07 June 2007

Cold Showers and Inflation

Tim, of White Sun of the Desert fame provides the perfect intro to the inflation problem - i.e. I was trying to find an intro, and here it is.
We have a boiler rigged up in the apartment linked to the shower and bathroom sink, but after meddling with it last night all we got this morning was a minute of hot water before it turned icy cold.  I’ve meddled some more this morning, opening and closing various valves and taps I found hiding in a recess behind the bathroom tiles, and I hope by this evening we will have enough hot water for a decent shower.  If not, we’ll be in for some harsh summer mornings.

Also unfortunately, the boiler does not supply hot water to the kitchen sink, meaning I either have to wash up with cold water or boil kettles and pour them into the washing up bowl.  Bear in mind that we (or rather, my employers) are paying $2,700 per month for this place, plus the electricity bill.

Once upon a time goods in Russia were cheap and shitty.  Then 1998 came along and they got cheaper, in the places that are doing well now the service improved.  Then the oil price hit $70/bbl and inflation really kicked in.  The statistically minded amongst you will point me to the statistics which show that it is slowly coming under control - I will point to people like Tim who are paying a very full market price for no hot water - a situation which may last for three months.

In my own industry core services have increased 3x since 2000-ish but the productivity and service quality has stayed the same.  Net net services which cost the same in cash are provided more slowly, less reliably and with less guarantee.  This cannot last.

Take it to the simplest level.  Go eat a meal in a top Moscow restaurant.  Once you have finished negotiating with the bank manager for an overdraft objectively compare the quality of the food (raw ingredients and cooking) with a comparable restaurant in London or New York.  The empirical evidence of a month in London and a month on the road in Europe and US would suggest that for the same price the quality of the food, but not the eye candy, was infinitely superior.


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2 comments:

Fanya said...

Is $2700 "market price" or "stupid" (but permissible given the expense account). I paid $600/mo. for a flat on Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg last year w/ view of Mariinskii, canal, and a fully functioning water boiler.

Danny said...

"Take it to the simplest level. Go eat a meal in a top Moscow restaurant. Once you have finished negotiating with the bank manager for an overdraft objectively compare the quality of the food (raw ingredients and cooking) with a comparable restaurant in London or New York. The empirical evidence of a month in London and a month on the road in Europe and US would suggest that for the same price the quality of the food, but not the eye candy, was infinitely superior."

So true...even here is Sydney, the Russian restaurants (god bless 'em) have the highest prices, the worst food, the worst service and the prettiest décor.

If ever in town, check out Russian Coachmen (set in a, surprise surprise, heritage listed building)

Includes a vodka tasting extravaganza...mates rates :-)
http://www.coachmen.com.au/history.html

07 June 2007

Cold Showers and Inflation

Tim, of White Sun of the Desert fame provides the perfect intro to the inflation problem - i.e. I was trying to find an intro, and here it is.

We have a boiler rigged up in the apartment linked to the shower and bathroom sink, but after meddling with it last night all we got this morning was a minute of hot water before it turned icy cold.  I’ve meddled some more this morning, opening and closing various valves and taps I found hiding in a recess behind the bathroom tiles, and I hope by this evening we will have enough hot water for a decent shower.  If not, we’ll be in for some harsh summer mornings.

Also unfortunately, the boiler does not supply hot water to the kitchen sink, meaning I either have to wash up with cold water or boil kettles and pour them into the washing up bowl.  Bear in mind that we (or rather, my employers) are paying $2,700 per month for this place, plus the electricity bill.

Once upon a time goods in Russia were cheap and shitty.  Then 1998 came along and they got cheaper, in the places that are doing well now the service improved.  Then the oil price hit $70/bbl and inflation really kicked in.  The statistically minded amongst you will point me to the statistics which show that it is slowly coming under control - I will point to people like Tim who are paying a very full market price for no hot water - a situation which may last for three months.

In my own industry core services have increased 3x since 2000-ish but the productivity and service quality has stayed the same.  Net net services which cost the same in cash are provided more slowly, less reliably and with less guarantee.  This cannot last.

Take it to the simplest level.  Go eat a meal in a top Moscow restaurant.  Once you have finished negotiating with the bank manager for an overdraft objectively compare the quality of the food (raw ingredients and cooking) with a comparable restaurant in London or New York.  The empirical evidence of a month in London and a month on the road in Europe and US would suggest that for the same price the quality of the food, but not the eye candy, was infinitely superior.


Technorati Tags:

2 comments:

Fanya said...

Is $2700 "market price" or "stupid" (but permissible given the expense account). I paid $600/mo. for a flat on Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg last year w/ view of Mariinskii, canal, and a fully functioning water boiler.

Danny said...

"Take it to the simplest level. Go eat a meal in a top Moscow restaurant. Once you have finished negotiating with the bank manager for an overdraft objectively compare the quality of the food (raw ingredients and cooking) with a comparable restaurant in London or New York. The empirical evidence of a month in London and a month on the road in Europe and US would suggest that for the same price the quality of the food, but not the eye candy, was infinitely superior."

So true...even here is Sydney, the Russian restaurants (god bless 'em) have the highest prices, the worst food, the worst service and the prettiest décor.

If ever in town, check out Russian Coachmen (set in a, surprise surprise, heritage listed building)

Includes a vodka tasting extravaganza...mates rates :-)
http://www.coachmen.com.au/history.html