What Happens When Labor is Cheap


My internet service is available on a month-by-month basis.  That means I have to renew it at the end of every month.  Expressing the intention to renew is easy—a reminder pops up a week before the deadline when I log on, and I can “renew” online or even by sending a text message on my cell phone.  But that’s where the easy part ends.  I can’t pay for the new month online, or by credit card, or over the phone.  Instead, the internet company sends someone to my door to collect my cash payment.  Of course, I have to be home to make the payment.  This presents more of a problem.  I work all day, which is exactly when the internet reps like to come.  I have to call multiple times to ensure that they come late in the evening, after I fight the traffic home—and I assume they, too, spend quite a bit of time trying to get to my door.  On the surface, this seems like a very expensive way for the internet company to conduct a financial transaction.  But labor here is cheap, so why bother making the payment process more efficient?

Similarly, I had to buy a table to furnish my apartment.  I took advantage of ordering by catalogue to save myself a 2-hour round trip to the “nearby” store.  But then I had to make time in the middle of the work day to commute home to receive the delivery of the table.  Then I had to go home again in the middle of the next day to receive the crew that was sent to assemble the table, because the same people can’t deliver and assemble a table in the same visit.  All of this cost both me and the furniture store time and money.  But why make this process more efficient when labor is cheap? 

On the plus side, while I sit here waiting for the internet rep to come and collect my next payment, I have the time to write a blog entry.

2 Responses to “What Happens When Labor is Cheap”

  1. Mark Says:

    Since labor is so cheap, why not hire someone to wait at your apartment and make the payment/receive the table/receive the table-builders for you?

  2. Hilary Says:


    Thanks for your remarks, I’m enjoying reading about your experiences. Our folks are old friends so I often hear about your adventures, but your comments put an interesting perspective on it all. I look forward to hearing more.

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