Life in Australia

| #Australia |

It’s bloody weird here. It’s as if Australia’s stuck in some sort of pre-revolution world where corporations are not answerable to their customers, where fundamental services can just go dead without explanation or apology, where things just run out.

Last week the power went out for over an hour. It was a clear evening, no storms, and suddenly BAM, no power. I can’t even remember the last time this happened, it was so long ago. Before Australia, I mean. Here it happens a lot, as if electricity isn’t something that can be controlled and guaranteed. It’s still a mystery, it’s hard.

Our internet at the office has been spotty lately. It’s on for a couple of hours, it’s off for a couple of hours. Like Canada, Australia has been divided into two non-competing territories between (in this case Fox Cable and Optus Cable), and where there’s no competition there’s no love for the customer. Calls to Optus go virtually unheeded. There’s no problem, sir. A few other complaints, yes, maybe ten in your area, but there’s no problem. The earliest a tech can get out here is ten days from our first complaint, as if having a node go down simply doesn’t matter.

The other day the gas station ran out of gas. Can anyone tell me why this isn’t incompetence of the highest order? As if it’s hard to build stockpiles, reservoirs, or accurately predict demand? And don’t get me started on the general acceptance of gas prices that shoot upwards every weekend! It’s preposterous.

And Australians, by and large, accept it without comment or complaint.

[ Jan 17 2006 ]

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