Deviating from hair, I thought for those of you interested in tales about Netherlands might like this. I am not one to do things for a monetary reward. I regard money as a means to live, enjoy life and whatever is an excess is wonderful to enrich the lives of others. I absolutely do value money but I do not let it rule my life. In Netherlands, I am struck by the lack of value for money. Here are a few examples:
Shopping: Cents Do Not Count
As an example, the vast majority of shops never give out change in cents/pennies. Therefore if your bill comes to 24.34 the bill is rounded up to 24.40. It is always rounded up not downwards. This irks me because it does not make sense for businesses to price things in cents and I am essentially gifting the business a few cents which add up to a whole lot more over the course of a year. The fact that Dutch shoppers do not find this objectionable is strange.
Health Insurance: Pay the Government, Pay Privately
The second aspect that convinced me of the lack of care for money is the health insurance system. Health insurance is mandatory here in Netherlands and there are a multitude of companies to choose from however the basic rate that is charged across the board is 100 euros. The concept of competition does not exist..........how exactly are these insurance companies going to be motivated to give value for money? Furthermore, despite having to pay for private insurance, you are still taxed for health care in your salary. So what is the point of a government taking money for health care and additionally making you take out private health care?
Income Tax: Double the charge
In Netherlands, a salary attracts a wage tax. This wage tax is essentially your income tax charge which is withheld by your employer and paid to the government. However the wage tax is part of what the Dutch call the gross gross salary. Your salary minus the wage tax makes up the gross salary and guess what..........this is taxed again! It is odd to me that again the Dutch do not object to this and just accept it
Customer Services - What customer services?
It is very typical to walk into a shop and find two workers chatting away. These conversations are not work related, they can be about handbags or how the football went or what happened at the weekend. This conversation must be finished before you are served. There is no sense of value for the customer's time and in my view that points to a lack of value for money because you can bet your life I will not be walking into your shop again. I choose internet shopping and opt to give my money to companies outside of Netherlands.
The rule is that when you live in a country, you have to view local behaviour and adapt to it. I am learning now that although I get personally annoyed by the lack of value for money, it is not something that the Dutch care about or even think is important. It is not an attitude that I will adopt though, hopefully just get less annoyed over time.