Friday, May 26, 2006

New Code for Football

The "friendly" football (soccer) match between Australia and Greece brought out a fever, that probably took the Australian team by total surprise.
Having gained a place in the world cup, the focus has been on soccer or as it is becoming more and more referred to as, football.
95,000 people is a HUGE crowd by anyones standards. The interest in the game seemed to be greater than any other sporting event over the past years:
  • Work Colleagues organising to go to Fed Square to watch the match
  • People asking around for spare tickets
  • Radio/TV broadcasting live before the match
  • City streets closed
  • People racing off to watch the match
If it's anything to go by, I can't wait for the world cup! There are going to be some very tired people at work next month.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Flying with no engines

My first time gliding was Saturday just past and it was quite different from what I expected. When I say gliding I mean gliding in a thing that looks a bit like a plane, not hang gliding.
Being winched up was quite an adrenalin rush as you go from 0 - 100km/hour in 3 second, then pulled up in the air at a 45 degree angle until about 1500 feet before releasing from the cable.
Then you are free, the only sound is that of the air rushing past around you. Fortunately we managed to get into a few thermals and climbed another couple of hundred feet.
Gliding is so peaceful after the initial winch, but very much depedent on the weather.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Farewell and Good Riddance

Finally I ended my association with an Australian bank that believes it can be arrogant, provide poor value for money and charge you excessively. The reply to my letter was the last straw.

I wrote to them, making them aware that they were just not providing a good deal and detailed competitors offers. A reply to the letter is here, and makes interesting if not laughable reading and highlights their total arrogance towards customers.

To address a few misleading statements
  • "Businesses through the world charge customers for services they provide. Banks are no different from other businesses in this respect."
Yes banks are different, the principle behind banking has been to make money from interest, not fees. Banks in the UK don't charge fees on regular accounts, in fact my relatives were amazed that most Australian banks did.
  • Most customers would agree that it's fair to pay fees for bank services, as long as they receive value in return.
Show me some evidence! Read this. Many customers, if not most, are very annoyed at the bank's justification of charging fees with record massive profits. Where they pull this line from I do not know.
  • yarda, yarda, lowest interest rates mean lower margins, people are paying less overall
Yes, perhaps this is true, but the costs in providing banking have also reduced. They operate less branches (my local branch closed 5 years ago) and less staff. Why shouldn't the bank pass reduced costs on to customers? Other businesses do. BTW the interest rate on my credit card was 17.9%.
  • "Providing subsidised services is really the roll of Government"...
Oh what good samaritans! That 4 billion dollar profit could have been higher if it weren't for those petty low income earners.

Come on government, regulate this ridiculous behavior. Thank goodness not all banks feel the need to treat their customers with such contempt.