Articles

How Czechs Live (8): Without ATM’s and Pay Phones

In Czechs, Life on July 23, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

Sometimes you never realize how important some thing is until you really need it. Czechs in the 21st century living in villages or smaller towns know.

Example: a bank operates an ATM in a small town. According to a cost and profit calculation, the machine is not making profit. And the bank is losing money. It demands that over 200 withdrawals a month be made, otherwise the municipality that ordered the installation would have to compensate the charges. So the bank decides to shut it off, making locals and summer-season tourists having to travel 20 kilometers to the nearest one.

Similarly, not so long ago municipalities would fight with the landline phone company. There is only one in the country, having monopoly, so in a village with population under 1,000 those three grandmas making two-minute calls a week was not enough to keep a public payphone there. And villages that are so small would not have enough money to compensate the costs either.

I must say I haven’t heard of a similar case for a while. Must be because now there are more active cell phones than people (!!!) and even the careful grandmas realized it is better to be in permanent contact with families and if something happens to them it is easy to call an ambulance from a cell phone.

I know a 90 year-old lady who still goes picking mushrooms in the forest and her neighbors know it. So if she gets missing, the rescuers can always track her by her cell phone signal… It happens over here all the time.

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