10 Vital Home Services We Take for Granted
Sometimes we find it easier to complain about things than to be thankful. We easily forget that many people do not enjoy some of the luxuries that we take for granted. For instance, when we look around our home there are many services in operation that we just expect to be a part of everyday normal life. Some of these services are not available in the same measure in other places. In some cases, some of the most basic of home services are not available at all.
- Electricity When we flick the switch for our lights, we just assume that power will be there to light up the light bulbs in our ceiling fixtures and lamps. We push start on the microwave and expect the light to come on and the microwaves to start cooking our food. It isn’t until there is a power outage that we realize how much we depend on this unseen energy that flows through the wires in our homes. If an area is without power for twenty-four hours or more, everyone is in an uproar. We have begun to consider electricity to be one of the inalienable rights of U.S. Citizens. We forget that in some areas of the world electrical power is rationed to homes for a few hours a day. In other places, batteries are the main means for powering electrical items because electrical power is not available for entire regions.
- Water People have lived without electricity for many centuries before us, but water has always been a true necessity. However, having running water piped into your home is not a universal commodity. Many communities around the world still need to draw or pump their water from a well. In other locations where community water systems are available, the water is not available every day and at every hour.; a warm shower cannot be taken for leisure purposes. In some places the words ‘warm’ and ‘shower’ don’t go together at all.
- Sewage disposal We flush the toilet and the water and waste disappear down the pipes. In rural areas this may mean it is being sent into a septic system. In urban areas, it generally means it is being routed to a sewage treatment plant. What would it be like if the city sewage systems were dismantled in one of our metropolitan areas? Dealing with a backed up sewer in one house is miserable enough. The thought of a whole city without sewage service is enough to send most people to their knees.
- Gas service Most homes are heated with natural or propane gas. There a few homes that have alternate sources like wood, solar or electrical heat sources. We may complain about the prices of heating our homes but we often don’t think to be thankful that we have the choice of having gas piped into our home for heat.
- Telephone This is a home service that not everyone requires or uses, especially since cellphones have become a more affordable means of communication. Yet, at the same time, we still expect to have the option available should we want it. In the United States most individuals also expect to have unlimited local calling provided with their monthly phone service. This is not true in many other countries. Most other countries have phone service providers that charge per call, even if that call is to your neighbor.
- Cable television Some may be surprised to learn that this service is not yet available in all parts of the United States. The main areas that lack this home service are rural locations where the cost of installing the cables to homes is not financially viable for the cable companies. For those areas, satellite TV is usually an option. Interestingly, there are very few places on the earth that you will not find televisions these days. Even in some of the most remote villages you will find a battery powered television.
- Garbage pickup On occasion, we have gotten to see what happens in a large city when the garbage pickup services stop operating due to a worker’s strike. It is amazing how quickly the garbage piles up in the streets. There was a day when trash disposal at the local landfill meant a trip by the homeowner to deliver the goods himself. Perhaps we would be less wasteful if that were the case again.
- Internet access This service is certainly not universal, but for those of us who have become dependent upon it, the thought of doing without it in our homes becomes unthinkable. Those with high-speed internet cringe simply at the thought of having to return to the slowness of dial-up access. Satellite service has also provided an alternative in this area for many rural homeowners.
- Mail delivery This is one of the most universal home services in the United States, home mail delivery. No matter how far out into a rural area you travel, it seems that you will still find mailboxes standing at the end of driveways. In addition, mail is delivered to that mailbox six days a week. What if you had to drive to town to pick up your mail and mail only came once or twice a month? These days, most people would shrug their shoulders and turn to their email or their phone, but to be cut off from all those forms of communication on a daily basis would be a major issue with many.
- Street Maintenance This is another service that we easily take for granted until it isn’t being done. If the potholes from the winter never got filled year after year, what kind of roads would we be driving on? For those living in the northern states, snow removal is a major issue. If the roads aren’t plowed when we’re ready to leave for work in the morning, the street department is bound to get some irate phone calls.
Perhaps next Thanksgiving we should all take turns expressing our gratitude for the comforts provided to us in our humble abodes.