This afternoon, we went to a furniture store to look at stuff. And then we all sat down to order and be served free drinks. Mom and dad were so surprised that a business can actually survive years of providing free drinks to the people, who are not necessarily buying anything! Ah, the beauty and craftiness of Belgian businesses remains a mystery to us Asians.
Before our flight back to Belgium, we were faced with some transportation dilemmas. After weighing my three options of family pick-up, train and airport shuttle; I quickly opted for the last. Admittedly, an airport shuttle costs more than four train tickets. But I am pleased with my decision because we do not have to trouble anyone, there is no need to wait, no need to drag our luggages about, and get driven straight to our front door. I am always willing to pay more for convenience and time.
This afternoon, my parents returned from their three-day stay at Lahad Datu. A trip to the old house in our hometown has both energised and exhausted my mom and dad. They have accomplished much during the short stay. Most importantly, they have reconnected with several of their old acquaintances. This will be useful in our future trips back.
Coming from a third world country, I have always accepted taxi services as an important part of the Malaysian society. It is the occasional unethical and unruly drivers which I cannot stand.
Thus, we tried an app known as Grab for the first time today. D and I were torned between our hate for the uber-ishness of this system, but can’t help loving the ease of use, the low cost and the friendly drivers we have met so far.
Currency exchange is a breeze here in Belgium. Just bring the foreign currency to a bank, exchange these at the day’s rate and deposit the local currency straight into your bank account.
After returning a library book, I stopped by the grocery store to buy a few things. Two of the three items I bought came with extra coupon points. I collected 300 points while spending less than €15. I believe I have just achieved a personal best!
The following paragraph is an excerpt from an Inc article entitled Don’t Look for a Great Idea. Look for a Good Problem:
In addition to strategic planning, or planning based on things we know or think we know, we need to start innovation planning, or planning based on things we need to learn to solve new and important problems. That’s how you quest. You don’t plan the journey as much as you prepare for it.
Reading this article made me think of the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”.
At the grocery store, an old man was having a panicky moment paying with his bank card. He kept telling the cashier that he has input his pin code correctly, that it is the fault of the card reader.
The old man’s struggle and embarrassment reminded me of the increasing difficulty of catching up with the times. It made me think of the old folks and their daily struggles with the ever changing technology around them. How do you use a phone these days? The door bell has a camera and the microwave is talking to the fridge via the internet. Oh for heaven’s sake, don’t get me started on those pesky self flushing toilets, automatic soap dispensers and faucets!
I thought of my ageing parents and wished that I could help the old man. Maybe he has just neglected to press enter? This also made me wonder about my later years. Will I be able to catch up and be in tune with this fast forwarding global culture of ours? Will I too struggle with my payments one day? Oh good grief…
In the quest of advancement, we need to simplify things. Not make things so complicated that we eventually forget or do not know how it works anymore.
I have used some of my frequent flier miles from Delta and United, subscribing to magazines for my family members in the US. One of these days, I seriously need to look into the other areas where I can take advantage of all my accumulated miles. It definitely won’t hurt to get other freebies besides magazines. Maybe get more comfortable seats, gain access to some cool airport lounges and services, or even fly free! Why not and what the hell is stopping me?
D and I joined the E-Commerce conference at Kortrijk Xpo again this year. There is always something new to see and learn. Besides, I simply love the free drinks and mini sandwiches.