Below, a short letter published in the NZ Herald recently.
“The thought of providing Westfield Newmarket with all my private information in exchange for two hours of free parking does not appeal.”
Gerald Payman Mt. Albert.
Oh dear. Poor bloody David Jones; foiled again. Here’s the background.
A few years ago David Jones came to Wellington and took over the Kirks department store in a building I own. Over the subsequent years their boss was a regular visitor resulting in many imbibing sessions in our office. Three years ago, during such a session and having over-indulged, he suddenly adopted a serious tone and blurted out that he wanted to confide to me about something “enormously important.”
“The real reason we’ve come to New Zealand,” he said, “is there’s a bastard in Auckland called Gerald Payman whose private information we’re absolutely bloody determined to obtain.”
Naturally, I asked why? “Can’t tell you that,” he said mysteriously, adding “we’re working with the CIA on this one. “Trust me; it’s bloody big so I’ll say no more,” he added, tapping the side of his nose.
“But why open in Wellington and spend $30m on your fit-out?” I queried, understandably bewildered.
“Payman’s a world class cunning bugger according to the CIA so basically it’s a distraction ploy. The next step obviously, will be to open in Auckland close to him, but after opening in Wellington, our thinking is he won’t smell a rat. We’ll be spending over $50m in Auckland but hopefully it will work and if say, he comes in to buy a pair of socks, then Bob’s your uncle. At long last after years of trying, we’ll have his credit card private information. Plus, as a bonus, we’ll have his car number plate, assuming of course, he uses our free park. It’s fingers crossed on that one.”
“Good God!” I exclaimed. “You’re spending nearly $100m on this exercise”
“Trust me,” the David Jones boss said, “we’d spend ten times that if it was necessary to get his private information. Mind you, in fairness, the CIA’s funded us to date, nevertheless it’s my life-long personal mission”
So when I saw Payman’s letter my heart went out to the Aussies. All this effort in vain. I imagine they’ll now close both stores and try a fresh strategy so watch out for a fresh gloating Payman Herald letter in a few years time, perhaps saying something along the lines of refusing to buy a dog license and letting the Council (they’re in on it, incidentally, I’ve since learned) get his private information.