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Jakarta Post

Urban Chat: Digital this, auto that… reality, what?

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 2 2016   /  12:26 pm

(ring) H… hello? Is this dotstoredotcom? Yes. I wanted to buy bandannas on your website but the system kept failing. What’s App message me, then. I’ll get back to you tonight. Tonight? You’re available now. (tentatively) Actually, umm… I’m working. In an office. But this cellphone number is listed on your website as Customer Helpline. (whispering now) Y-… yes. Just message me your order. Promise I’ll respond tonight.

That was a conversation I had with a decent-sized online shop recently. To be fair, I did get a reply that night and, after transferring money to the personal bank account of the guy I spoke to, the bandannas arrived in the mail. When I regaled my friends who’ve done much online shopping in Indonesia with the tale, most said that’s often the reality — despite the fancy website or social media presence, many online shops here are one-(wo)man shows...