Don’t County On Them To Know

, , , | Right | December 16, 2018

(I work as an administrative assistant in a government office. Whenever our operator needs to take a break or has an appointment, I run the phone line until she returns. Because of how things work in our state, the counties actually handle the day-to-day processes for most programs, and our office serves more as a policy, planning, and basic information facility. However, we get a lot of calls from people thinking they can apply for programs through our office, even if we’re on the other end of the state from them. Nearly every time I fill in for the operator, I get this kind of call.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Government Office]. How may I direct your call?”

Caller: “Yeah, I need to apply for [program]. How do I do that?”

Me: “All right, have you already contacted your county [Office] location?”

Caller: “Uh… No.”

Me: “No problem! If you tell me which county you’re in, I can look the correct number up for you.”

Caller: “I live in [City].”

Me: “Actually, I need your [County].”

Caller: “Uh… I don’t know. I said I live in [City].”

Me: “Yes, I understand, but I still need to know which county you’re in to look up your local office number.”

Caller: “Look. I don’t know! I live in [City]! Don’t you know where [City] is?”

Me: “Sir, our state has over 100 individual counties, each with multiple cities, towns, and smaller communities. If I knew the name of every city in every county in [State], that would be pretty impressive.”

Caller: “…”

Me: *internal sigh* “Would you like me to Google [City] for you, to see which county you’re in?”

Caller: “You can do that?”

Me: “Yes.”

Caller: “Yeah, do that.”

Me: “Okay.” *takes ten seconds to search and find the county* “Looks like you’re in [County]. The number for that location is [number]. Can I help you with anything else?”

Caller: “No, that’s it… Thanks.” *click*

Me: *when the operator comes back* “How do you not know what county you live in? It’s on every [State] form you ever have to fill out!”

Operator: “You’d be surprised.”

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