After an eternity of silent suffering, we finally reached a bank of machines into which you stick our passport and it takes your picture. "Aha, "I thought. "Free at last." But no, then we waited in another line for a human Immigrations officer to stamp our passport.
By the time we got to the baggage carrousel, they had offloaded all the baggage onto the floor. I left Annie with the dog and waded into a forest of stranger's luggage searching for our bags. After locating them, dragging them out, and stacking them on two carts, we headed for Customs – to spend another hour and twenty minutes in a switchback line that, if straightened out, would have reached our house in Cypress.
When we finally got to the end of that line, the Customs agent asked me to see my passport again. I told him I was sorry but I'd been standing in line for so long it had expired. He did not seem amused.
Last year, before Annie and I left for Mexico, I called the Houston Chronicle and asked them to suspend home delivery, since we were going to be out of the country for awhile. About a week later, my neighbor emailed me to tell me the newspaper was still being delivered. I Skyped the Chronicle from Mexico and asked them again to suspend home delivery.
A week later, my neighbor emailed me that the papers were still piling up in front of my house. I called the Chronicle a third time and told them to cancel my account number, and that if they wanted to keep delivering papers I'd told them to stop delivering, I wouldn't pay for them.
I don't know how many more papers they delivered, but they billed me for them. When I refused to pay, they referred the account to a collection agency.
Last Sunday, I called the Houston Chronicle to ask them to suspend home delivery because we had to drive to Kerrville to attend to my aging Mother-in-law. I asked them to stop delivery on Monday. Tuesday morning, they delivered the paper. I called them Tuesday and cancelled my account number. Wednesday morning they delivered another paper.
What do these two stories have in common? George Bush Intentional is a monopoly. It's the only international airport in Houston. If you want to fly into Houston from any foreign country, you must go through George Bush.
The Houston Chronicle in the only newspaper in Houston. Since they bought the Houston Post 20 years ago, if you want to read a newspaper in Houston, you have no choice but to read the Chronicle.
Competition is the magic potion in Capitalism that makes it work. Without competition there is no incentive to improve custome service – or even to maintain it at an acceptable level. If the customer has no choice but to use your service, it really doesn't matter how bad that service is.
Remember that little fact when considering the advisability of allowing the government to nationalize any industry – like medicine?