Who'd be a dairy owner these days?
Competing with big-chain supermarkets, working all hours to keep customers, and now wondering whether the next person walking through your doors has a knife. Or even worse, will they use it?
This week , this paper revealed the number of aggravated robberies, 33, in the Bay of Plenty dropped during the past two years. Despite the reduction, many robbers used weapons such as knives and hammers to threaten their victims into submission.
This must be terrifying.
I've dealt with robbery victims in my line of work as a reporter and some still struggle in their jobs, their only source of income, years after an attack. It's sad. It's also unnecessary. Targeting dairy owners with a weapon is like pushing an elderly woman over for her handbag. It takes zero skill or intelligence but a lot of selfishness and thuggery.
Dairy owners do not deserve the terror that such attacks bring. A dairy can be a beating heart for the community of people living around it.
Wouldn't it be amazing if all dairies were like the one on that television advert where the little girl buys a bottle of milk, all by herself, and is recognised by the dairy owner who sends a message to her parents that she's okay?
I have fond memories of being a little girl myself, walking to the dairy and buying $1 worth of lollies, some only costing 2c each.
But it saddens me this dairy dream is perhaps too idealistic for the world we live in today.
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In the two years to August Bay of Plenty dairies have installed 57 fog cannons in attempts to thwart would-be robbers.
I question how many parents would let their children wander down for a bottle of milk, or bag of lollies, knowing dairies have become so targeted by weapon-wielding robbers they now have fog cannons.
It is the community that loses out. If dairy owners feel so unsafe in their own businesses - with or without fog cannons - they're not going to stick around.
Robbers need to not only wake up and quit targeting innocent people, they also need to question who they are really hurting and try, just try, to give a damn.