Short Measures and Broadband Pakistan

The oldest known source for the expression “baker’s dozen” dates to the 13th century in one of the earliest English statutes, instituted during the reign of Henry III (1216–1272), called the Assize of Bread and Ale. Bakers who were found to have shortchanged customers could be subject to severe punishment. To guard against the punishment of losing a hand to an axe, a baker would give 13 for the price of 12, to be certain of not being known as a cheat. Specifically, the practice of baking 13 items for an intended dozen was insurance against “short measure”, on the basis that one of the 13 could be lost, eaten, burnt, or ruined in some way, leaving the baker with the original legal dozen.

A few centuries on from the initiation of the baker’s dozen, and we have trading standards funded and operated by the government and off course regulators too. Their TOR extends far wider than preventing the short changing of customers, and also includes misrepresentation in advertising and supply.

But when we look at today’s ridiculous practice of sellers including those magic words ‘up to’ in the fine print, they appear to be able to get away with just about anything. Take broadband service. If two of us purchase a broadband service of ‘up to’ 8Mbps at Rs 6999 per month, and I get 3.1Mbps and you get 2.2Mbps, should we be content, and should regulatory officers let it slip through?

I rather think not!

Think of what this would mean when applied to other products:

Would you accept an unopened pack of Cornflakes sold by weight at 350g that only contains 290g? A new jar of apple jam marked up at 450g but has only 220g? A box of a dozen eggs with three missing? A liter of petrol that is only 330ml? Or a pair of trousers with legs which are supposed to be 85cm, yet turned out to be only 46cm? Actually those trousers are a pair of shorts!

It appears that, as long as ‘up to’ is in the small print, a dozen eggs is really ‘up to a dozen eggs’. That seems reasonable, why didn’t I get it first time around?

In short: The words ‘up to’ ought not to be a license for short changing in the supply or trading of anything or should it be Mr. Regulator?

Head in Hands anyone on the same block?







8 responses to “Short Measures and Broadband Pakistan”

  1. Osman Avatar

    Quality, Price, Speed. Pick 2.

  2. MALIK AMAN Avatar

    Well when it comes technology everything changes so when some body is selling u a 1MB connection it doesn't mean you have the whole 1MB to yourself probably it means you will get 10% of it as the downloading and 25% of it as uploading speed and 50%or more of it as browsing.

  3. Nazia Avatar


    Please close your blog. It sucks

  4. Vagabond Avatar

    I second that, Nazia.

  5. farrahshah Avatar

    Hi Arzak

    Really surprised at the complaint you have made.

    The sellers will sell at the best price they can get it is upto the customer to shop around and find the best deal once the contract is signed it is a done deal.

    I mean the banks charge various rates so I can get £6000 for a fixed rate of 6 % and another bank can lend you the same £6000 at a variable rate.

    Or let us make it simple One mobile company gives 600 mins and 200 texts free per month when you sign a contract for 24 months for the price of £35 and another offers you the same for £40 :Choice is yours.


    I think the real complaint is when I bought a bottle of pure HONEY from Bagha e Jinnah Lahore and gave it to my father as a Souvenir who is a Sugar patiant?

  6. Mackers Avatar

    Don't 'close' your blog, it doesn't suck. And I am in the same boat. Oh the travails of an internet user in Pakistan.

  7. Dawn Avatar

    @ Nazia

    Everyone is free to speak their opinion.

    If you do not like what you read here you are also free to read some place other than here.

    But one thing people are not free to do but do to often is to insult well meaning people who are trying to share their view point on some issue.

    1. Nazia Avatar

      It is you who used my ID to write wrong comment in above discussion under my name.

      I will add some words in your sentence.

      Everyone is free to speak his/her opinion in his/her area or limits. Trespassing in this regard can be warned or obstructed.

      I know this etiquette well and always try to follow it.

      Well meaning people in a civilized way know well who to handle people who are trying to insult them again and again if they have any social sense.

      Oh yes arrogant people who are indulged of superiority complex on some blessing which is bestowed to them by Almighty cant miss the chance of insulting others when they think that others have some kind of weakness.

      I cant raise mental approach of such self centered people nor can convey them that there is no weak area in the life of strong minded people.Our seemingly deficiency or shortages are our focal point of power of our all energy.

      If you want to oust me from here than I should respect your complain on priority.

      No need to apply technical restrictions for confusing others ,you have full rights to stop others in your domain.