty burger ( a bed of crisp french fries smothered in tomato sauce and enclosed in a sesame seed bun) and a whole range of items listed as: tomato sauce and ... You get to choose the sauce you prefer from our wide range of premium brands: Rosella, Heinz, HP, PickMeUp, and more.

In the fast food sector, such an enterprise is sure to have an impact. Maybe franchising is a possibility, or perhaps we could wholesale our own specialty fish finger ("succulent seafood tempura deep fried with just a hint of chilli"). And as for the home delivery market — I tell you, the sky's the limit.

Besides the money we'll make and the jobs we'll create, consider that by doing this together we put the wind up the previous owner.

So, Pauline Hanson, you can take your hand out of that batter and piss off. You're not wanted here. We're buying back the farm from the likes of you.

Dave Riley