No doubt about it, the young in the Czech Republic have not adopted all their parents’ ways of life.
After extensive research and a year of off-and-on procrastination, I decided which Internet service to get in my house. (I’ve been spending way too much time in the bowling alley lately, and the media empire has been suffering.) So after comparing numbers and features and gotchas it came time to figure out how to go about ordering the service. With some help from Soup Boy I looked over the Web site for a contact number. Nada. I mean, why would a telecommunications company ever want to do business over the phone.
What was listed was a bunch of addresses for retail outlet stores. One was listed on Starostrašnicka (translates to “Old Horrible Place”). Since I live in neighborhood of Horrible Place I figured that street couldn’t be far away.
I was right. It turns out I was on that very street and didn’t even know it. I left the bowling alley and half a block down was the store. What could be simpler? Of course, that was on Saturday, so it was closed.
I went back today and this is where things got decidedly un-czech. I walked into the Eurotel outlet, and after determining that his English was better than my Czech (no surprise there), He proceeded to provide friendly, efficient, and courteous service. He answered all my questions, and went through the paperwork and found all the information I would need to provide, so when I came back with a final decision we could take care of everything.
Kafka would be disoriented in that place, to say the least. That last bit, the proactive bit where he anticipated trouble and forestalled it, that is something you’re not often going to find coming from someone who sits behind a counter in this country, a land of bureaucratic line-standing and catch-22’s.
I have noticed, on the whole, that the younger generation here is much more service-oriented than those who lived under the communists, where service was almost a dirty word, and making extra work was considered patriotic. In this case, I’m glad to see the old ways dying.