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Will The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up……..


Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832) was an English cleric, writer and collector, well known for being just a little bit odd. I never met him, but I feel he and I could have been friends.  He is best known for stating, “Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery”.

Eminem is the stage name of Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972, yet to die), and is a well known American rapper and songwriter. Eminem famously sang, “And there’s a million of us just like me, who cuss like me; who just don’t give a (*place a cuss word in in here) like me. Who dress like me; walk, talk and act like me, It just might be the next best thing but not quite me”.

I have never met Marshall Bruce Mathers III, but I look out for him every time I visit Arbuckles.

Where am I going with this?

Bare with me.  I do have a point.  Just give me a few more minutes.

Time for a confession.

Many years ago. I was fired from a job.

The year was 1990. I was a young sprat of a lad with hair and everything.

It was fine.  They had every reason to fire me as I was about to leave and start my own version of their business and they had just discovered my cunning and evil plan.

I was though, un-expecting of the dismissal and I was a little dazed as they flung me out of the door.

The sunlight was beaming down as I staggered along Oxford Street in London with my back to Tottenham Court Road and Marble Arch somewhere on the horizon.

As I walked.

I counted.

I counted other businesses of the type that had just fired me and of the type I was soon to give birth.


Two Hunderd and Twenty Three.

If I knew how to write that number in Latin I would now be doing so, but Latin was off syllabus in the 70’s in Stevenage.


I eventually arrived in the office of my new business partner and informed him that I was indeed, bat shit crazy to be thinking of starting this business, because ….223 ! What in heavens name was I thinking?

I expected him to punch me.  He didn’t.  Instead he hit with the story of the bear. It went a little like this.

Two men are walking through a forest.  

Suddenly, they see a bear in the distance, running towards them.  It’s a big bear. It’s not too happy.  It’s hungry. 

The first chap, turns, runs, quickly. 

The second guy, just looks at the bear, looks at his friend, then sits down. 

He takes off his hiking boots. He pulls on his running shoes. 

“What are you doing?” says the other man.  “Do you think you will run faster than the bear with those on?”         

“I don’t have to run faster than the bear,” he says.  

I just have to run faster than you.” 

I like the bear story.  I have always liked the bear story.  And the bear story has been how I have approached the launch of every business I have ever had an involvement.

My business background is a bit like an episode of The Magic Roundabout, that wonderful, 70’s, acid trip of a kids cartoon.

“What you doing this year Simon?

“Oh, I now own a big specialist staffing business in London….

“Hey Simon, haven’t seen you for a while, what you doing now?

“Oh, I make clothes for Heavy Metal Bands…..

“Long time no see Simon, what are you doing now?

“Oh, I’m breeding chickens……

Sorry. I’m rambling.  Let us get back on track.

When I launch a new business (and this one, I promise, is my last) I tend not to look at what my competition is up to.   Instead I do what I want to do and what feels right for me at the time.  As for the competition, I don’t worry one little bit about them.  If they want to worry about me, well, that is their choice.

Except today.

Today I went stalking. It was fun being a stalker.  I stalked all the other Vets practices in the area.  Not in the flesh though like a weird stalker. Just on Facebook like a modern day professional stalker.

Dearie me!

Charles Colton is correct. Imitation is indeed flattery.

And Marshall Bruce Mathers III is also correct. It just might be the next best thing, but not quite me.

I feel blessed that the Vets 1 flippant style is being adopted by a band of happy veterinary brothers and sisters.

Long may it continue.

What would really make me happy though is if they copied another part of our service that is soon to launch.

Nude Friday.

Nude Friday is the new concept we are about to roll out, whereby, on a Friday, between 2pm and 3pm we are going to work, you guessed it,  in the nude.  It’s a kind of back to nature thing.

Fling off your Textiles!

Let the wind wash over you!

Be proud of who you are!

That kind of hippy free love thing.

Wouldn’t it be great if all Vets in the area worked in the buff for an hour every Friday?  Let us see which practice does it first and gets pictures on Facebook ! I can’t wait, I’ll be watching!

And finally.

Copying a competitor’s flippant style is actually quite easy to do and doesn’t take a great amount of skill or courage.

What does take courage, and what in my eyes is a true test of a great business is when what is copied is actually something they should copy on the grounds of, it is morally correct to do so.

Wouldn’t it be just lovely, if someone adopted our policy of not charging registered clients a fee for saying goodbye to a much loved family friend?

What if not charging for that painful visit became the norm in all vets practices?

That would be, well, I have already said it, “Just lovely…..

Nothing would make be happier.

We shall see.