The first thing we did when we came here eleven years ago was to dump the A-frame tariff board that sat on the lawn in front of the motel.

However, elsewhere in town on the main drag, they proliferated. In 2006 I tried to work with these guys to get them to take them down, as they were giving the town a bad name as the cheap place to stay on the Northern Rivers, which was to the detriment of the rest of us that were trying to make a living. The differential in our and their prices was widening and not sustainable.

Surprise, surprise, they all agreed that following the Christmas Holiday period (when boards are not displayed), they would not put them back up. Success I though! But oh no, after a month, one lady put her board back up and the rest follow suite soon after.

Not to be disheartened, the following year I tried a new tack. O.K., keep your tariff boards but agree to increase them all by $5 in the January and a further $5 the next year. Again consensus and all the rates went up $5 in mid January. But oh no, we get a bad February for business and low and behold the same lady drops her price back and the rest follow! At which point I gave up wasting my time!

Since then a couple at the far end of town agreed between themselves to get rid of their boards and not compete with each other and as a result are doing very nicely thank you.

Interestingly, last December I did an exercise to see exactly how much these guys had put their Tariff Board rates up since April 2006. The average was just 25% in eight years, whereas the two that took down their boards had increased their prices by 42%.