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Searching for answers about things I don't understand - this could be a very long list


From influencers to tattoos and personalised number places, Michael Blucher just doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the trends and trappings of modern life.

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It all started at dinner time – a family conversation about some friends who’d just sold their house.

Turns out they paid more than $70,000 in commission to the estate agent for the privilege.

“I don’t get it Dad. How come they make so much money, just for selling a house, that’s more than a lot of people earn in a year, isn’t it? ” the youngest asked, mirroring the thoughts around the table.

I didn’t have an answer. The commission model seemed reasonable when the average house price was $120K. Not so much now that so many properties sell for over a mil.

I tried to get the counter view from a mate who works in real estate, but I couldn’t find him. He must have been away on his yacht, or bunkered down in his country cottage, taking it easy for a few days. So the explanation remains a mystery, at least to me.

The commission conundrum led to a wider discussion about all the other things we don’t get – stuff that just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Staying with real estate, why do all the male estate agents wear suits? On Saturday? Coats buttoned, ties affixed, while the people they’re selling to are in tatty jeans or grubby mowing shorts. I’m guessing in that game it’s good to look successful. It simply reminds me of the perils of trying too hard. And that we’re paying them too much commission.

Personalised number plates. Can somebody explain those? Do they help people find their cars? I would have thought the colour and the model would have been sufficient, coupled with the plate that’s thrown in with the car when you buy it?

Again, at the risk of veering out of my own lane, I’m staggered that people can’t come up with a better way of spending $300 or $500 – whatever the “investment” is. A charitable donation, for instance? That’s just one idea.

Influencers. Don’t start me on them. How long do we think it will be before “Influencing” is a career choice? Perhaps in time there’ll be a degree. A Bachelor of Influencing, majoring in Posturing and Over-sharing. Post grad studies in Self Importance. Nothing would surprise.

Still on social media… Facebook. I don’t get that there’s apparently no longer such a thing as a private thought. Or action. “Look everybody – here’s where I walked this morning. Look at the colour on my Strava – really pumped it out along that flat bit…”

“Wow. You did, didn’t you…can you tell me more about your walk? What sort of shoes were you wearing? Did you stop for a drink?“ I want to comment, but I never do.

In a similar sense, A-grade celebrities like radio and TV personalities talking publicly about their relationship break-ups. Not just fielding calls from the media, but going to the trouble of making themselves available. Here’s what’s happened to me. Here’s how I’m feeling. And this is what I’ve done since with my wardrobe since the big split. No. I don’t get that. It must be part of the therapy.

In the supermarket, I don’t get that you can pay more for a bottle of water than a bottle of milk. Do the people who set these prices actually understand where milk comes from? The whole cow-on-the-farm thing? Farmers in gum boots getting up really early and working hard all day? Water, despite what we are led to believe, comes out of a tap.

Similarly, I don’t get the price of food at airports and sports stadiums. Tuna Sandwich? certainly, sir. That will be $17. Do they think they have their own special little economy that sits separate from the real world?

Not long ago, I was standing in the queue at Suncorp Stadium waiting to pay for my three $14 beers and my $5 bottle of water when the girl at the checkout chipped the bloke in front of me for paying in cash. “All my credit cards are maxed out from the last time I was here,” he explained. Cop that. I’m guessing he brings his kids.

On the subject of credit cards, why are we still paying 24% interest when the banks have the rate at 0.00012%? I don’t get that. I don’t think anybody does. Not even the credit card people.

Tattoos. Perhaps I’m out of step, but I don’t understand them. You get them to look different, right? But when everybody has them, don’t you look the same? The “different” look is achieved by not having them. None of my business, I know, but I reckon you’re better off abstaining – saving yourself the pain and expense, and of course the residual cost of removing them when the time comes. I don’t know that for sure. It’s just a wild guess.

Payroll tax – I certainly don’t understand that. Slugging businesses for employing people. WTF? Why doesn’t the state government just call it what it is? It’s a gouge. “Sorry folks. We’ve overspent again this year – employed a few too many people, run a couple of extra questionable inquiries that didn’t lead anywhere. You’re going to have to help us out. Here’s the bill.” Business people would at least appreciate the candour.

Yes, as per the tattoo thing, perhaps it’s just age. Perhaps I’m just falling further and further behind what’s now considered normal. Grumpy middle-aged man syndrome.

The really disturbing part – I’m in the process of selling a house.

I’m trying to work out a way that old mate doesn’t finish up with another European sports car out of the deal.

If he’s still talking to me.

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