Sunday, June 8, 2008

Little Differences 3

I just saw a bank advert commercial which was boasting about how they offer free chequescks and free ATM withdrawals. So I don't have to pay for you to give me back the money you borrowed from me? That's your selling point?


  1. It's so strange the US isn't it? In many ways the engine behind 'Western' cultural change (whether the rest of the world wants it or not) and yet in others strangely (even quaintly) parochial. Look at their mobile phone networks and their internet. No company in the UK could even dream of ripping of their customers the way the US companies do. One feels like reaching out and trying to slap the American consumer awake - "Look! Look! You're being taken for a ride and because you are completely unaware that the rest of the world exists - you can't see it." Is that funny? Well I guess it is.

  2. Ahh, I've been saving up my thoughts on the phone networks, but how about this:

    A ten minute call to the US from a UK landline without any savings plans costs £1.15 ($2.30).

    A ten minute call to the UK from our US landline without any savings plans costs $27.50 (£13.75).

    Of course, why would would any American want to call international?

  3. Whoa. In Hong Kong, I get 300 free international minutes a month on my landline for "being a good customer". My rental is $85 (USD 11, GBP 5.50) per month with unlimited calls to any local number, incl mobiles.

    With my mobile, which I obviously only use when outside, I top up $50 (USD 6.40, GBP 3.30) for 900 minutes. This is "expensive" as I am not on a contract. My topup can be used to make calls to the US/UK, and 10 minutes would cost just 90p or US$1.70.

  4. By the way, American immigrants and non-whites call international quite often. For this they use calling cards which you can buy in your local Chinatown. You call a local number and they connect you for under 10c a minute. Of course, people in the US tend to _receive_ calls since it is cheaper for their relatives/friends to call in. But still there isn't really any reason to use your normal phone company to make standard overseas calls.

    On the other hand, the UK totally rips you off for gas/petrol and thus transport, and also food. Big Mac meal is US$9 in the UK (British beef) and US$3 in Hong Kong (with American-imported beef)!!!