The Not So Cool Things About The Great USA

This is a living post. I will add more items as I remember them. Here’s the not so-short list:

  • Obsolete banking. For some reasons, people in the great United States of America are clingy to the obsolete mean of paying others: checks. Can you believe that? CHECKS! Checks are problematic, slow to process, easy to misplace, untrustworthy, killing trees, impractical, and having equal if not greater risks of identity theft. And you know how we pay bills in USA? By checks! Some major banks offer online services called “Paying Bills Online”. Great! But coming from a country where we literally wire transfer bill-payment, I set a high expectation on this “Paying Bills Online” system. It turned out that this system is merely an order system for the bank to write checks on your behalf and then send the checks to the biller through snail-mail. How primitive and insecure is that? It’s like the old telephone switching system: cool on the outside (you can talk to anyone as long as you know their number), but not-so-cool in the inside (operators have to literally “connect” you to the right port manually in order for you reaching the intended number; and of course, “wrong numbers” reply were so common back then). Besides, I have to pay my bills 5-7 days in advance of the due date to ensure “timely” payment. That 5-7 days window is the time allowed for the snail mail to reach the biller address, and then it’ll obviously take the biller another 2-3 days to clear and cut the checks. With BPAY system in Australia, I can pay my bills 1 or 2 business days before the due date and I believe my biller can access the money as soon as the wire arrives. People in US love checks so much, that IKEA warehouses have to tell them off (politely of course). IKEA put posters on every cashier that in a nutshell say something like “technology is advance these days, so we regrettably only like your debit or credit cards; but not your checks”. Thank you IKEA, you remind these folks how several light-years behind they are. And ooh, US banks actually charge you if you transfer money online to your buddies, but they don’t charge you if you use checks. It’s the opposite in Australia.
  • Power outage. I live in Australia for 7 years and not even once, I experience power outage. I’ve been in New York only 2 months, and already experienced my first black-out. Unbelievable…
  • 110 Volts…, and therefore no electric kettle. Have to go back to whistling stovetop kettle. DARN!
  • Self-service multibay car-wash with high-pressure water guns is rare as hen’s teeth.

Posted on July 21, 2006, in Non-Sense. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. andrian Dwiadmodjo

    Public transport in US is very bad. Without a car, it’s almost impossible to get anywhere on time. Once, I took bus from West LA to Disneyland in Anaheim by bus, and it took 2 hours vs 30′ by car.

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