Bring on the death of paper billing and paying in person
Like most people the only mail I enjoy getting are personal letters, invitations and birthday cards. Like most people I also hate getting bills.
They’re inefficient, a waste of paper, postage and labour. I also hate lining up to pay them, and don’t hang out for “personal interaction” with the lady at the Post Office.
I also never remember to find a post box and when I have something to send by mail usually find it in the bottom of my hand bag ten days after it was due.
Electronic bills, sent by email or SMS, however, I always pay on time. It is easy, quick, and doesn’t require the use of my legs.
This morning Telstra is being slammed for introducing a $2.20 administration fee for people who want to pay their phone bills in person or by mail.
People swamped talk-back radio lamenting the death of personal face-to-face service, as if it’s a Constitutional right to hand over our well-earned to a harried Post Office worker, or trapse to the post-box rain, hail or shine.
One man texted one radio program declaring he “hit the roof” when stamps went from 50c to 55c and was therefore beside himself about Telstra’s move. The delicious irony of him using SMS to lament progress was lost on the presenter.
Somewhere this idea has crept in that face-to-face contact with the phone, gas, electricity, TV or name-your-utility-here company is a human right. By the same definition any company that seeks to streamline their operation by using that nifty technology known as “computing” is in breach of this code.
Telstra has said it will exempt pensioners and those with a disability from the charge.
Anyone else who insists on the same service they got in 1950, will have to pay for it. The spin off may be those self-funded retirees who have yet to embrace the digital age (and they’re the exception now, I reckon, rather than the rule) might be dragged into the 21st Century.
They survived when we stopped getting paid in cash and started having the money deposited into our bank accounts.
They survived when cars switched from super to unleaded.
And they’ll probably survive this.
If it encourages them to sign up for electronic banking it might even free them up for more exercise and socialising with their family and friends. You never know, Telstra might have started something.
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