Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bye, Bye, MSOS & Aqua Books by Margaret Ullrich

Maybe there's something in the air.

On July 31, The Manitoba Society of Seniors shut its doors.
The MSOS, a non-profit organization, had been in Manitoba for over 30 years. 

MSOS members paid an annual fee of $20; $30 for a household. 
In return they received free personal income tax preparation, the monthly Journal, Fifty and Beyond, as well as recreation and travel discounts. 

Now if one was over 50 and wanted those items, that seemed fair.
But, if one didn't want those services, well, there are better ways to spend $30.

According to the MSOS, they represented the views of older Manitobans with government, the media, business and employer groups.

The Manitoba Society of Seniors' closing wasn't covered by the media.
So much for their media presence and contacts.
The only media that covered the MSOS ending was their journal, Fifty and Beyond.
A stack of F & B was at the Winnipeg Free Press building, along with the free weeklies.
I don't know where or how else a non-member would have heard of their news.
I googled.

Fifty and Beyond's editor, Andrea Geary, had her own opinion of the MSOS ending. 
Her editorial was almost as good as Professor Hill's Trouble.
His show-stopping solo from the musical The Music Man.  

Yep, we've got trouble, right here in River City.
Nobody is going to speak up for us poor defenseless Boomers.
She made it sound like we're losing the vote.
According to Andrea, we're now invisible.

Andrea pointed out that the over-50 crowd is growing.
Well, duh.
And the board members of MSOS had expected every Boomer to join the MSOS.
Yet, their numbers have steadily fallen over the years.

Well, Andrea knows what's wrong with the "younger seniors".
We don't know we're getting old.
We're not joiners.
We lack a community spirit.

Yeah, right.
Maybe we can do our own taxes and don't want to go on their tours.

When McDonald's tries a new product and it doesn't sell, the folks at Micky D don't call customers names.
They just stop selling that product.

The customer is always right.

Speaking of customers...
On August 11, after being in business a dozen years, Kelly Hughes announced he was shutting Aqua Books' doors.

Aqua Books is a secondhand bookstore / restaurant / you name it.
Music, classes, yoga, plays.
It was almost guaranteed there was something for everybody.

According to Kelly's e-mail, "Smart phones, Facebook, and the internet are all part of what has replaced reading time. 
I won't beat it to death, but it's an irreversible change in people's habits." 
Technology is making people read books less.
Yeah, he spread the word through an e-mail.
Ironic, eh?

News of Aqua Books' Closing hit all the media.
Radio, newspapers, television, the internet.
The CBC has an online version where people can post comments.
Pro and con. 
Some folks did say they were going to miss Aqua for a read or a feed.

But others had a different view on why Kelly's store had failed.
Along with comments on changing times, some got quite specific.
Everything from overpriced books and meals to the staff's attitude was covered.

Then there was Mr. Hughes himself.
One person posted a link to Kelly's blog.
Some had found Hughes humorous.
Some didn't.

The customer is always right.

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