Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Week

I always try to make at least one post per week on this Blog. Unfortunately, I have Cox bundle service, so all of my Cox services, most notably the Internet, have been non-existent since last Sunday at 9am. Apparently, I live on "the block that Cox forgot." This whole experience has been like having to deal with the Rhode Island's DMV on the home-base level! I call every morning, talk to Cox's tech support, who after thinking my service had been restored, suddenly "discover" that 20 homes on my street remain without any service. I always get the same: "Hopefully your service will be restored by tonight" response. Yeah, but in the long-run, we're all dead! Thank God I have an iPhone (obviously not with Cox), so I can make calls while my Cox phone service "sleeps." And, I am writing this blog post from Starbucks in Wakefield.

As I have been reflecting on all of this and trying to remain constructive, I am VERY thankful that my home, and all of my street, have power. Those who still don't have power are the ones who are truly suffering.

There are a few things I have been contemplating, given all the time I now have on my hands. First, what if Irene had actually been a hurricane, with sustained winds of 70+ mph? Why did a tropical storm do this much damage throughout this state? I'm not buying the duration of winds argument at this point.

Second, my experience in this instance has fortunately been restricted to dealings with the private sector, where alternatives exist if I am unhappy with my existing service. Were this instead related to one of the roughly half of our state's legislators who run unopposed, I would not have had any option for making a change (unless, of course, that person were to commit a felony). Sadly, while the other half of the legislature has opposition, they often end up being re-elected in spite of relatively few accomplishments or problems voters here might have with them. Rhode Island residents are all too willing to complain, but when it comes time to taking action in terms of voting against an incumbent whom one dislikes, this very seldom occurs. Even worse, very few persons here actually bother to vote, even though they are registered!

Why the dichotomy? People would no doubt respond that with Cox, or any private-sector company for that matter, there is actual money on the line. Actually, there is a far greater cost here than one might realize. Permit me to inject a bit of economics here. The cost of anything potentially consists of two parts, the direct or explicit cost, what we actually pay, and the indirect or implicit cost where time is involved in consuming a good or service. In my situation, even though I can get a credit from Cox for service time lost, this will only offset the explicit portion of total cost. The implicit cost, which is related to lost phone calls, Internet, and television (I missed reports on the disastrous employment report yesterday), involves chunks of time because I have been forced to seek alternative ways of having these services. These implicit costs have now become quite high as I move ever closer to the one-week mark. So, contrary to intuition, receiving a credit does not provide total compensation for the services I have lost, anymore than it reflects the total cost involved.

Let me end by moving once again to the statewide level. If anyone is naive enough to believe that retaining incumbent legislators whom persons don't really support is without cost, guess again. There is both the explicit cost, of being forced to pay higher taxes than we should pay given the quality of public services and leadership here, and the implicit cost of the lost time due to our state's celebrated atmosphere of excessive business regulations, time waiting at places like the DMV (blame the system set up, not the workers for this), and the list goes on and on and on. I'll leave it to you to guess which cost, explicit or implicit here, is larger.

No comments:

Post a Comment