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People of Britain: You know that you're not locked into using the same ISP forever, right?


The trouble with choice is what kind of choices you're given. No, I'm not trying to imply that choice is a bad thing - it shouldn't be, in a sane world. But we don't seem to be in a terribly sane world in a lot of ways.

Take electricity and gas supply, for example. It used to be that for either your only option was to speak to the Electricity Board or the Gas Board. You could walk into their shops and get things sorted. Simple. I liked that. Now we have multiple choices, all with differing charging regimes and all to supply the same electrons or gas molecules. In essence, the only thing that you're doing is choosing which set of admin staff you want to send you your bills. WTF?! And you have no option but to phone or email them.

Then there's 'phones. Oh my.. - I positively HATE mobile phone companies - all of them. Every single one that I've encountered seems to be positively trying to confuse one with their charging regimes. All of them insist on the inclusion of crap that I have no interest in, and some things - like an ansaphone facility - that I REALLY do not want. All of which leads me to feel that my only choice is between which set of rip-off merchants I give my money to, as none of them provides the simple service that is all that I want or need. Don't even get me started on 'phone manufacturers.. REALLY don't.

The situations with trains is both as bizarre as with power utilities (no real choice if you need to catch a train from A to B) and even more frustrating because when things go wrong, its not that uncommon for the people owning the actual rail, the people owning the trains and the people running the stations to be different companies, and you can bet your boots they'll do their best to blame each other for any problems when they can get away with doing so. Long gone are the halcyon days when you can just send British Rail a stiff letter from Mrs A Cantankerous-Biddy expressing ones displeasure at the poor service the previous day.

Choice is good when it enables you to actually get a difference in quality of service, or to choose a service that gives you what you want no more, no less. In these days of featuritis, buck passing and regarding customers as marks rather than, well, valued customers, a lot of the choices we're presented with nowadays seem pretty bogus and meaningless to me.

Personally, I've stuck with the same ISP for, well, durn, over 20 years now because they supplied me with a service adequate to my needs at a price I don't mind paying, and the very few times I've had problems, their customer support has been excellent, so why would I bother looking elsewhere or going through the hassle of switching? I have plenty of things to do in life besides trying to choose between suppliers of stuff and services, switching, and dealing with the fallout therefrom!

Right, I'm off back to the old biddy's home!

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