Mark my words. Sooner or later you too will be forced to deal with bureaucracy. It can be local, state or federal, but you will find yourself dancing with the great wall of ineptitude and boredom. And you will never be the same.
Never will you take any joy lightly again. Never will you be tempted to grouse at the minor IQ challenges you face at banks, super markets, and the gas station. No, you my friend have met the enemy, the great behemoth of all insanity–the bureaucrat.
A few brave this affront to humanity and they survive, nay, they conquer the beast, and they retrieve that which they sought. And what is that? It is what they were ever entitled to in the first place. Information that belonged to them and has been cruelly twisted so as to effect great harm on the innocent,that is, the owner.
It starts out like this:
You want to something. It is something legal, and something you take for granted as your right to do.
You begin said process of doing your God-given, constitutionally allowed thing.
A government, of which you have sworn allegiance and paid taxes to, says “whoa there hot shot, not so fast.”
For the common good, for health, for safety, and to make the columns add up right, but mostly for our devilish delight and because after all, it’s Tuesday, the day we love to f**k over the public at large, YOU cannot proceed until you do this!
You reel back in shock, dumbfoundedness, and all-around confusion. Suddenly, a spectre of your long departed past arises with dripping fangs and lunges!
“What has X got to do with Y?” you exclaim.
“Everything and nothing,” is the response.
“Mostly nothing, but hey, we like our paperwork neat and tidy, and this has been in our done but not done file for thirteen bazillion years. Now we demand you dot the final “i”.
Knowing that you have lost before you start, you capitulate immediately. “Just where do I go?” you whimper?
“Call the bureaucracy of doom.”
You shrink in terror. You moan. You have a conniption fit. You literally lay on the floor, kicking and screaming. “There must be another way,” you wail.
The powers grin, with sick delight. “No, no other way. Do it, or be forever barred from doing It.”
So you pray, you meditate, you collect stuff with numbers and letters and dates, and your pen and pencil and adding machine, and paper and coffee strong, and napkins and kleenex. You wipe your perspiring brow. You beat your chest, and “man up,” or “woman up” as the case may be. You steel yourself, take a deep breath and pick up that phone.
One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy. Click. The melodious tones of automation strike your ear. You pen is gripped firmly.
It starts. “If you would like the menu in English, press one.”
You breathe, so far so good. Pressing the one.
“If you know the party or extension you wish, press two.”
You don’t so, proceed.
“If you want. . . ”
As the menu continues, your guts tremble and tighten.
“NONE OF THESE FIT MY PROBLEM!” your mind screams.
Blessedly, at the very end, you hear:
“If you wish to speak to a customer representative, please press O.”
A sigh of relief. Yes, you can speak to a human being (of sorts). You reach for a sip of coffee release your claw-like grip of the pen, and breathe out.
“Customer service is no longer available. Press one to hear the menu again.”
Tears well in your eyes, and your hemorrhoids begin a steady beating and burning.
Oh please, this cannot be.
Now, nearing defeat, you return to the menu, you finish copying down the website that was read too fast to get completely the first time. You hang up and move confidently to your friendly PC. Now here we are in our element.
You type carefully, deliberately, because you cannot now afford another arrow piercing your heart.
You hit enter. You wait.
“There is no such address. Are you trying to find Homeland Security?” it asks.
You screech!!!! The coffee cup is overturned, and you grab papers. Why is this happening to me!!!!!
Seven hours and 40 cups of coffee later, you reach a human voice.
You relate your story. You offer numbers off papers and identification requirements.
“Are you the person who is the subject of this inquiry?” minor bureaucratic minion asks.
“No, I’m his wife, but I have all the information.” I offer cheerily.
“Unless he has signed a power of disclosure to you, which you would have to present to our office, I can only speak to him,” idiot, and not even savant answers.
“Well he’s here, you can talk to him.”
“Perfect,” IQ wannabe says.
The Contrarian proceeds to give the to-bit excuse for a sentient life form, all the information I have written down.
She of course “intuitively psychically knows” that now she is talking to the subject of inquiry as opposed to the paper boy whom I’ve collared and hauled in to pretend to me my husband.
Said information she explains is in a place called “history” and such information is only extracted via the computer late at night after everyone has departed, lest a human discover the deep secrets contained in the extraction process.
We can call back tomorrow, or more particularly the Contrarian can, when she will tell him the information, and send along a copy for our records. Of course, the envelope will be marked: To Be Opened Only by the Subject of Inquiry.”
I am not claiming either victory or defeat here. Only that I have met the enemy, and I still got all my appendages. I guess that’s something.
I think a Constitutional Convention is in order. I’m not sure I want to continue this governmenty thingie any longer.
(First post didn’t take. Rats.)
Sounds like a Kafka novel! 🙂
aaahh,,,I do believe I have a novel in me….If only I were not so lazy
Sherry, I can confirm they are all out to get us – it is a relentless barrage of bureaucracy and call centres (most of which these days appear to be in a country other than the one you’re calling from). From an Englishman who is fighting back!
You allow that sort of thing in the UK? lol…I thought we were the only sad folks who have to put up with Bert from Bengali…hahaha..
Snoring Dog Studio said:
It’s too easy to lose one’s humanity if all you do is talk to people on the phone all day. Sad, sad. Hang in there!
I mean, it always turns out this way it seems…we are becoming a disconnected bunch…
Rinth de Shadley said:
I’m sorry that you had such a rough time! I wish that I had something wise to say about it. But there are real people who are your friends and they won’t put you on hold. 🙂
As for the “bureaucracy of doom,” I’m glad that I haven’t had to deal with them.
Knowing one survives is perhaps the great victory…but it’s like stubbing your toe…Its painful and you know it will happen again….just not when…
Yes, but The Beaurocracy is in the Business/Commercial world, aka Any attempt to Call Any Organization: I’ve been blocked for 3 months by the most famous Anti-Virus Organization, exactly as you descrobe, from getting The $40 Refind of my Online Anto-Virus Purchase; Rarelly did I speak to a Real Human; when I finally did, was assured of the $40 Refund. The famed Online ‘contact’ was “Nathan” who was an automated electtronic “I don’t understand your problem”. And I walked Washington DC for 2 hours tiday, trying to find a jkey think tank Seminar on Water as an Energy Source (Hydrogen Powered Cars are IT: Chinese and Mercedes Benz Cars Are Operational 2 years; and Obama’s “Battery Powered Electric Cars” have 40 mile Range, on GM’s Volt!. And had to get 2 MetroRail Security Guards to find my car in the poorly marked 3 Parking Deck buildings, 10 Levels parking decks. ______________________________________________Snoring, one is LUCKY to Ever talk to a real person in the ‘new, improved’ Automated ‘answering’ shuffles. My Best chats in one system were in India, 3 AM There; (convinced Each to Drink Tea, not Colas!) Each assured me they couldn’t help, call the 24 hour Contact line back USA daytime. . ( That’s where USA jobs went: Other cheap labor countries, thanks to Reaganomics and GWBushonomics: Indonesia, China, India, Cambodia, Viet Nam…)
Snoring Dog Studio said:
I hear you, Tony. I had the worst experience with Facebook when I ran some ads on the site – never got to talk to a human and still they owe us money but have blown us off. We’ve all got too many stories of the inhumanity of customer service. I agree with you on the India thing – every time I’ve had an issue with my Mac, I’ve been able to talk to the kindest, most patient humans in India. I have nothing but great things to say about the call centers and the people there.
The scary part is when you believe that you will NEVER find a real human to talk to…
touch #1 on your keypad to read this message
Press #56 if you wish to read this in Albanian
touch your nose and dial #456 if you is in touch wit youse feelings
touch #2 if you really really want to order Miracle Kleen
ha! //And you will never be the same.//
gees I have been the same since I became different which was right after I was normal, but slightly before I was a commie socialist feel-gooder ….. but I usually drink the same beer, well most of the time, does any of that count??
ok, Jimm, but which number gets the best beer? And which numbers find the best Beer Halls; And which get the best Pubs?
The first, fourth and sixth count…And I sure would like to set up a menu for my phone…HA
I work for a government agency; a county probation department. Talk about ineptitude, but with handcuffs and the ability to Really screw with ya…if you’re on probation for something 🙂
Long as THEY don’t ‘have Your Number’, Hansi? ________________________________________________ Brings up another new Prob: Where can one hide any numbers nowadays. One Guaranteed 100% Security site, Guaranteed last year, turned out to be CIA, U.S. Government, to Get Personal Data.
One hopes Tony
oh believe me, I have tons of experience with probation officers…I used to be a criminal defense lawyer…I know how they can screw with folks.
Pat- Arkansas said:
My frustration with “customer service” (hahahaha) systems is that if you ARE able reach a human being, the “English” they speak is so heavily accented as to be un-understandable.
Yep, that can be a problem all of itself Pat..