Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Paper Trails

We were down in Mostar yesterday and today. This provided us with two paper-trail related tales to tell.


Yesterday: Novi Most owns a couple of Volkswagan Transporters, one of which we are using in Jajce. To make fuelling easier about a year ago we got fuel cards from a chain of gas stations that are well represented in Herzegovina. Moving to Jajce we realised they had no forecourts in the immediate area so it was suggested we get a card from a different, Bosnian-based company. Two weeks ago, somewhere in north-west Bosnia, I used this card for the first time. It took the two gentlemen behind the counter fully fifteen minutes of conferring with one another and consulting sheets of A4 paper on the wall be behind the till to finally get the appropriate machine to spit out a little slip of paper for me to sign. Yesterday, I was in the Novi Most office in Mostar when the envelope arrived containing the bill for the account for the last month. There, stapled to the top right corner of the A4 invoice, was the very same slip bearing my signature. I couldn't help thinking that for a company with a nation-wide network of forecourts which are being actively, and very nicely, modernised this system might lack a little in the efficiencies made possible by the digital age.


Today: Amongst other things we found the time to shop for some things we haven't been able to get in Jajce. One was phone/fax machine. Even in Mostar, finding one of these that didn't include the bulky addition of a printer and scanner required a bit of a search. We ended up in a shop called DigiTrends, in the Piramida shopping centre. While the purchase of an unremarkable piece of office equipment would not normally be afforded a blog post this story finds it way online because of the quaint picture of the young assistant hand-writing the receipt in a carbon-copy booklet. For a retailer showing off a fine selection of the latest consumer electronics, surely this is not the digital revolution the shop's name implies!

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