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general Bureaucracy InAction
by Microsoft Bob
gfd messagesAIMICQ
(spamburrito@gmail.com) on May 4, 2005 12:00:01 AM

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Stupidity abounds. The latest stupidity that I would like to share is that which can be found no further than your nearest government agency

 

As maybe two of you might know, I'm going to be going to europe in a couple months. As this will be my first trip outside of the US, I needed a passport. Knowing the government the way I do, I got the process started 16 weeks from when I leave (it's a 6 week process).

So I go and dig out my birth certificate that I travelled 4 hours to acquire when I was getting my driver's license. I take the pictures, send in all the paperwork, pay their fifty or so dollars, and expect my passport. I should note that I have never NOT had a problem with a governmental body when I needed them to do something, so I cross my fingers and hope to god I get lucky in the russian roulette which is dealing with the government.

And, as was expected they screw it up. 4 weeks after I send everything they need (even double-checked by the post office that accepts passport requests near me), they send me a letter. the letter says something to the effect of "we did not receive your birth certificate, please send it in, so we can complete your request". Ok. I know it was in there when I last checked... Since my birth certificate has lots of sensitive info on it, I call up the number listed, and ask an extremely simple question.

"Was the birth certificate in the original information missing, or is there something wrong with it?"

Mashed Potato Brain One (after 3 minutes of explaining the situation): "We will have someone call you tomorrow, as we do not have it at this location".

3 days later, having not heard anything, I call back.

Mashed Potato Brain Two:
"The system says that you need to send in you birth certificate".
"Yes, I know that, I have that letter, I am trying to verify that you received it so I don't have to go down and start a claim with the postmaster general and put fraud watch on my social security number"
"Well, just send in a new one."
"Please hold on one minute." I stand up, clench and unclench my fists for a minute, then sit back down. "Okay, so are you telling me that they did not receive my birth certificate with the original paperwork? I have no problem sending a new one, but I must verify that they didn't receive the original."
"I guess I am".
...

FUCKING GOVERNMENT!



So, yeah, I spent today driving 4 hours out of my way to get my fucking birth certificate *AGAIN*. I then had to come back and talk with the receptionist of the postmaster, who advised that if it went missing it went missing once it got to the state department, and kinda put my mind at ease...

Of course, to be on the safe side, I had to put fraud watch on my SSN. And I had to miss half a day of work to do this.

I LOVE THE GUBMENT



the whole situation reminded me of a GFD that happened a few years ago, with the DMV.

You see, I sent in the paperwork to get my license renewed like a good little monkey. It was set to expire a month and a half in the future, on my 21st birthday, plenty of time, so I sent it in by mail.

And forgot about it completely. It never came, and my birthday came and went... I put a check into my atm one day, and after getting the receipt noticed that I double pressed one of the numbers-- instead of tens of dollars, it was for hundreds of dollars. Oops. I go directly into the bank, and let them know what I did. they took the receipt and said it would be corrected when they reconciled the ATM machine, and not to worry about it.

Off on my merry way, a week later, I make my normal trip to pull money out for the weekend. "there is a problem with your card"... demagnetized? nope, they put a hold on it.

So I go in to talk about it. the first thing the lady does is asks for my ID. This is after my birthday, so it was expired. because of this, she says it isn't a valid id. She will not release the hold without a valid id. So I call the DMV and... work through their bureaucracy, until they say "there is no record, it will be easiest for you to come in and do it at the local one, so you can get a temporary license at the same time.

Except it will be like $20 to renew, and my bank is holding my account hostage till I show them proof of identity. And in order to do that, I need to get $20, so I can renew my license... but get the money, I have to show my ID. To make matters even more fun, I was working 6 days a week, and the DMV was in the next town over.

When I was young and (relatively) less bitter, I never thought stuff like that happened. it literally took me four weeks to get the whole situation sorted out. I'm starting to understand that this is expected.

Updated: here we are, 3+ weeks later, and 20 days till I leave... No passport. I figure "okay, I guess I'll email them"...

and that is what I do. I send my info (by non-encrypted form, though nothing really private is sent). and wait. and wait.

and, getting edgy because we're less than 2 weeks away, I give them a call. Let me tell you something, hold music sucks. I have to listen to it quite often at work, so I'm used to it. it still sucks. The gubment service that runs this apparently never thought *anyone* would *ever* be on hold for more than 5 minutes... so they have this great hold system:

(Ode to joy)
"Thank you for calling the people who bend you over when you want to leave the country, due to increased call volume, your wait time will be more than 5 minutes. here's our website spelled out so even the 'tards can get it."
(Ode to joy)
"Thank you for calling the people who bend you over and sodomize you with a pipe when you want to leave the fuckin' country. due to increased call volume, your wait time will be more than 5 minutes..."
(ode to ...joy)
"Thank you for calling the assholes who..."
(ode to ... ... joy)
"thank you for calling the assholes..."
(ode to fucking joy)
... ... ...

saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.

30 minutes later, it changes... and about three minutes later, someone picks up.

"hi this is Tom, are you calling to get the status of your passport?" (imagine this as you would imagine someone from kentucky would say it)
"Hi, yes." (give him info)
"Okay, sir, I see it is in process."
"... ... ... Can you be more specific?"
"umm, yeah, they've been working on it the last two days, so it should be done soon"
"... uh, okay, thanks, I leave in 2 weeks, will I have my passport by then?"
"I would assume so".
"... ... ... (trying not to be an asshole) I would have assumed I would have it about a month ago, when my six weeks were up, yet I haven't seen it, can you be more specific?"
"You should call back on tuesday to get the status of your passport"


Why didn't I see this coming?


/bob

[ Comment on this story ]


    it ain't getting any smarter out there.
    by lbrtylvr
    gfd messages
    on May 6, 2005 11:17:19 AM
    (#18572)
    Being the one person on this site whom I actually know, regard as a close friend, and have killed more than a few pints with, you've already been subjected to many of my rants re: the depths of my loathing and total contempt for our country's mindless, red tape strangled cluster-fuck of a bureaucracy. Alas /bob, As much as it already sucks, It's only gonna get worse. For instance, in addition to trying to get your passport, you mention the trials and tribulations of dealing with the drones at the DMV, when I got up here, I was able to get tags for my car AND renew my license in less than 30 mins. (swear to god) of course that's because this town has at the most 5,000 licensed drivers and the DMV office is nearly the same size as the one that serves your city with probably 10 times as many people to deal with. Since English is still the primary language up here I'm sure that helps too. However, I won't be able to gloat for very much longer. The shit that you are trying to wade through right now to get your passport? Get used to it. It seems that a mouth breathing lowlife Nazi/Republicrat piece of shit senator from Wisconsin, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wi. (the cruel and twisted irony that his name contains the letters SENSE is too obvious to mention) has authored a truly useless yet obscenely expensive rider that has been attached to the latest spending package for the debacle in Iraq (which of course means it will most certainly pass) called, the "The Real ID Act"
    Very soon the privilege of having a drivers license (in all 50 states) will require pretty much the same paperwork and related hoop jumping that it takes to secure a passport these days. That's right; you will soon need 3 or 4 pieces of I.D. to verify who the fuck you are before you'll be able to get an I.D. Fuck and double fuck. Here in the golden state they have a fairly reliable method for verifying a person's identity when applying for any state issued I.D. card, it's called fingerprints. It works very well. The article I read about this latest non-lubed governmental fistfuck contains this quote from a 79 year old sycophant who had just finished getting her license renewed: "It's a good idea because of all those (9/11) terrorists who were able to get driver's licenses;" wasn't it terrorists with PILOT licenses that created the problems that day? http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20050506/ts_usatoday/realidactedgesclosertopassage


    [Reply to this comment]
      actually, that was in SC
      by Microsoft Bob(spamburrito@gmail.com)
      gfd messagesAIMICQ
      on May 8, 2005 11:10:42 PM
      (#18583)
      and they don't have a dmv, it's in capitola, a 1 hr busride away...

      And I was speaking with a friend of mine, whose father is an immigrant from europe, and has been here for almost 40 years. He has to renew ... something with our friends the state dept every 10 years.

      And all he did was shake his head.

      Ahhh, I can't wait...
      /Bob
      [Reply to this comment]  [Parent]
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    Shit Happens mr yuk
    by Jayo
    gfd messages
    on May 11, 2005 01:03:08 PM
    (#18593)
    All government workers are lazy pathetic fucks that don't care about the average citizen. They move like we have nothing better to do but sit around and wait for them. While we have jobs, school, and for some people kids they have to attend too. It's simply just fucking ridiculous
    [Reply to this comment]
      From one citizen to another: gold stargold starheartheartheart
      by GMFTatsujin(Ask and ye shall receive)
      gfd messagesAIM
      on May 12, 2005 11:00:46 AM
      (#18597)
      Fuck you too, buddy. Gub'ment proles gots lives too, and they'd rather spend those lives not having to deal with the likes of you, either.

      There's only thing worse than having to stand in line waiting for some government beauracrat to get all those fucking useless forms 'n' shit out of the way, to wit: being that self-same beauracrat who has to, every fucking day for hours at a time, deal with a never-ending mob of slobbering fuckos who automatically assume you're subhuman because you've got the job of in some small way keeping the country going.

      The cherry on top is that a shitload of these efficiency-oriented, is-this-what-I-pay-my-taxes-for, crankypants dimbulbs appear incapable of FOLLOWING SIMPLE PRINTED DIRECTIONS. Directions like "photo ID is required," "sign here," or "color inside the lines." From "average citizen" the word "average" doesn't even begin to describe mouthbreathers like the ones I'm talking about. "Mediocre" comes a bit closer.

      In my experience, what holds lines up is not that the poor slob behind the counter wants to fuck you over; it's that the asshole *in* line is making demands and refusing to provide the information that the poor slob behind the counter needs in order to do his job and move on.

      By the way, I'm not the asshole behind the counter. I'm the asshole behind the fuckwit in line who can't to get his shit together and wants a scapegoat. Funny thing: if I treat the counterguys with a smile and some consideration--not to mention having done my homework to get them what they need to do what I ask of them--I find I get some pretty good service and a healthy dose of appreciation to boot. For treating them like, you know, human beings.

      Not to say MSBob doesn't have a legit gripe. Somewhere the wires got crossed. But fuck, man, why exacerbate the problem by being an asshat to boot?
      [Reply to this comment]  [Parent]
    yeah
    by bastick
    gfd messages
    on May 14, 2005 08:06:35 PM
    (#18619)
    But the pay is good and the benifits are really, really good and no one cares about your productivity. SOunds pretty good.
    [Reply to this comment]
    now updated...
    by Microsoft Bob(spamburrito@gmail.com)
    gfd messagesAIMICQ
    on May 27, 2005 07:10:22 PM
    (#18700)
    with more retarded goodness.

    /Bob
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