I was with a friend a few days ago, who needed to change foreign currency into local currency and I told him about the forex ATM which I find quite fascinating. After driving around for a good 20 minutes to a few ATMs that were out of order we finally found one that provides foreign exchange. Excitedly we stepped up to it and the security guard of the building informed us, nonchalantly, that the ATM was out of order. And I began to think about the amount of time that so many of us end up losing chasing services that was promised but not delivered.
I began to think about the past week and the chasing I was doing. The neighborhood I live in did not have any water or power for three straight days. I spent hours waiting for water to come so I can take a shower or spent hours hoping for power to come back. I would then have to leave and go to a coffee shop or a restaurant and pay so I can charge my devices and use much needed internet.
I have also seen the experience of friends who own a technology and internet dependent business who would come to their offices to get work done, and find out that there is no internet. Not because they have not paid their bills, not because they have cancelled their subscription or any fault of their own. So, in addition to paying their monthly internet bill and rent for an office, they now have to either call their clients and delay projects or go to coffee shops and hotel lobbies to get the much needed internet connection to work. They are spending additional cost that they have to absorb and cannot pass to their clients.
And of course my very favorite is the “n…TwRK ylM” that we all hear when we go to the bank, to government offices and so on. It would have been acceptable had these instances been rare and far and few, yet they are very common. So you can find yourself chasing “network” around the city and without access to your own money.
There is a certain level of disappointment that comes with from not knowing whether the services you are paying for would in fact be available in the morning or not. But the most important thing is, the lack of that certainty has a very huge impact in our lives and in our productivity. If we were to calculate the cost of disruption in basic services, I have a feeling that amount would be quite high.
As it stands the risk of uncertainty in the delivery of promised services is one that has to be absorbed by the user, i.e. those depending on the service. The mentality at the moment is that this is “normal”. We are not shocked that there is no power, or water, or internet, or network… Somewhere in the back of our minds, we kind of expect it. If the service disruption is that frequent, there needs to be a serious consideration as to how that cost can be decreased from the subscription fees. If the disruption is not “force majeure” i.e., political unrest and the like, the disruption should not be at the cost of the subscribers. There are many ways that this could be done, from providing a “store credit” or an upgrade of the service for the next month. It does not require any additional cash transaction, and it will be very much appreciated by the subscribers and it will pinch the service deliverers enough to make sure that disruptions are a rarity.