I Got 5000 Problems And You’re All Of Them

, , , , , | Working | September 11, 2019

(Our company does plans to show where a house will be built on the property. Naturally, these plans are given to the county for review and approval to help get a building permit. If a house is over 5,000 square feet of disturbance, then the county will treat it as major construction work and cause a host of other plans to be done. If the house is under 5,000 square feet, then the project is exempt from the other plans. Doing a house under 5,000 square feet is easier to get a permit for in both time and cost. A client is trying to build a house under the 5,000 square feet so he can sell it later on. We have worked with him and he hates the ones over 5,000 square feet. We do the plan and have come up with around 4,900 square feet of disturbance. He is happy and we have it submitted to the permit office. About two weeks later, we get an email from a county reviewer about the project. Comments happen all the time so this is not unexpected. A few are minor, but two catch our eye.)

Reviewer: “1. Make the driveway pad at the front into a square and revise the plan. 2. Submit a [document saying the house is a major plan for projects over 5,000 square feet].”

(I print the email off and deliver it to my boss, who worked on the plan.)

Boss: “This doesn’t seem right. Why does she want to make the driveway pad like that? There is no rule I can find saying she can do that. If we do what she wants, we will be over 5,000. You know [Client] is not going to like that.”

(My boss and I go through all the requirements for driveways and can’t find anything saying that we have to do that. My boss writes back a detailed message about why we won’t do that and asking what the requirement is that says we have to do that. A few days later, we get this message.)

Reviewer: “[Department Head] is requiring it. Please update the plans.”

(We have worked with [Department Head] before in the past and know him to be a reasonable person. We try to call the reviewer and all but one time we get an answering machine. The one time we get through, she says:)

Reviewer: “The message I sent you is enough.”

(We try to talk with [Department Head] directly, but he is extremely busy and typically out of the office. After sending messages and phone calls, we call his office to set up a meeting with him in person. Two weeks later, [Department Head], [Reviewer], my boss, and I meet at the department head’s office.)

Boss: “So, this is about [Project] that you reviewed.”

Department Head: “What project? I don’t recall any project like this.”

(This isn’t unusual; he is only second to the head of the whole agency, who is appointed by the county counsel, and has hundreds of jobs. My boss gives him the email with the original comments from the reviewer and shows him the plan.)

Department Head: “I don’t understand. This doesn’t appear to be any comment I made. These comments make no sense to me.”

(This is the first time my boss or I have heard of this.)

Me: *turning to reviewer* “So whose comments are these?”

Reviewer: “[Supervisor]. She is the one who requested it. I don’t know why we are in this meeting with [Department Head].”

(The supervisor and the department head are not even close to being mixed up. The supervisor is a blonde, 30-year-old woman who has a common name, while the department head is a black, 60-year-old man with a very uncommon name that is hard to pronounce.)

Me: “You said yourself for weeks that [Department Head] was the one asking for these comments.”

Reviewer: “I never said that.”

Me: “I have your email right here.” *passes it over to [Department Head]*

Reviewer: “That isn’t my email. You must have changed it.”

(The department head facepalms.)

Department Head: “Let me look at the comments.”

(He took a quick look at the comments and removed the comments about the driveway and forcing us to go over 5,000 square feet. The reviewer is still there, but every time we get her, she delays our jobs almost as a revenge for catching her in a lie.)

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Unfiltered Story #160092

, , | Unfiltered | August 12, 2019

(This one is on me. The city hall in my town recently reinvaded and added a wall with a window in front of the desk to the once completely open space. I walk in to pay my water bill, stand there very confused & wide eyed; then turn around to leave after assuming I walked into the wrong building some how.)

Receptionist: “Wait, WAIT!”

Me: *turns around*

Receptionist: “This is City Hall, you didn’t walk into the wrong building; we reinvaded and added this wall.”

Me: “…OH! Okay. Thank you… This has been happening all day, hasn’t it?”

Receptionist: *sighs*

Unfiltered Story #159839

, , , , | Unfiltered | July 31, 2019

I was filling in at a reception desk in a municipal government building when a gentleman stepped off the elevator and approached me.

Me: Hi, can I help you find something?
Him: Yeah, I have a meeting.
Me: Ok, with who?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: Ok, do you know what office?
Him: No.
Me: Do you know what department?
Him: No.
Me: Do you have any contact information from whoever you set up the appointment with?
Him: Uh… no.

At this point I was at a bit of a loss but decided to keep trying to get some kind of information.

Me: Well when did you make the appointment?
Him: I think it was about two weeks ago… maybe three.
Me: Did you make the appointment over the phone or via e-mail?
Him: It was in person.
Me: Ok, where?
Him: It was in a park.
Me: In a park?
Him: There was an event for [member of provincial parliament].
Me: Ok, well this building is for your municipal government so if your appointment was with your MPP then it’s not here.
Him: No, the appointment wasn’t for provincial, that’s just where I met the person I made the appointment with.
Me: Well… I’m sorry, but I’m really not sure how to help you. Without a name, department or anything else to go on I can’t get you in touch with the right person.
Him: Well I have her name and number in my phone, should I just call her?
Me: I think that would be best….

Not Voting In Your Favor

, , , , | Legal | June 3, 2019

(In Brazil, voting is mandatory by law. We may annul our votes, but we need to be physically present at our designated voting center or have a good reason not to be. Otherwise, we pay a fee and there might be some legal repercussions. In the last election weekend, I was in Canada for work, and only took the plane back Sunday. I go to justify missing the election.)

Me: “Hi. I need to justify missing the last election, as I was traveling. Here’s my documentation.”

Clerk: “This says you left your trip at 10:00 am. You still had plenty of time to come and vote. This justifies nothing.”

Me: “Perhaps you’re not aware, but it’s a twelve-hour flight from where I was, so I arrived in Brazil after the voting was already over.”

Clerk: *condescendingly* “Then you should have planned your little trip better, shouldn’t you?”

Me: “Can you just please put the documents through? I’m sure if…”

Clerk: “That’s not my problem! I’m not submitting a justification that doesn’t even cover the election times, just because you think you’re special and can break the law.”

Me: “Can I speak to a supervisor?”

(She calls one, mumbling about stupid, entitled people. I explain to the supervisor.)

Supervisor: “She’s very right. It’s not our job to fudge a justification so you can get off easy.”

Me: *now totally perplexed* “But it’s not fudging! I wasn’t in the country!”

Supervisor: “We’re not doing this. You’d better go now before I call security.”

(I left, very irritated and confused, and tried again at a different center a couple of days later. Believe it or not, I had almost the exact same conversation at the other center! My company decided to pay the fee for me, figuring it was better than to keep having me miss work to deal with it, or have any legal hassle later. I tried complaining up the government chain, but the sad thing is that these are all public servants, and for them to get even a write-up it needs to be an offense you could pretty much get arrested over, so nothing came of it.)

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Unfiltered Story #152524

, , , | Unfiltered | June 1, 2019

(The customer is calling about paying off money he owes the government.)

Customer: Um, yes, I’m on the website, and I’m trying to pay my debt with a credit card, but I can’t see where to do that.

Me: I’m happy to help with that. Unfortunately, we don’t accept credit card transactions, only payments by check.

Customer: But… I need to pay this debt off! I want to pay in full. Im accruing interest!

Me: I’m sorry to hear that, and I appreciate your desire to resolve this debt. Unfortunately, it’s just our policy.

(Customer huffs heavily and mutters a thanks for nothing, like he’d rather be paying 12% interest than the modest 1% we charge…)