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Norway: a warning from the future

You are 18. You do not live in a big city, but somewhere a little more out of the way. You have taken a summer job working in your local petrol station. After all, what’s the most that this job could demand of you?

Sadly, you have miscalculated, as you live in Norway.


Norway, like the UK, long ago started shutting its post offices and moving postal services into shops—or, often, petrol stations. Banks, too, have been steadily closing their branches, encouraging customers to get cash via cashback in shops and do their banking online—or in their local petrol station. So you may find yourself stuck behind, for example, someone transferring £7,000 from their savings account into her current account, someone taking out three DVDs, someone else wanting a burger and, as above, a Polish guy who neither understands the postal system nor speaks the language and is having to conduct the whole painful exchange in English. It’s bedlam and no-one benefits.

As more post offices close and banks get ever more thoughtful about their local branches, it’ll be interesting to see whether this phenomenally shit consolidation of services takes root over here and, if it does, just how they’ll try to persuade us that it’s convenient and for our own good.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
autopope
Sep. 3rd, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
1. Tesco show up everywhere.

2. Local stores/utility outlets close due to competition.[*]

3. Tesco takes over banking, food sales, rentals, insurance, logistics (the core supermarket chain value proposition) and end up running the rural postal service on the back of their delivery network ...

4. Sooner or later, someone in government realizes that Tesco are the only viable community hub in many villages/suburbs/towns and imposes a universal service obligation.

5. Tesco, lumbered with having to provide these services, goes into receivership.

6. Nationalization and resurrection.

7. (Some time later ...) The wheel turns.

Can I have a cookie, please?

[*] Let's note in passing that WalMart (aka Asda) went whining to the competition commission about unfair competition from Tesco. If that isn't a sign of the Beast, what is?


Edited at 2010-09-03 12:27 pm (UTC)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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