Tuesday 19 April 2011

Paying Bills

A much delayed blog post, but what do you want with this subject. Also, the picture is only tenuously related to bill payment (I think she is doing inventory, or maybe invoices:-) but this post needed some colour.

Keeping count

Paying bills involves - of course - motorcycles. Every month, men on motorcycles show up with the new telephone, electricity or TV bill. They hand it over, you give them the cash, they write a receipt, and that's that. If you happen to be away, you have to go pay in person at the utility company's offices.

I suspect that electronic transfers may not yet be totally feasible as an alternative to pay bills. First, you have to figure out the bank branch code for the payee's bank account, which of course is an unknown quantity to them or to their call centre. So you call your bank, who will then investigate and call you back an hour later. Then you set up the payee, and make the electronic transfer, listing your account details.

Sometimes that works.

I recently paid one bill in my wife's name. I made the payment from our joint bank account, listing her name in the message for the transfer. A few days later, they called my wife and informed her the payment had been returned, apparently because it came from me and not from her. After more quality time with call centres I have decided to go pay in person and in cash tomorrow. The company and industry in which it operates shall remain unnamed.

Tuesday 5 April 2011


Now living in a much bigger place than our "cosy Victorian cottage" in London, we bought a desk, a sofa, and a bigger TV. I guess nobody reading this blog (or living in Vietnam) will be surprised at the mode of delivery.

Drive your darling home

Admitted, the motorcycle for the sofa was a three-wheeled pick-up contraption.