Quarantine and charming inconvenience

Hiyo from Bangkok!

Day 8 under state quarantine, I still haven't gone crazy yet. I got lucky. My hotel is in Bangkok, about a 30-minute drive from my house. My room is bigger than my bedroom in Brooklyn. My only complaint is the food. They fed us too well. After the quarantine, I will be in serious need of a diet.

Overall, I am grateful for all those who work hard to ensure that the state quarantine life is relatively comfortable. I am not an emotional person. Yet, when I got off the repatriation flight and heard a "Welcome back home, you are safe now", I felt something well up inside.

Charming inconvenience

We are not allowed to take any food beyond the meals provided three times a day. No KFC delivery. It’s quite understandable. The government doesn't want you to get a food poison and call an army of PPE-ed medics to transport you to a hospital.

Luckily, at the hotel I am staying in, you can order packaged food from a nearby 7-11 through Line, a popular chat application in Thailand. Here is my purchase experience.

Not knowing what was available at the store, I asked for a list of inventory. I was provided with a real-time high-def view of available items.

We had a few back-and-forths of “Do you have this?” If they didn’t have a certain item, they would make a recommendation for you. Very convenient!

Then completed the transaction with cute thank-you stickers.

It took 5 days from my first query to the delivery. (I was not in a hurry). The experience was a far cry from AI-assisted shopping experience in Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers. Instead of smooth experience facilitated by machine’s knowledge about you, it gave you human-driven interactions ridden with typos and misunderstandings. We don’t even have to bring AI to the table, a basic e-commerce site would have been “better” customer experience.

Yet, instead of getting frustrated, I find the whole experience enjoyable.

The transaction feels more direct. There is no obvious software layers between me and another human being. If I get stuck, I can just ask for help. There is no need to search for a hidden link to reach customer support. This IS the customer support.

This shopping experience was slow, imperfect, and inconvenient. It was oddly charming. It was human.

Random stuff

  • If you are bored with Zoom meetings, https://makespace.fun/

  • Why books? A seminar on books. :)

Hope that you have a great week. Until next time!