Looking back over the past week and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.
Protecting our vulnerable
I’ve talked about his before but I have recently been reminded that changing technologies don’t benefit us all. I’m visiting my dad, he’s been in hospital, and he asked me to pay his Visa bill at the local Kiwibank part of the Post Office. He was worried about penalty fees and it seemed like an easy thing to do. I went in – with the cash and the bill and was told that Kiwibank don’t process payments unless it’s the cardholder paying themselves. I said my dad wasn’t well and couldn’t actually move, let alone stroll in to pay a bill. Trying to be helpful, the helper person suggested he could use internet banking. I explained my dad didn’t want to do that as he didn’t trust that system. I know he’s not alone in that and I worry about his vulnerability to scammers as it is, even though he’s relatively savvy about it.
Why do we make it so hard for Kiwis who have grown up with and become familiar with banking systems they trust, only to remove them and make it more difficult? Eradicating cheques may have seemed like a fine plan for most of us but some relied on that system to pay bills and it was easier than having to travel somewhere to pay in person. For the life of me I can’t see why a third party cannot pay a bill for someone else, especially when they are doing it for someone who is unable physically pay it. We hear about the struggles of elderly Kiwis and we sympathise – but why do we make it so hard for them that they lose faith in institutions they have mainly trusted their whole lives?
0 stars – I’m sure Kiwibank is not the only bank that does it – but come on – it’s Kiwi bank, for Kiwis, not just everyone who isn’t of particular ages.
Men in black deliver
It’s been a strange few years for All Blacks fans. Results have been patchy, unwanted records have been broken, and the invincibility of the team has been gone. The coach and coaching staff have been vilified and we find ourselves in a unique position whereby the current coach has only a few games to play before being replaced by the coach who will take over after the World Cup.
Kiwis are incredibly partisan when it comes to rugby – fans of their province or Super franchise and then fans of the national team. I was raised in Canterbury and I can remember cold days on the embankment at Lancaster Park watching the All Blacks, listening to some in the crowd booing when Grant Fox was teeing up a kick. A few felt that Robbie Deans should be in that position, not our premier goal kicker who played for Auckland. We’ve evolved from that I hope but the Foster/Robertson situation has again brought up regional tribalism and it isn’t always pretty.
So with nothing to play for and nothing really to lose, Foster’s All Blacks upended the betting odds and the expectations of most critics – paid or armchair – and delivered a fantastic performance to beat Ireland in the quarter final in the weekend. You’ve got to admire the grit and determination that held out Ireland in the last minutes of the game and the resolve that hasn’t always been evident in recent years.
5 stars – a magical game and a great result. Good stuff!
‘Unlucky’ 13 lowers property value
Who would have thought that a superstition actually lowers the value of house? Not me, for one. It seems that the number 13 is both good and bad news for homeowners – bad for those selling and great for buyers who don’t give a fig about omens and the like. This week The Telegraph in the UK reported that selling a house numbered 13 actually lowers the price on average by 5,000 pounds.
“Analysis from Rightmove found that properties with the number 13 on their front doors are worth £354,793 on average, in comparison to an average price of £360,126. Researchers, who studied data from valuations of more than 10m properties across Britain, also found that homes with the lucky number seven typically had an above-average estimate of £365,590.” (Source: Number 13 ‘knocks £5,000 off house price‘, by Chas Newkey-Burden, 13 October, www.theweek.com).
5 stars – it’s always a treat to see the results of some our superstitions.