I gazed towards the blue sky with its far fiery red ends, on my way to the supermarket, jokingly ruminating if the dusk was looming or the sun was waning.

There was a weekend surprise. Encouraged by the discount offer that was tempting, I picked more grocery items than usual and approached the cashier with my ATM card.

Following the scan and bagging of the items, repeated swipes of my card as well as entering a pin failed with the system to process the payment.

My pulse picking up inept at making any speech, I muttered to the cashier something from their POS machine or the Bank’s system might have been wrong.

Yet, it was with a visible quake while shaking her head and stumbling, I learned the news that she processed a similar card from the same bank with an open stare that left me with a pained look, full of hurt and anger.

Flushing my face with tightly strained eyebrows I left the supermarket.

I dragged my legs toward my house’s street while pausing at times to collect my thoughts, wondering what could have happened if it was a restaurant I had visited. It would have been more hustle as I would have already used the service.

I arrived at the nearest branch of my bank. It was closed as it was an off-working hour. The security guard tried to explain to me what was going on. However, he was without eye contact, still seated on his chair while fiddling with his smartphone.

With no appetite for asking more questions and requesting clarifications to fully understand what was going on, I thanked him and left the scene.

What really frustrated me most was the lack of follow-up on the system failure and the inability to prompt its users  with an automated set-up designed to send simple text messages in case of a debacle, such as “we are currently facing challenges with our system but it will get it sorted out as soon as we can.”

I even thought that it could have been a token of the bank executives' utter focus on its customers that could have rubbed off on its employees with all they are interacting with, such as listening intently to customers at any time, among others.

After too many contemplations, I concluded that there was no service from my bank, as though it does not exist when I needed its service.

Then, as I struggled to brush the situation off, another serious issue kicked in. One of the few private schools in the neighbourhood always amazed me with the generously wide playing field in the compound.

Now, almost the whole field is covered with newly constructed classrooms. I struggled with proceeding with nonchalance or whether what was going on is the epitome of our poise to lift the bar with more academic burden while compromising complete school service to students.

The sight was just unthinkable. Taking away a playground for any kid in the compound is not acceptable to school service. At that instant, someone from the school was stunned by my awe and inquired why I reacted in that manner. My response gave him the laugh of his life.

As I proceeded to a new road that has been laid with cobblestone very recently and that is near my residence, From the sprouting eateries that are serving outside, coffee bars, and supermarkets with the walk-friendly vibe, the first impression that comes to mind was why it is not laid with asphalt.

Many of us in the neighbourhood frequent the road with the intention of observing the crowd gathered to behold the vibe, and one can clearly see the excellent opportunities for these small businesses all through the night from daybreak.

I wished to turn these mixed experiences to some account for the general good, by taking the readiest and most public means of adverting to intimation with solemnity.

The word service is the essence of the self, just as without the service we do not exist.

It was as I felt the service of the local administration on the new cobblestone road, as with the newly opened confectionery in the vicinity, that has been singled out as the engine to our neighbourhood, thanks to shining walkways in the surrounding.

Local administration's essence is service. Walkways are engines that run businesses in the neighbourhoods, and turning them off compromises businesses and countless livelihoods. It is their solemn duty that owes to society and responsibility which cannot be put away.

Communication is the ability to say "sorry I am lost" when lost or "I'll get back to you after this",  the least one expects from a system that is the essence of the service. It also safeguards the clients served by the system from embarrassment and a bad day!

PUBLISHED ON Mar 25,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1195]

Tadesse Tsegaye (seetadnow@gmail.com), a polyglot with experience in multicultural-cum-institutional settings in resources management.

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