Archives for posts with tag: Convenience

Do you remember the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’? You’d hear it all the time, until apps started to tail off a year or two ago, to be replaced by web-responsive-designed websites. So now it’s a case of ‘there’s a website for that.’

The other day I landed at Galway train station for a meeting, but I wanted to post a letter first. I don’t know Galway city well enough to remember where all the post boxes were, and I’ve mentioned before how they’re quite scarce compared to their UK counterparts.

‘Wouldn’t it be great if someone designed a website that told you where your nearest post box was,’ I thought. ‘Wait a minute, may be there is.’ A minute later, a search for ‘post box near me’ led my phone to offer up postboxmap.com. I located the nearest postbox, a 1-minute walk away, and I was off to my meeting with 5 minutes to spare.

Maybe I could have simply asked my smartphone verbally rather than through google, and maybe I’ll be tapping keys much less often in future, but I was still very pleased to have found what I needed in such a short space of time.

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When I lived in the US I loved the drive thru. One of the benefits of living in a country which is relatively new and whose growth exploded at the same time as the growth of the motor car, is that places are geared to arrival and departure with the combustion engine. The US can be a very convenient way to do drive thru business.

Drive thru fast food, banking, liquor stores, car washes, and even drive thru mail boxes which are a fantastic thing; there are so many ways to get what you need done on the move.

Drive thrus never caught on as much in the UK and Ireland, probably because of the infrastructural thing I alluded to. Fast food stores like McDonalds abound in Ireland, but that’s about the only sector that has embraced it. I can think of one cash machine drive thru in south Dublin, that’s it.

Did I mention how convenient a drive-thru mailbox is? The alternatives for someone in a car faced with an inner city or inner town post box is to park and walk and post and walk and drive off, or else block the traffic and send a passenger or yourself to the post box for a few seconds which are agonisingly long for both you the driver and the vehicles behind you.

Of course, we’re being discouraged to drive less, walk or ride for a short trip, and generally take better care of ourselves and the planet, which I’m totally on board – rather than bored – with. Often, though, we bundle our errands and things to do into a single time-saving, efficient trip on the way to somewhere in the car, and for that the drive thru is invaluable.

They say that three’s a crowd, but for me there’s something elegant, memorable and succinct about groups of 3.

I like the grouping of that particular number. We seem to be locked into the number 3 in a way that 1, 2 or a number greater than 3 can’t really get to. Maybe that’s why we feel so comfortable with TLAs, those handy ways of summarising a sometimes difficult concept inĀ  3 easy letters. NGO, PVC, and of course TLA; each industry or milieu has a gazillion of them, serving as shorthand, occasionally inclusive but also sometimes excluding.

Business seems to be fond of the number 3 as well. Getting 3 quotes is always advisable, 3 key metrics is a good management starting point, and a good presentation slide starts with 3 bullet points. I know I’m easy with it, and many times in my writing, from this blog to reports and even books, I find myself grouping my phrases into 3’s. You can see an example in the first line of this post. Another example might be ‘let’s make sure we have a good session tomorrow, keeping it simple, focusing on the basics, and staying on track.’

So I shall continue my attachment to groups of 3. I like it, it works for me, and I think it resonates with my audience.

I did a stupid thing the other day.

I packed for a trip to the UK from Ireland, and forgot the power pack for my MacBook Air. Realising the error of my ways, and with an hour’s juice left, I went online to see if I could get one delivered to me the same day. I had heard that with Amazon Prime Now you can get stuff delivered in big cities like London within the hour, which was perfect.

I couldn’t see any Prime Now offers for the charger I needed. Then someone told me that Prime Now was a mobile thing, so I needed to download the app. I couldn’t find the app, which was when that same someone told me I probably couldn’t see the app because I lived in Ireland where Prime Now was not available. No problem, I’ll change my country to the UK in my Amazon settings. Except that it’s not straightforward and you have to jump through a lot of hoops to do it.

No problem said that same someone, I’ll order it for you with my Prime Now app and get it delivered here to the office. Great, except that the app wouldn’t allow him to change the delivery address from his home to the office. Not a good first impression…

We gave up. I walked 3 minutes to a local electrical store, they had the power pack I needed, which I bought, and I was back in the office in 15 minutes.

You see, when your ecommerce technology fails your customers, they leave you and go back to good old bricks and mortar.