Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ridiculous Koreans...

...ridiculously efficient!

Living in Korea comes with its ups, and with those, it obviously, come the downs. One of those downs is the fact that we're still living within this very weird time/space called reality.

Reality dictates several things.
1) You jump off a tall building, you will get hurt.
2) You play with fire, you will get burned, eventually at least.
3) You want to live somewhere...there will be bills that need to be paid.

It's somewhat unfortunate, but as everyone out there (who has lived by themselves) knows that things need to be paid. Houses and apartments don't pay for themselves. There are things like electricity and gas bills, apartment complex levies and waste removal fees, and yes, regrettably, these things also apply in Korea. The difference in Korea is how you go about paying for this horrible accumulation of bills.

Coming from South Africa (which I will add I love and think is a beautiful, amazing country) I know all about inefficiency. I know what it's like standing in a queue at a bank or, more realistically, government department, for an hour, only being told that you were in the wrong queue once you get to the counter. Or the feeling of getting to a counter and being told you cannot be helped with your problem or enquiry, as you need to go the other city's department and do it there. Or possibly even the worst, being told you can be helped but then having to wait ridiculously long periods of time for a simple process.

Why you wait you don't know. Maybe the person behind the counter had a horrible accident and is lying at the bottom of a staircase with blood streaming from their eyes and mouth, unable to muster up enough energy to cry for help. Maybe they have been called in for a disciplinary hearing by their boss and have been fired and are, as you are waiting, in the process of unpacking their desk, crying because their family now has no one with an income to support them...dreadful stuff!

The reality however is usually more the middle of processing your request, they realised it's 12.01 and time for their lunch break, which was then promptly taken!

It came as a huge breath of revitalising fresh air, when we had to pay our first set of Korean bills. This is the process: Walk to the bank. Open the door. Walk to the counter. Greet the person behind the counter (who wants to do his/her job). Put down bills and the corresponding amount of money. Wait approximately 13.249 seconds for them to put the money in the till, stamp your bills and give you the appropriate change. Say goodbye. Leave.

I kid you not. And this process takes about 4 minutes. And those 4 minutes usually include the time you've had to wait after taking a number.

It truly is mind-blowing. I know there are other countries around the world that are as efficient, but I'll say it again, coming from SA this is simply magnificent!

Thank you Korea for making the worst part of my reality a completely painless experience!
Post by Oliver


Anonymous said...

Yea, it's quick but in my bank you can't pay at the desk and are forced to use the automated bill paying service - this takes like 30 seconds. Of course, there are no instructions on how to use it in English, not that there should be, so I have had to learn how to use it. The problem is with a few months between paying bills I always forget how you do it.

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