Monthly Archives: January 2012

Waiting for Superman of the Egg Industry

I’ve been doing some light reading – specifically a legal transcript from an interview that is part of the whole egg industry lawsuit scene.  This interview of Scott Brookshaw, an L.H. Gray Vice-President, dated May 9, 2011, provided me with some interesting information.

 

In answer to a question, Mr. Brookshaw stated that in one week, 35 egg producers that ship eggs to L.H. Gray contacted him, concerned about the contents of a document that they had received, alleging that Gray had been intentionally manipulating the grading of eggs in their facility, resulting in alleged false grading summaries and therefore inaccuracies in the amount of levies paid, payments received and other financial reconciliation errors as a result of the alleged manipulations.   These 35 producers represent over 50% of Gray’s producers and many have been Gray’s producers for decades.  Based on my knowledge of the industry, I’d say that group of producers has some clout in the industry and could lead the charge for change.  So what I want to know is: What are these egg producers waiting on?   Is a telephone booth required to change from your feathered chicken costume to your Superman costume?

This controversial document has been sent to numerous regulatory and government agencies in Ontario and is part of the core evidence that is the foundation for the egg industry lawsuits.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, have been spent on legal and other professional fees preparing this case thus far.  The document in question was compiled by the Whistleblower, Norman Bourdeau, a long-term former Gray employee/contractor.  There HAS to be SOME truth to this information.  There’s been way too much time, money, blood, sweat and tears invested in this journey for it all to be false.   And the longer that it goes on, the worse supply management looks allowing more damage to the industry – all because egg producers, who supposedly finance the entire egg industry are doing nothing.   Obviously the pocketbooks of egg producers are still full enough to allow them to do nothing.

The annual general meeting for EFO will be held soon.  Maybe the egg producers will get answers then.  But first somebody has to ASK!  And be prepared for the ‘management’ and lawyers to say that they can’t comment because it’s in the courts now.  That’s crap – but remember who let it get to that arena in the first place.  Offers were made long ago to make this whole situation go away – and were refused  by representatives of EFO.   More damaging information came out of the woodwork and that was something that EFO didn’t count on.  Cha-Ching! I think I hear dollar signs getting louder!  And that’s exactly what happened.

Questions about how much money EFO is spending on lawyers are definitely questions that can (and should) be answered. The ‘spending’ answers are not part of the court battle and can be answered at the meeting.  Don’t let the ‘management’ skirt the question.  Answers to legal questions are not the same as answers about spending producer’s levy dollars.  Producers can stop the spending – but you have to be prepared to demand that the spending be stopped.  Take charge of your own industry instead of letting lawyers, graders, consultants and bitter management run it.

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Sick and Tired of Bank Fees

As I await the egg industry lawsuit Statement of Defense positions to be revealed, I’m taking a peek at a different industry – one I’m sure is near and dear to many readers – the banking industry.  In Canada, every quarter I read the astonishing profit reports for all the major banks in Canada such as the most recent quarterly report from my bank, TD Canada Trust that reported its fourth-quarter profit was up 58% compared with the same time last year, an increase of 1.57 billion.  I know that I’m just a small cog in their big wheel, but these huge profits, piss me off, especially since customers of every bank get ‘service charged’ for everything.  I have often commented to my bank manager that I’m sure there will come a day when there is a jar with a slotted lid where customers are required to drop a fee in the jar just for going through the bank door.  Sounds ridiculous but no more ridiculous than paying a fee to take MY money out of MY bank account!  And don’t get me started on the fees applied if someone is applying for a mortgage!  First there’s the cost of an appraisal which is a joke, especially if it’s simply the process of a bank employee driving by the property to value it.  Really!  How can banks charge for this?  And why do customers tolerate it?   And don’t forget the title report, title and/or mortgage insurance, administration fees out the rear end, annual ‘review’ fees, mortgage registration fees, annual renewal fees of the mortgage and the list goes on and on!

Day to day banking fees include lovely items such as:

–        Withdrawal fees

–        Transaction fees

–        Cheque charges

–        ATM fees

–        Utility payment fees

–        Bank Draft fees

–        Certification fees

–        Cash handling fees

–        Wire Transfer fees

–        Debit Card Fees

–        Overdraft Fees

–        Closing Your Account Fee

And this is just scratching the surface!

On more than one occasion, I have discovered errors that my bank has made in the day-to-day operation of my bank account.  Most of these errors were minor but still needed correction.  My bank manager was surprised when I invoiced him with an ‘Error Fee’ when I reported the error to them and asked for a correction.  He didn’t seem to understand why I was entitled to collect a fee.  Was he kidding?  Regardless, I proceeded to tell him why I expected a payment for reporting the error and had the discussion in front of many of the staff and customers.  Maybe that explains why some of the bank staff go for a break when I enter their doors?  And this is the bank that is supposed to ‘greet’ customers when they arrive.  Am I paying a ‘greeting fee’ for that too?

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