Brian Edwards Media

When Business and Decency Conflict (includes my nomination for Asshole of the Year – so far.)

Now just in case you missed it, please start by reading this report from Bernard Orsman in last Monday’s Herald

Now take a look at what the editor of the Ponsonby News, John Elliot, had to say in a column in the most recent edition: Herne Bay Shattered by Landlord’s Callousness.   

‘… their landlord, Jon Sandler, has not only refused to renew their lease, but left it to the last possible moment to tell Geraldine the bad news . “Be out by 31 August” was his last edict. The legality around this will be handled by lawyers… It is the sheer inhumanity of the action that beggars belief.

‘Up and down the street, which is my local neighbourhood precinct, shopkeepers whom I respect have scurrilous things to say about Jon Sandler. Sharon Watson, owner of Toi Toi Florists just up the road from Herne Bay Pharmacy, used to be a tenant of Sandler’s. She is vitriolic in her criticism of how he treated her before she got out and started in new premises. It may well be that this man dots the  i’s and crosses the t’s legally , but the question is whether he always acts honourably in his business dealings.

‘My guess is that a new chemist shop, with Jon Sandler’s personal involvement, will struggle for local customers, who know how he treats his tenants.

‘Jon Sandler may be rich and getting richer, but as it says in the Bible, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” It may be very hot where he is going. ‘


And just in case you missed this as well, here’s an item from last Wednesday’s Close Up: (Half way through Part 1)

Now you need to understand that I am by no means a disinterested observer in this matter. On the contrary, my blood is boiling along with Dame Cath Tizard and the woman who said she’d like to punch Jon Sandler’s lights out, a view shared by just about half the local population of Ponsonby and Herne Bay for whom Geraldine Phillips’ Herne Bay Pharmacy isn’t just a chemist’s shop, it’s an institution.

Include me in that group. I’m a diabetic and I may be one of Geraldine’s (and her wonderful staff’s) best customers. I’m certainly one of their most loyal customers, because Herne Bay Pharmacy doesn’t just dispense drugs, it dispenses advice, sympathy, kindness and the odd emergency supply of your regular meds when you’ve run out on a Saturday morning. These are good people.

I don’t think Jon Sandler is a good person. My view of him was formed partly when I saw the hoardings go up advertising the soulless, featureless 4-storey concrete shopping and apartment block he intends to erect on the corner of Jervois Road and John Street. That’s after he’s got rid of the charming villa which stands there at present, of course. I’m inclined to regard that as environmental vandalism. But hey, just like giving your tenant Geraldine Phillips just a couple of weeks notice to quit, so that you can compete with her for the business she’s established over 19 years, and then, to add insult to injury,  offering to buy her database, phone numbers, fixtures and fittings, ‘almost theft of all the goodwill’,  it’s all perfectly legal and above-board, isn’t it, Jon?

But principled, decent, fair-minded? I don’t think so. Actually, Jon, I think you’re a total asshole. I might have thought you were less of an asshole, if you’d fronted up yourself on Close Up, rather than letting your wife face the music. But no surprises there really.

Still, I take the long view – what goes around, comes around. I have a feeling that the new pharmacy, in which you have a part share, isn’t going to do too well. Like most Kiwis, people round here don’t much care for this sort of shabby business practice. We’ll be sticking with Geraldine and her staff. As I said: ‘good people’.

The sign on the neighbouring Toi Toi Florists reads: The New Defintion of Loyal is: Herne Bay. Thank You. Xx

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  1. I have a lease of a small shop in Jervois Road with wonderful landlords. They are caring and not greedy. My previous tenancy was not such a happy association. This guy needs to take a good long hard look at himself, as in all things, what goes round comes round, and business ethics and morality supercede avarice at all times. May the force be with you Geraldine, and rest assured, we will vote with our feet.

  2. I doubt you’re going to find a bigger asshole before December 31st, so I suggest you finalise the award and put it in the post. Unfortunately, in community pharmacy (as with most retail businesses) location is your greatest asset.

    What’s even more disappointing is that one (or more) of Geraldine’s so-called professional colleagues are prepared to stab her in the back like this (as you need a pharmacist to run a pharmacy). So the award may need to be a joint one, shared between the rotten chickensucker who owns the building and the vile creep who’s taking over the (essentially) stolen business…

  3. Tut tut Brian.

    Assholes are both useful and necessary.

  4. Asshole ? Let’s use Arse hole. Hey you ARSE HOLE!

    It’s more satisfying to say don’t you think?

  5. Unfortunately, this kind of naked greed is all too common in our new market-driven society. And parties like ACT want more of this sort of raw Individualism let loose in our society?

    Much like two professionals who gained the benefit of a free education in the 1980s (no student debt or high fees) – and still went on to try to rort the tax system.

    I hope that the good folk of Ponsionby and Herne Bay show their displeasure at Sandler’s repulsive behaviour. This kind of rapacious behaviour might be acceptable in the US, but I like to think we still have a soul in this country.

    To Mr Sandler: how much money is enough for you?

  6. People Power ! I never shop in herne bay but will now just to support Geraldine Phillip’s new shop.
    Bugger Jon Sandler and his deceit.

  7. On the subject of wealth, my instincts tell me that Owen Glenn’s offer of $100million for youth and education if we vote National in November is nothing less than the outlawed practice of vote-buying. Can any readers offer a legal opinion?

  8. Any reasonable person would agree with your stance Brian.Roger Douglas’s “let the market decide” always comes ringing through my ears when I see travesties of justice such as this.Good luck with your crusade!

  9. It would be suicide to go in there now, I hope the guy loses his shirt over what he thought was very good trick to make some extra money and hope Jon & his wife are very careful about showing their faces around the Herne Bay area.

    BE: Slightly edited. Facts uncertain.

  10. Without tenancy laws, commercial landlords are a law unto themselves…

  11. Yes greed is terrible but so is americanising the the fundamental orfice! Like him or loathe him – Paul Henry is an ARSE man!

  12. well, his long suffering “wife” isn’t his wife but partner.

    BE: Sorry, Jimney, edited for reasons of taste and defamation.

  13. Mmm a sign of times – trial by media. Whoever’s side the reporters choose to be on is the side that looks like the hero. There are always 2 sides to the story but we only got shown the emotional side because thats what gets ratings. From what I understand it was poor business practice of the tenant to not sort her lease out earlier. Why is it the landlord is always portrayed as the baddy, they are the ones who make the investment, take the risk and the responsibility. Give the guy a break!

    BE: I’m afraid the facts in this case don’t support your generous view.

  14. I think Kathy should re look at the facts presented as the tenant DID try and renew her lease in that three month period, but Jon Sandler decided to ignore her request , only giving her 2 weeks notice . Unless you have personally had dealings with Jon you really don’t understand how he operates! So Kathy if you want to become one of his tenants you will understand for yourself and have a change of opinion!

  15. Property developer Jon Sandler gave her two weeks to move out of the premises she had worked in for the past 19 years.

  16. Kathy, having been in business myself; and having dealth with a rather ruthless landlord; and having been presented with a Take-It-Or-Leave-It lease option – I can tell you that unless you are a big company with considerable legal/monetary “muscle” – or part of a chain, then you have very few choices. The landlord owns the premises and can do what s/he likes, once a lease and right-to-renew clauses have expired.

  17. I have a contender for Asshole of the Year. Our company Banks Memorials has operated for over 25 years from leased premises in Papatoetoe. The property changed ownership 2 years ago. The lease expires on the 4 Nov 2011. Our current landlord wouldn’t negotiate on the lease and promoted our business as a headstone shop for lease to all our competitors. We were invited to make an offer. Last week we were advised that all offers to lease were unacceptable and that the property had been sold and we would be required to vacate the premises by the 4 Nov 2011. I feel we’ve been set up here!