Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Utility day

Today was dedicated to utilities. It took me more time than I expected it to, but it was a good experience. The concept of marketing in the States is so much more developed than what we had back in Israel. See, in Israel - a very small country where everybody knows everybody - you always know where the best price is or at least where to find the best price. Price is the #1 factor when purchasing. Right after that is reputation which quickly flows from mouth to ear and therefore is almost equal to relationship (past or present relationship you have with the seller or provider of service). For example, we all hate our cable operator (in Israel we have one cable operator* and one Satelite operator). They "forget" to tell you that the special deal you're on expired and simply charge you more without notifying you repeatedly. The digital TV gets stuck a lot. The box set has A detector for food so that whenever you bring food to the TV room, the VOD stops working. I guess it's because it's not healthy to eat and watch TV.
The cable company is called HOT and there's even a website called I hate HOT

Back to the point, due to a long lasting (bad in this case) relationship with the company I'd prefer not to use their services. However, if the prices are seriously lower (like 33% than the competitor Satelite TV) I may get cable.

Today I experienced a different way of making decisions. I was connecting to my power provider and when I was done, was automatically transfered to a partner that can refer me to different service providers. Since I'm moving in, this is logical that I'll need these and rather than searching for them, they just appear at the other end of the phone line.

Another experience was when i was comparing quotes for my car insurance, getting one quote, I wanted to seek other's to compare. The customer service rep almost left me no choice but to agree that he calls me back in an hour, which is logical, and thanked me for allowing him to, which was weird. Before he let me go though, he spent like 30 seconds on selling me the strong points for getting insurance from the company he works for. He did that so convincingly that in my mind a feeling of trust and the idea that they are always available for me 24/7 and will actually help when I need them existed. Thinking back these were exactly the points the rep repeated with much charisma.

Maybe in Israel we don't know how to do that. Maybe we can't bullshit or we all know it's bullshit so we feel that it's stupid or empty. I ended up buying from that guy although his quote was a few bucks higher than the competition.

I meant to write that the day was productive, but the fact is that I only managed to get renters insurance and some furniture purchased. I still have a lot of summer reading and 2 prematriculation tests to do before I am allowed to take classes. I'll be renting a truck (yes you can drive a truck in the States with the same license!) and driving to Charlottesville with all my stuff to my new apartment (that will only be available the day after). Meanwhile Camp Darden** is still up. We drove to C'Ville*** on Friday to attend a party which was a lot of fun. Class of 2010 seem like a terrific bunch.

* There used to be a few companies, but they all united to one company - I think it was just admitting that there really isn't any competition so why fake it - but it's just my opinion
** Group activities of Dardenites in C'Ville during prematriculation such as pool/parties, bowling, pubs, golf, etc.
*** Charlottesville, VA

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