I REMEMBER a few things from studying physics in school: How a fridge and headphones work and that the short questions in Section A were very handy for marks so make sure you do a good job on them, lads. One of the most memorable concepts was a bit more obscure — the moment of inertia.
Officially, it’s the mass property of a rigid body that determines the torque needed for a desired angular acceleration about an axis of rotation.
Or when it comes to being a consumer — it’s the moment where you think about changing service provider and then do nothing about it. This can be best summed up by a conversation I had with my bank when they brought in bank fees.
“So if I don’t keep my balance above a certain level even if it briefly dips below, I have to pay all these charges.”
“That’s an outrage. Well if that’s your attitude to me as a loyal customer, I’m going to move my money .”
“That’s a pity but if you feel you must, Mr O’Regan.”
“I do feel I must. I’m going to do it.”
“Fair enough Mr O’Regan.”
“Ah, Mr O’Regan? ....”
“You’re still here four years later. Is there anything else you need help with?”
I do have some other accounts. They’re like buying in IKEA. Great storage, but you need to have something to put in them. The other impediment to me exercising my rights, apart from inertia, is getting distracted.
Maybe it will change when Facebook bring in a form of banking. I get distracted by Facebook so much that surely it would lead to the most focused period of banking I’ve ever done.
However I’m not sure I want any Facebook-style targeted advertising while doing my banking. Will I get ads based on what I spend my money on? Who wants to see ads for comfortable underpants as they go about their banking business?
Well if I don’t like it, I can always switch to the Bank of Instagram. Because that will make my money look like old money.
Sometimes there is no distraction — like when someone comes to the door offering to break through my inertia and help me switch provider.
Then the conversation went along the lines of ...
“So if you see here Mr O’Regan the savings you could be making ...”
“Ah we’re grand the way we are.”
“You don’t want to save money?”
“No, it’s grand. Honestly.”
I’m almost curled up in the foetal position on the doorstep until he goes away. It’s not that I don’t want to save money. My inertia has been overcome by an even more powerful force — that of being wrong but not wanting to admit it. Plus I’m distrustful of salesy types with their good skin and confidence.
But I hear it’s worth shopping around for health insurance so I’m definitely going to do something about that. This time I will march in, dramatically take my business and go out the door to somewhere else. I’m going to do it. Well, in a moment.
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