Tacoma Narrows showcased Western fall.

15 Feb

Out-sourcing was supposed to boost the economy of Western nations by reducing costs without loss of quality. There were going to be new jobs in leading edge industries so we would not suffer unemployment.

But the East developed across the spectrum, trailing edge and leading edge, and unemployment became our Western fate anyway.

Privatisation of utilities in the West was supposed to prevent waste of public money without loss of services.

But the regulation baby was thrown out with the bathwater of alleged inefficiency.

Each time I see that video of the bridge at Tacoma Narrows, bucking in the wind as a result of some profit-prioritising young designer second-guessing classic long-proven engineering principles, I think of the mess we are in.

I came to this apartment (that I am leaving on Wednesday) assuming that it would be a simple task to inform the electricity and gas supply company that I was taking over, and give them my meter readings.

We have no more meter man visiting, no more downtown office to register at. The web site is just PR blurb.

The phone is answered by a robot that is designed to keep you waiting (with recorded smoochy public relations smarm) until either your top-up runs out, or the the supply company has clocked up enough premium money, whichever is the sooner.

So I decided to switch from Scottish and Southern because I could get no reply. I tried E-on and got a swift reply because I was calling the NEW CUSTOMER number.

They hesitated within a hair’s width of telling me that I did not exist, but told me that my meters did not exist anyway. The national database of meters did not recognise my case, they told me.

After back and forth in calls, they discoverted my gas meter was named ”number one off [name of road]” -the new built property had not been re-defined from the builder’s informal notation and properly put on the national database.

I had been through enough. I found a flat with pre-payment meter (and electric only) with which one tops up a key at many grocery shops and newsagents, and inserts it in the meter. I am looking forward to Wednesday.

I fully expect that, when I write (via registered letter) giving (1) my closing meter readings, and (2) my new address to which to send the bill/s, I will receive a letter billing me for the guy who was here before me, as well as myself.

The letter will probably ask me (1) whether I would like to come back to the old address, and (2) if I would like to confirm the meter numbers because the apartment does not exist yet.

The state of the British nation, and the entire West as far as I can tell, is one big Tacoma Narrows deal. This bucking structure is gonna break apart.

Footnote from Vincent: I hope the British economy DOESN’T go the way of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – while I may have escaped the cold, wet, over-priced misery of Blighty – all my MONEY is still there!

If the Tacoma Narrows Bridge rings no bells with you, dear reader – THIS is what happened to it when the wind did blow…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: