Dreaming of a Long Time Ago

April 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

There was a time not so long ago when things were easier. There was a rhythm in the flow and ebb of Australian life that saw time to come together, to walk along the beach, to kick a footy, have a swim at Maroubra and then a bacon and egg roll with a few mates before we all went to work. Fortunately for me that time is coming closer again. A time when I have that last juggle trying to get my safety glasses off and sunnies on as I exit the hole into the bright light of the day for the last time. Yes….retirement.  Actually, it’s not such a big deal, I’ve retired before, I was back at work within a week. But that’s not the point.

Yes, old people say that life was easier years ago and we all think they say that because their brains are fading and they can’t keep up with modern technology. Yes, I am getting older and maybe I am falling into that trap. But what if they were right? What if life was actually easier in the older days? I remember lecturing a first year mining engineering subject when I was doing my PhD (yes, a hard rock miner with a PhD…..Dr Rock). I asked that class to name a single field of human endeavour where computers had helped mankind.

“That’s Easy”, said one pimply faced graduate of a north shore private school. “What about banking?”. I explained that before computers you had to go into the bank, they had LOTS of banks EVERYWHERE and they had a crapload of counters and tellers. Those tellers could do anything. They could arrange cards, give you money, do your insurance, book a holiday, open accounts, close accounts, etc. The bank provided a service to everyone and they made a profit. These days, the bank just makes profit. What little service they offer is purely driven by profit. Look at the Commonwealth bank financial advisory debarkle and their latest insurance scandal…..in any other industry people would be facing gaol time. But the banks are almost an arm of the government these days and they can do whatever they want. And this is my point…..things were easier in the old days because companies offered a service. Now, they just want your money and they are prepared to lie and cheat to get it.

In everyday life, we are all now constantly under threat from the mercenary strategies of every colour of government and private organisation. For example; in the old days you used to be able to walk into a travel agent and book a flight knowing exactly what you are getting. These days, you have to be a forensic expert simply to work out if your ticket includes baggage. Are you allowed one bag or 2? Does the total add up to 20kg or is it 20kg per bag? If you buy allowance for an extra bag, how much are you allowed to carry in that bag? Let’s ring the airline….good luck with that!

My eldest is off to cairns next week with Jetfail and we have no idea what we have actually bought in terms of luggage allowance. The risk is on us and you pay extra to minimise the risk. Remember the old days when the risk was on the airline? Everyone had a big bag allowance and the airline had to hope they had space. Now, the airline oversells its baggage allowance by charging everyone for their baggage and having everyone pay for more than they need because they are wearing the risk.

Same with Telstra. In the old days you paid for what you used. Now you have to take the risk that you will have enough call time and data each month, so you buy more than you need. Everyone buys more than they need so the carrier is able to oversell its products.

The one I love is the NRMA. You pay for insurance for your car, but they never tell you what they are going to pay you if have an accident. So, in effect, what you are buying is not insurance, you are buying the right to argue with them about what your car is worth if you have an accident. The risk is on you. They can decide your car is worth whatever they want it to be worth. Every year your premiums go up, even though your cars is worth less.

“But parts become more expensive”, they say on the phone reading from the scripts they have been given for when customers complain they are getting less and being charged more. Let’s not even talk about petrol prices.

So, dear friends, we all now live in a society where everyone is out to get you, even the damn police hide behind bus stops so they can CATCH you speeding as opposed to trying to STOP you speeding. We are in constant battle with corporate and government Australia who are trying to screw us, instead of trying to offer us a service. We are under constant threat and I believe that constant threat takes up our time and adds to the anxiety and pressure of life. All of these companies would tell us that they are making changes to help serve us better….spin, spin, blah, blah.

It WAS easier a few years ago. There was an expectation and a sense of fair play. Now, it’s every man for himself.

Dog eat dog.

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