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Posted on 19-08-08, 17:04
Not from my cellphone

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Now that we speak about banking WTFs, let me extend another WTF. This even managed to get my phone involved. Also, PRINTERS, because they hate you and no WTF is complete without those dreaded paper munchers of doom!

Quoting myself, for context:
Posted by tomman
Just last week I lost big time, when the debit card networks decided it was a great time to "chip rejection" (whatever that means), while eating my money in the act. Called $BANK, they say "wait 72 hours, then come back with a formal complaint letter". If I'm lucky, I'll get my money back in FIFTEEN BUSINESS DAYS (i.e. 3 weeks, maybe a month). Normally this is not a big deal, but then, this is not a normal country. When I get my money back, it will be worth half it was worth today (in the best of cases). And yes, this happens to any random guy (or gal) over here at least once a year (the only new bit this time is the "formal complaint letter" - they used to deal with this over the phone, but I guess their call center drones defected to Argentina last year).


Yesterday I went to the bank to file the formal complaint letter (which involved several paper jams and mispicks on my Konica-Minolta printer), since the 72 hours for the automatic reversal elapsed and my money is still nowhere to be seen. The customer service representative lady was not really interested into focusing about processing my complaint since I'm not a retailer bribing her for getting a card (PoS) terminal issued. She goes around, walks in and out several times, talks with the other CSRs about completely unrelated crap, and FINALLY gets her ass back to her desk to actually process my complaint. On this bank, this step involves her filling a Excel form (!??!?!?!!!), printing it out, rubber-stamping it several times, and myself signing it as the last step. Then the whole sandwich of paperwork has to be sent via courier to the main branch, because this bank regressed itself to 1985 or something.

Anyway, the first roadblock was getting the Excel form properly printed. The HP MFP disagreed - the form was getting truncated at the bottom end, like someone forgot to correctly select the proper paper size on the printer driver setup dialogs. "No, that's not it!". After ruining like 4 sheets of pristine (and in this country, quite expensive) blank paper sheets, she finally managed to print it OK, after fiddling with the paper margin setup on Excel. Then, it's my time to place my signature, with the pen supplied by the CSR. The pen which failed when I do the initial stroke of my signature! Oops. No, I can't redo the stroke, as the sekuritah-conscious folks at the main branch would reject it. This means printing the whole form, AGAIN. This time, the pen cooperates and I got my easy-to-forge signature on the damn form. We're done, so I leave the branch and move elsewhere to continue with my daily tasks.

1 hour later, I'm at the other end of the city, already in the bus back to home, waiting to it to start the route since it was a slow day, devoid of passengers, when suddenly the phone rings! It's a SMS from the bank CSR, telling me that I have to go back to the branch to sign the goddamned form AGAIN, because she had forgot to input my account number on it! W. T. F!??!?!?! Dude, how do you even!??!?! After disembarking the bus, claiming my fare back, and switching routes (thankfully the route to this bank branch also starts at the same stop, but on a different car), I'm back at the bank. It was noon already, and with rain looming over this part of the city. The CSR had a new (and this time, properly completed) form ready to sign, complete with the required rubber stamps and other signatures. I'm handed the same faulty pen, and naturally the piece of shit FAILS AGAIN WHEN I'M DRAWING THE INITIAL STROKE.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGHHHHH!!!!

Another printer dance cycle after, I finally got a nicely drawn signature on a properly filled form. Rain is now pouring down outside, and it's still noon. Now, the fate of my money is in the hands of an army of paper pushers several branches away. So much for computers, eh people?!

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Posted on 19-08-09, 00:41
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I'm hearing Entry of the Gladiators while I read this.
:(

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Posted on 19-08-11, 10:05
Stirrer of Shit
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Posted by Kakashi

Yeah, I just showed you why [Japan uses more cash].

Because the existing payment systems are bad?

Posted by tomman
Normally this is not a big deal, but then, this is not a normal country. When I get my money back, it will be worth half it was worth today (in the best of cases).

Have you ever considered the possibility that it might be deliberate? If they "borrow" $1 from you and wait a few weeks, they've earned $0.5 if they invested it in dollars/food/anything. The longer the wait, the greater the returns. What are they going to do, switch banks?

Posted by CaptainJistuce
[The demographic situation] is a huge problem if your handling of the elderly and infirm is not "leave them to be eaten by wolves", as it continues to skew the population distribution and leaves every young able-bodied individual to support a larger number of elderly and infirm individuals.

And no, "so feed them to the wolves" is not the appropriate response.

There are ways around this. For instance, in the long term, labor participation rates should decline due to automation. If managed perfectly, these two trends would coincide, leaving the support burden tenable. That's the only way out of it which doesn't require demographic engineering.

As you note, Japan is in a bit of a double whammy since they both dropped birth rates and extended life expectancy, and now they can't do anything about it in the near term since increasing birth rates again would just further depress the support ratio. (They could of course feed them to the proverbial wolves, but that's difficult and controversial. They could do something like cutting all taxes on cigarettes and hoping people get lung cancer and die while they're still in the black, but it's not exactly polite.)

If they had consistent birth rates and life expectancies, it would be manageable. If their economy weren't so bad, it would also be manageable. But with both at the same time, it's nigh-impossible.

Immigration is a paper tiger, I would argue. Look at the situation in Europe, for instance. It's true that increasing immigration would improve the support ratio on paper, but since the fiscal net gain has historically tended to be negative in the near term, it wouldn't do anything to alleviate the core issue unless Japan manages to handle immigrants better than any other country. Which, for obvious reasons, it will not. That is to say, in the short term, they act effectively identically to retirees.

It's true that a Qatar-like immigration policy would alleviate it at nearly zero cost, but it would be politically impossible. They are already redlining it with the existing policies, so that would be utter suicide, unless they get as sweet a deal with the Americans as their other allies. It's possible that geo-political repositioning would net them less picky overseers, but I don't know all too much about that.

(Even if immigration were a tenable short-term approach, if applying such immigration policies as are popular in the West, they would like all other people eventually grow old, requiring more immigrants, and so on and so forth like a pyramid. This would not only be inefficient, it would lead to a politically impopular demographic shift, as many observers have noted. The electorate realizes all this and makes it politically impossible, to the consternation of Western observers.)

The only politically acceptable long-term solution (well, until they run out of space) is to increase the birth rates, and just take the financial and political hit - it will increase their productivity in the long run. But if they wouldn't have pushed anti-natalist policies in the past with such fervour, they would never have found themselves in this regrettable situation.

In the short-term, things look pretty gloomy. They can't profit from increasing the birth rates. They can't increase the productivity without hurting the economy in the near-term. They can't win on immigration unless they get the type of bulletproofness only the Americans could confer. Deliberately engineering the deaths of people just before they retire is plain rude. They might be able to deliberately engineer a recession with the long-term good of the country in mind, but no politician out to save his own skin would ever even consider it. The escape hatch is that if you start one, you can't really change your mind halfway through and cancel it.

Personally, I'd say what's going to happen is a 50/50 toss-up between a slow, meandering, process of doing nothing and waiting for the demography to stabilize and sacrificing a few decades of growth, or opening the floodgates on immigration and just letting it all go down the shitter. Short of some Hail Mary play, that is. Say self-driving cars exceed expectations, then they'll be celebrating. Unlike every other country, curiously, which will be suffering from mass unemployment. Are they going to argue about how the West should start doing reverse immigration? No, they're much too polite for that.

There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.
Posted on 19-08-11, 10:18
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Posted by sureanem

There are ways around this. For instance, in the long term, labor participation rates should decline due to automation. If managed perfectly, these two trends would coincide, leaving the support burden tenable. That's the only way out of it which doesn't require demographic engineering.

Sorry, how does that help that there's a large and growing population of elderly and infirm resting on the shoulders of an ever-shrinking population of young, able-bodied folks? It seems like it will make things worse by reducing employment opportunities for the folks charged with supporting the aged population.

As you note, Japan is in a bit of a double whammy since they both dropped birth rates and extended life expectancy, and now they can't do anything about it in the near term since increasing birth rates again would just further depress the support ratio.

Yeah, they kinda missed the window to fix things in the near term.


(They could of course feed them to the proverbial wolves, but that's difficult and controversial. They could do something like cutting all taxes on cigarettes and hoping people get lung cancer and die while they're still in the black, but it's not exactly polite.)

That's a long-term solution that should've been enacted a couple of decades ago, so cancer would start showing BEFORE the current crop of retirees ... retired.
And yeah, not really a good plan. Ignoring the moral concerns, cancer is a slow and expensive killer and would probably make the situation worse.

They could've also fixed their work culture so the younger generation had the time and energy to knock their wives/girlfriends/mistresses up before they moved into middle age, thereby avoiding a precipitous crash in birth rate. But they didn't do that either.


The only politically acceptable long-term solution (well, until they run out of space) is to increase the birth rates

And when they run out of space, they can move to take over Korea! It worked so well last time!
...
Even odds whether the South Koreans find japanese rule of North Korea more or less offensive than the status quo.


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Posted on 19-08-11, 12:12
Stirrer of Shit
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Posted by CaptainJistuce
Sorry, how does that help that there's a large and growing population of elderly and infirm resting on the shoulders of an ever-shrinking population of young, able-bodied folks? It seems like it will make things worse by reducing employment opportunities for the folks charged with supporting the aged population.

By my understanding they have a labour shortage, and this is the main gripe - purely fiscally, it's not that bad yet. So for instance, if all the taxi drivers were to get replaced by robots, they would work with something else instead, thus increasing the productivity. For the extreme case, consider the idealistic scenario in which automation replaces all human jobs and pushes the support ratio to 0.

They could've also fixed their work culture so the younger generation had the time and energy to knock their wives/girlfriends/mistresses up before they moved into middle age, thereby avoiding a precipitous crash in birth rate. But they didn't do that either.

Well, that sounds much like the same thing as increasing productivity. Companies don't tend to do things right unless they're forced to. As things are right now, they haven't really had any incentive to make things more efficient. By my understanding, they are restricting overtime already, and it doesn't seem to help. (Only time will tell, but I wouldn't hold my horses.) Whereas, if the economy would contract, companies would be forced to do things more efficiently or go bankrupt. Consider that Japan hasn't really had any recessions in the last thirty years, while the USA/Europe in the same period have had three big ones and a fourth looming.

In the absence of this, a more realistic solution would have been to had undertaken the inverse of the measures that are employed to decrease birth rates in the third world. It is presumably these measures which caused their decline in the West too once upon a time, so it only seems reasonable that their reversal should increase them again. The only country I know of which actually did do this did see an increase, but it also coincided with a war and sharp economic growth, so the evidence doesn't seem conclusive either way. It would also be completely useless now, since higher birth rates at the cost of a lower support ratio would be a lose-lose trade in the short run.


And when they run out of space, they can move to take over Korea! It worked so well last time!
...
Even odds whether the South Koreans find japanese rule of North Korea more or less offensive than the status quo.

Well, if we should be fair here, that's how things will end up no matter what country you are. If you have a growing population, which all modern pension systems and economies presuppose, but constant land area the population density will go up over time, until it's too high. You can solve this problem by either decreasing the population or increasing the land area.

Historically, countries have dealt with both problems at once by going to war, a solution notably advocated for by the Austrian politician Adolf Hitler in his 1925 debut work, Mein Kampf. But other than that, there isn't really any way around it short of starving to death or killing off old people, none of which are very popular. Which is to say, all countries (or at least the democracies) will eventually end up like Japan.

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Posted on 19-08-11, 15:35

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TL&S;DR

So you're basically saying that Australia with it's great immigration policies, booming economy, increasing population and massive land density....is screwed because words. Yup, sounds like you're sure of nothing.
Posted on 19-08-11, 16:40
Stirrer of Shit
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...&S?

You'd have to wait a few years, but sure. Give it enough time, and eventually it will reach some kind of limit. At present, it goes up by about 1.3% a year. Assuming this trend continues, you'd reach the population density of present-day Singapore by 2621. Give it about 600 more years, and you'd reach a population density of 20M/km2, or an area of about 22x22 cm (8.8x8.8") per person.

Obviously, this won't happen - populations tend to level off far before that point, as they are already starting to do in the West. And this is my point: sooner or later, Australia too will find herself in the same situation as Japan: zero population growth, pyramid pension scheme system collapsing, and too few workers to uphold it all.

There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.
Posted on 19-08-11, 16:50
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Posted by sureanem
...&S?
I'm gonna guess "and stupid".
Posted on 19-08-11, 18:53
Not from my cellphone

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What the hell has Australia to do with cellphones?!

Don't tell me that they have to reverse the antennas down there so their phones can actually operate

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Posted on 19-08-11, 19:07
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Posted by tomman
What the hell has Australia to do with cellphones?!

Don't tell me that they have to reverse the antennas down there so their phones can actually operate
Yep. Their radio waves move the opposite direction.

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Posted on 19-08-11, 23:59
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electronics orientation is important to prevent the electrons from falling out
Posted on 19-08-12, 00:08

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Posted by sureanem
S


This is my point. You're just rambling to try to make a point and now you have none. This thread is about smartphones. Talk about smartphones and stop bothering tomman. (No sarcasm)
Posted on 19-08-12, 03:59

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Posted by funkyass
electronics orientation is important to prevent the electrons from falling out

I'll remember to flip my batteries if I ever fly anywhere south of the equator.

I still have no idea what I'm talking about.
Posted on 19-08-12, 11:48

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You're welcome for the alleged shit-posting.

I'm sorry that I've offended your racist, sexist and classist debate-buddy.
Posted on 19-08-12, 11:57
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Posted by KoiMaxx
Posted by funkyass
electronics orientation is important to prevent the electrons from falling out

I'll remember to flip my batteries if I ever fly anywhere south of the equator.
The most important part of any trip.

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Posted on 19-08-12, 15:48
Stirrer of Shit
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Posted by Kakashi
racist, sexist and classist
OK, so serious question, honestly. Is this why you're upset with me, or is it just the uneducated and allegedly inane rants?

There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.
Posted on 19-08-12, 17:28
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I'm thinking a little from column A, a little from column B...
Posted on 19-08-12, 19:24

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Posted by CaptainJistuce
Posted by tomman
What the hell has Australia to do with cellphones?!

Don't tell me that they have to reverse the antennas down there so their phones can actually operate
Yep. Their radio waves move the opposite direction.

Well, they could be circularly polarized in the reverse orientation. Though, like toilets, that wouldn’t be because of the planet’s coriolis force.
Posted on 19-08-12, 19:59

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Posted by BearOso

Well, they could be circularly polarized in the reverse orientation. Though, like toilets, that wouldn’t be because of the planet’s coriolis force.

Oh, so instead of using Ampere's right-hand rule, they're using the left?

I still have no idea what I'm talking about.
Posted on 19-08-13, 01:20
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Posted by KoiMaxx
Posted by BearOso

Well, they could be circularly polarized in the reverse orientation. Though, like toilets, that wouldn’t be because of the planet’s coriolis force.

Oh, so instead of using Ampere's right-hand rule, they're using the left?


they'd be using the left-foot rule.
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