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Ant Bytes — AA08

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“Traditionally, most of Australia’s imports come from overseas.”
Former Australian Cabinet Minister, Keppel Enderbery

Bulls, Bears, Beers and Cheers

Watermark, a bar located in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct, is giving power to the people by placing the price of drinks at the mercy of the thirsty. Every Thursday night, the barSTOCK Exchange turns drinkers into traders. The price of any given drink falls every time it is ordered. So the more you drink, the more you save. Prices are displayed on a plasma screen and updated regularly for the engrossed patrons. You can kick off a hot run on cold beer or a rush on Russian vodka. There’s only one catch – you might pay dearly on Friday morning.

‘Out, damn spot!’

Television’s CSI has managed the improbable: making forensic scientists look impossibly cool and oh so sexy. Now a lesser known group of professionals are awaiting a similar public makeover – crime scene cleaners.

And you thought it was all over when the detectives, lab cowboys and media ride off into the night. Now there’s a service company based in California that specialises in returning innocence to crime scenes and biohazardous sites.

Like Harvey Keitel’s brusque Mr Wolf, who “solves problems”, in Pulp Fiction, the employees of Crime Scene Cleaners, Inc. (CSC) know they’ve done a good job when their work goes unnoticed. In fact, CSC founder and president Neal Smithers developed the company in 1996 after watching Mr Wolf at work in Tarantino’s cult classic.

In a country as armed and violent as America, CSC certainly has no shortage of business. One client, a national hotel chain that quite understandably wishes to remain anonymous, averages three clean-up calls a day!

Smithers is matter-of-fact about his line of work. His first job was a terminal cancer patient’s shotgun suicide. His second was an obese man who had been decomposing on his bed for three weeks before anyone found him. “A lot of people have the assumption that police take care of the cleanup after a crime, says Smithers. “That’s not true. If Johnny or Sally gets shot in your house, or your store, and there are brains everywhere, it’s your problem. It’s not the police’s responsibility at all.”

It just goes to show that businesses can bloom in even the darkest shadows and there will always be someone who raises their hand to volunteer.

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