Say Hello to Kool Barbados


Barbados Light & Power + Starcom = Stone Age Customer Service by wardenid

Published today, a Caribbean-wide survey commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Digital Statistics Department shows important Barbados companies are still conducting business as if the Internet had never been invented.

Survey leader Allen Rosenshine said he was astonished to see Barbados Light & Power, the island’s only electricity provider, was stillstamp using a form of paper invoice developed during Word War II in Britain to save precious paper. “It’s quite quaint really,” he said, “we haven’t seen bills like this in use for over 20 years. We have some in our archives and we definitely thought they’d been retired worldwide apart from last year in Zimbabwe where they were re-introduced for a short period last year after paper became scarce and inflation reached 26,000 percent. But were stopped soon after when Zimbabwe did actually run out of paper.

“What’s particularly odd is to see an electricity provider ignoring the Internet for customer payments. But I suppose when you’re a monopoly you don’t need to rush things.”

Rosenshine said this was by no means the island’s most egregious non-use of online payment facilities. “A company called Starcom Inc, which apparently represents DirecTV in Barbados is still using a form of payment first spotted shortly after Queen Victoria’s Coronation in 1838. They send a bill by post, the customer pays by check and Starcom issues a detailed hand-written receipt to which is affixed a postage stamp to prove the bill has been paid. I wonder if Rupert Murdoch knows about this?”

Microsoft’s Bill Gates praised the survey for conclusively showing progressive West Indian firms are catching-up with the rest of the Free World by offering electronic billing and payment facilities. “But when companies so directly associated with cutting-edge technology like Barbados Light & Power and DirecTV still use checks and hand-written receipts it makes me optimistic that we still have a long way to go before the market is saturated.

“It also makes me want to go back to Barbados again – I haven’t been there for 10 years – to see how people lived in Victorian times.”

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And remember, you read it here first.

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