Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pressing the flesh. Or as I like to call it, a hand job.

The recent pulling out of the Cat ferry service from Nova Scotia to Maine has left many tourism operators with their legs in the air.

Bus tours, resorts and local businesses, despite what anyone says, will all feel the pinch from what the NDP described as, well, who gives a shit what the NDP said. It sucks.

2009 has been a year of sucking for many businesses in and around Havenot. To survive this crude form of natural selection, many – including my own – have had to adapt, or die. In my world, traditional advertising has been pushed aside rather rudely, making way for social marketing – like this blog, as difficult as that is for some to swallow.

Gone are the frequent, full-page glossy ads heading to publications south of the border. Gone are seasonal newspaper campaigns – slashed through budget cuts – and the dilemma of cost vs. return. Who is reading? I, for one, now read the National Post and the New York Times online. The Post because it is packed with great writers and (gulp) informative, funny blogs – and besides – the paper version in its recognizable form no longer travels this far east. How fucked up is that? I read the NY Times online because the anticipated heft of clever ads and stylish weekend magazines is now a shadow of its former self – but their website has more layers than a hockey mom at the Devonshire arena.

I sit and watch as Kindles attempt to replace books, and my beloved newspapers and magazines grow thinner and thinner, fighting the cancer that is change.

But change is good. Change is exciting. Change sucks – but only if you let it.

Knowing after a steady, 8-year run that business wasn't just appearing at my door meant I either had to get out more, go work for someone else, or adapt – a more appealing option since the thought of attending rubber chicken dinners and making small talk was like swallowing bile. And as they say, "specialization is for insects". Fortunately, I work in a industry where clients can be around the corner, or around the globe. Good thing. I watched with amazement and horror recently, as a significantly better business quote I brokered was shoved aside, because the job was handed to a friend of a friend. I had nothing to win or lose in this transaction, but it was a wake-up call. The best man doesn't always win, especially if the other man went to school with your Dad's second cousin. Some things, it seems, will never change.

I arrived in Yarmouth by ferry from Bar Harbor in 1989, and I still feel like a foreigner "from away" despite living here, off and on for 20 years. I say, if Nova Scotians want the world to arrive at our door in 2010 and beyond, then we need a welcome mat that can be read from afar, not just by the guy walking by it everyday.

Fuck the Cat. Didn't anyone's uncle's sister-in-law sleep with a shipbuilder?