Australia – Beautiful One Day, Very, Very Stupid the Next
Australia spends about $150 million a year on advertising in an attempt to convince tourists to come here. That's a lot of money. That $6.70 for every woman, child, and man in Australia or $6.60 per cow or $2 per sheep or $150 million per Ronald Brak.
So why, after spending so much money to convince people that Australia is a wonderful place to visit, are visitors to Brisbane airport charged $5 an hour to use the internet on their own devices? How could anyone attempting to email friends and family back home to tell them they arrived safe and sound and how excited they are about starting their big Australian adventure, not think, “$5 to use the internet? This country sucks!” How many millions of dollars worth of advertising good will are blown away by Brisbane airport each year by this opportunistic price gouging? It's a national disgrace.
Now I know that in this day and age people are more likely to think of things such as someone having sex with a dead kangaroo as a national disgrace, but the fact is, if someone wants to have sex with a dead kangaroo, we can't really stop them. Dead Kangaroos are quite common and they are often found near thick bushes. But counter productive price gouging is something we can do something about. Adelaide Airport manages to provide free wireless internet for travellers, so why can't Brisbane Airport? Is it because 19% of Brisbane airport is owned by the Dutch, an ethnic group who are so notoriously cheap they will boast about wearing $16 sneakers? (70% of the Dutch share of Brisbane Airport is directly owned by the Dutch Ministry of Finance.) Or is this the Brisbane Line, a form of defence designed to keep out foreigners? Whatever the reason, it sucks.
When I was asked to pay $5 an hour to check my email, I didn't think Australia sucked, I thought Qantas sucked, since they were the ones who were asking me to pay. But the green bar that represents my objective evaluation of Australia as a tourist destination still lost a few pixels.
And don't get me started on Brisbane Airport charging $4 to use a luggage trolley. Even though I have to admit to having a soft spot for this one because the sight of sight of hunchbacked Slovakian grannies tugging on the first in a row of unused trolleys and then realising they need $4 in Australian coins to use one is hilarious. In fact, I think I'll go to Brisbane airport and laugh out loud each time I see that happen. Then I'll see who gets thrown out first, me or the $4 charge.
UPDATE: I got thrown out first.