I have been meaning to blog about this topic for some time, but a recent event has finally prompted me into writing. I am NOT talking about the Czechs ripping off me, tourists or indeed other Czechs, but rather the way that they are mistreated by the international companies that are now operating in this growing market.
It shocks me, and I know it shocks other ex-pats, to see how the Czechs are regularly sold substandard goods and services. The attitude appears to be – “Oh they won't notice the difference” or indeed "they should be grateful”. Once one might have justified it perhaps (I doubt it actually but I am trying to be British and fair) with the fact Czech prices tended to be lower but that is no more the case, far from it. So we have cooking foil that is so thin that it tears and is useless, fruit and vegetables that are bruised, from companies that would not dream of selling them to their British customers.
Here is what has triggered this post:
I do not have internet access here – it's a long story and one I won't go into, put it down to meanness on my part and technical limitations. While in Britain I bought a pay-as-you mobile phone, which has the ability to access the web, as so many do these days. Great, I thought, just what I need in Czecho. The sim card was from Vodaphone. And so I thought I would get a Czech one from Vodaphone.cz as it is one of the two networks that works in this house. That way I can use the phone in both countries without paying for international calls. Not an unreasonable idea surely?
I arrive back in South Bohemia, I turn on the phone to check it works – yes it does, the internet access is fine, I even get a text from Vodaphone.cz welcoming me and telling me the tariff for my English sim. The next day I buy my Czech Vodaphone simcard and it doesn't access the internet! I check a Vodaphone leaflet – no pay-as-you-go internet. Honestly!
So come on Vodaphone and all those other big companies (yes, you too Tesco) and play fair with the Czechs.