Ulysses comments …


Exceptional eyecare

Would someone please explain what exactly is “exceptional eyecare”.

Seemingly it’s provided by all sorts of optometrists, judging from their advertisements, but your humble scribe can’t work out what it means.

Something I’m missing?



Retail czar Solomon Lew is looking set for a victory this year over the board of Myer, after the department-store group has issued yet-another profit warning due to yet-another decrease in pre- and post-Christmas sales.

It will take a bit of smooching with the other significant shareholders before Solly can show the door to all of the Myer directors as the result of an extraordinary meeting he will call, but it will happen because big and small shareholders are fed up with the board’s performance.

Do I hear “Howzatt” for the soon-to-be-discarded Myer directors?


Market ‘correction’

The so-called “correction” of the share market that started last week is hitting well-run companies (such as JB Hi-Fi), as well as duds (see above).

The explanation is said to be investor disappointment after the company posted a leap in first-half earnings in a weak trading environment but softened

Coming Up

  • SUPER SUNDAY (Optometry NSW/ACT), 11 March, Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney, (02) 9712 2199.
  • VISION EXPO, 15-18 March, Javits Center, New York City.
  • O-SHOW, 14-15 July, Peninsular Central Pier, Docklands, Melbourne, (02) 9450 0765.
  • SILMO SYDNEY, 20-22

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By | February 18th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Suckers this way

One of the dailies recently carried a feature of “the latest stand-out sunnies”.

And what stand-outs they were – for people who don’t realise how silly they look wearing such convoluted styles. As for the prices – upwards from $500 or so to more than $600 for pieces of distressed wire fitted (if that’s the correct word for such shoddy workmanship) with zany lenses.

There’s one born every minute, as the saying goes.


Highway robbery

Indebted to Stetch Kontelj, who found time from his duties as Specsavers’   global legal director, based in Guernsey, to email an item from the Geelong Advertiser, (yes, the newspaper in Victoria): “Welcome to the new norm in Victoria, where if you can get electricity, it will cost you seven fold more than in 2007!”

No wonder people are backing off retail spending, such as for a new pair of glasses, when an essential item like electricity costs so much.


I’m OK, Jack

The Trans-Pacific Agreement (minus the United States) has finally been signed, after years of negotiations between the nations surrounding the Pacific Ocean.

Despite a serious outbreak of brotherly and sisterly love over it all, a flaw in the agreement opens the gate for prescription pharmaceuticals to be imported accompanied by big price increases, (from the US in particular) which

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By | February 4th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments


‘Medical’ twaddle

Recently, I came across an overblown 2,000-plus-words interview with a senior executive of a major optical company in Australia, in a management-nonsense magazine, complete with images.

Putting aside the effusiveness, I couldn’t help but notice two references to the interviewees’s “medical” work – one being “closer collaboration with the medical industry” and the other “a very medical role”.

All misleading twaddle of course; the person concerned is an optometrist, nothing to do with “medical”.

By | January 24th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …



Free loading

MP/former ophthalmologist Andrew Laming is in the news again; this time for a hefty charge to taxpayers for his (accompanied by his wife and two young children) gallivanting around the nation – particularly the Northern Territory – running up a $21,000 bill for the family’s business-class travel, hire cars and accommodation.

Yes, you read it right: business-class travel for all of them, including his two young daughters.

And of what benefit to their father’s official reasons for visiting the Northern Territory were they at their young ages? Precious little, I suspect.

But it’s all within the rules which allow an MP to claim for three business-class trips a year to anywhere in Australia for family members. And a spouse is entitled to nine business-class return trips to Canberra or within an MP’s electorate.

A shameful business.


Low demand

It seems demand for eye-care and optical-dispensing services is low at present, which is usually a great time for business due to fresh benefits from private health funds, return to school, and so on.

Perhaps the downturn is not surprising given the overall state of retailing in Australia at present, witness the massive spending on television advertising in particular, with discounts offered left, right and centre in seeming panic attempts to drum up demand.

And if the rumours have

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By | January 21st, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Happy New Year!

Here’s to a Happy New Year for all of us!

2018 looks likely to be a great year – the stock exchange is booming, housing prices are relatively stable, retail sales are up a bit, employment is stable (it should be higher), the politicians are on holiday, and, as I write, Australia is hammering England’s cricketers in the 5th Test, 40-degree heat and all.

So I hope you enjoyed the Christmas break and are back, ready for the fray.


Management mess

How can retail group Oroton have ever agreed to pay landlords rents as much as 40 per cent of retail sales value in their stores? Only five years ago, rents were closer to 20 per cent

As a consequence, Oroton is verging on being almost broke and has gone into voluntary administration, with the hope that landlords will agree to lower their rents. Yes, the supposed experts are not kidding.

It’s wishful thinking of course. Most landlords won’t be in that, preferring to lose lessees rather than discount their rents; talk of offering all sorts of inducements to re-lease premises to other more-successful retailers is so much hogwash.

And there is a litany of other mistakes by Oroton over the past five years. Oroton started back in the days when silver or gold Glomesh

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By | January 7th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Yes, you’re reading it here first

The name of the MP who has been up to hanky-panky can now be revealed: it’s none other than Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce!


Political correctness

Boots Opticians in the United Kingdom have been criticised on social media for a frame display that featured pink and blue frames with what were described as sexist slogans.

A busy-body tweeted a photo of the display in the unnamed practice, which showed there were slogans such as ‘Pretty as a princess’ next to pink frames and ‘Super tough for super heroes’ next to blue ones.

Boots apologised for any offence caused, but doesn’t this episode show that so-called political correctness gone absolutely mad?


The ‘Made in Italy’ game

The lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York that challenged the validity of Kering Eyewear’s ‘Made in Italy’ claims for its brands has been voluntarily dropped this month by the plaintiff, Selima Optique.

That’s disappointing, because the claim of frames and sunglasses being made in Italy has largely been a sham for years, with huge numbers of them being either shipped to China for final finishing and then return to Italy, or being completely manufactured from scratch in China.

Conveniently, most of the time, there’s so much turning of blind eyes as

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By | December 22nd, 2017|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


You read it here first

A well-known federal MP is about to be hit with an allegation of hanky-panky with a staff member.

No names yet, but an impeccable source.


The latest twaddle

Have a read of the latest twaddle from the federal immigration and border control minister Peter Dutton when knocking back a request from the Australian Medical Association, as related by president Michael Gannon, that a delegation of medical specialists be permitted to visit asylum seekers on Manus Island:

“[He] is concerned that whoever was nominated, whoever was sent [in a delegation] would find it impossible to divorce their feelings as advocates for these men from the more-focused attention on their health-care needs.”

Wrong, Mr Dutton, wrong. Surely you’ve heard the AMA in 2006 adopted the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Geneva as a contemporary companion to the 2,500-year-old Hippocratic Oath for medical practitioners to declare their commitment to their profession, their patients, and humanity, including: “I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity.”



By | December 4th, 2017|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Ah, the joys of retailing

A director of Myer, which has been the subject of strong attacks by its biggest shareholder, Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, particularly claims that the retail giant’s directors lack retail experience, has defended them in the dailies, citing his own retail experience.

Among his claims to retail fame in one newspaper was that he is also chairman of retailer Baby Bunting, supplier of a range of kids products. It was right beside a report showing that Baby Bunting’s share price is down nearly 50 per cent in the past 12 months to $1.41 at present.



And real estate too

Speaking of share prices of listed companies, one of the directors of IPIC Holdings Limited (which owns retail optical brand George and Matilda Eyecare) is real estate big noise John McGrath, founder and a director of the eponymous ASX-listed real estate company McGrath Limited.

McGrath Limited listed as a public company in December 2015 with a share price of $2.10; the price is now down to around 55c.

Good grief.

By | November 22nd, 2017|Comment|

Ulysses comments …

Making sense of the figures

This rather astounding-at-first-glance claim was included in the chairman’s address to the annual general meeting of the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association of Australia in Sydney on 8 November: “The eyewear industry is projected to exceed USD165 billion by 2022”.

No qualification, no clarification he was not talking about the Australian market, no reference, no nothing, just a bald claim of USD165 billion.

For the record, according to Statista, The Statistics Portal, the global figure is forecast to be USD142 billion in 2020 and USD165 billion in 2026.

By | November 19th, 2017|Comment|

Ulysses comments …

Interesting to notice students who successfully complete the course in basic science subjects at the University of Tasmania and will transfer to Flinders University in Adelaide for the second-year of their optometry studies will be applying to be admitted to the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science)/Master of Optometry course.

Bachelor of Medical Science?


By | November 8th, 2017|Comment|