The Belgian Government Is An Emotional Roller Coaster

, , , | Working | February 19, 2020

(In Belgium, we all have state-issued IDs and nowadays they come with a chip. This is, for example, used when filing your taxes — to identify yourself to the computer — and it has your address stored on it, which police and official services can enter with a specific reader. This also comes with a PIN and PUC code. If you lose your codes, you need to ask the government to resend it and they will send it to the city. I recently moved and need to officially change my address. In the city where I live, you need to process it first via the computer, a police officer might check if you’re really living there, and you get an email when your new address is registered. At this time, you need your PIN code and the address to be changed on your ID. This needs to be done in person.)

Me: “Hi, I moved and need to change my address. I already registered it on the computer and received your confirmation mail.”

Civil Servant: *very bright and obviously in a good mood* “And you now need to put it on your ID?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

Civil Servant: “Do you have your PIN code?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no, and it hasn’t turned up yet since the move.”

(Her shoulders start to droop, and she sighs inwardly and opens her mouth, undoubtedly to start a spiel she repeated a hundred times before, but I cut her off.)

Me: “I read the email and knew you would need it, so I requested it again.”

Civil Servant: *shoulders lifting again and almost back as bright and chipper as when I entered* “And did you receive the confirmation?”

Me: “I wouldn’t be here, otherwise.”

Civil Servant: *good mood fully restored* “Well, let’s take care of that first.”

(The rest of the transaction went smoothly after that. The mood changes were quite dramatic and as a regular reader of this website, I can imagine what she was expecting. I hope that with the next oblivious customer, there is the silver lining in the memory that at least one person actually read the requirements.)

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Unfiltered Story #185632

, , | Unfiltered | February 10, 2020

Telephone ringing. I answer it.
Me- “Assessing department”
Caller- “I am looking for the Assessing Department, please transfer me.”
Me- Uh
Please note, this happens at least 10 times a day.

DMV = Depressed, Malevolent, And Vindictive

, , , , , | Working | February 4, 2020

(I moved to Florida two years ago. My driver’s license expires this year, but I can’t renew it in my home state, so I just decide to go ahead and get a Florida driver’s license. I go to the DMV a few days before my license expires. When you arrive at a Florida DMV, you are told to check in to an automated terminal with your phone number. I do so and find out that issues involving a driver’s license are by appointment only. I sign up for the earliest appointment, which is about a week away, and receive an email confirmation for my appointment. I know that my license will expire by that time, but it’s the soonest I can get a license, so I just ask a friend to take me the following week. I return the following week and check myself into the terminal. I wait until I realize it’s been fifteen minutes since my appointment time, and my phone number isn’t showing up on the queue on the monitors. I go to the reception desk.)

Me: “Hello. I checked in about 25 minutes ago for an appointment to get my driver’s license at 1:00 pm. It’s 15 minutes after that, and I know things probably run a little behind, but I’m not listed on the queue for appointments above, so I just want to make sure I checked in correctly.”

Receptionist: “What are the last four digits of your phone number?”

(I give her the four numbers.)

Receptionist: “I don’t have any appointments under that number. You checked in incorrectly. You just added yourself to the main walk-in queue. You have to schedule an appointment ahead of time for driver’s-license-related things.” 

Me: “I did do that. I came in last week and signed up for an appointment today at 1:00 pm.”

Receptionist: “I’m not seeing anything in the computer under your number. I need to see your confirmation email.”

Me: “Okay, fine.”

(I try to find the email on my phone, but for some reason, it won’t come up when I scroll through my inbox. I spend a good minute trying to find it to no avail.)

Me: “For some reason, I can’t find it. But I know I got one last week.”

Receptionist: “Without an email confirmation, I can’t help you.” 

Me: “Well, can you at least tell me what my wait time would be if I’m stuck waiting, since it seems like I won’t be able to get the appointment I signed up for?”

Receptionist: “You should have received a confirmation text message when you checked in today giving you your wait time.” 

Me: “I saw that the screen said I was going to get a confirmation text message, but that was 25 minutes ago and I still haven’t received anything.”

Receptionist: “Give me your full number and I’ll manually have the system message you.”

(I give the receptionist my full number and wait for a full minute without receiving a text message before showing the receptionist my messages that don’t include one from any unknown number.)

Receptionist: “Something is wrong with your phone. I do this all day and it always works for people. You’re just going to have to wait.”

Me: “Clearly something is wrong with your system, not my phone. Not only did I not get either of my confirmation texts, but your system isn’t showing the appointment I signed up for today.”

Receptionist: “I can’t help you. You’ll just have to wait.”

Me: “Can you tell me how long the wait will be?”

Receptionist: “Probably over two hours.”

Me: “From now or from when I checked in twenty-five minutes ago?”

Receptionist: “At least two hours from now. Probably longer.” 

(At this point, I’m too angry and fighting tears of frustration to continue, so I go back to sit down and just wait, since I can’t go any longer without being able to drive. I start looking through my phone after I calm down a little and start trying to find the confirmation email again, because I know I received it. After five minutes of searching various terms in my email, I find the confirmation email, hidden away in my archive folder by mistake. I march back up to the receptionist to show her the email.)

Me: “I found the confirmation email!”

Receptionist: “Well, your appointment was at 1:00 pm and it’s now 1:30 pm, so you missed your appointment and will have to wait.”

Me: “Are you serious?! You said you could help me if I found the email! I found the email and you still won’t help me.” 

Receptionist: “There’s nothing I can do.”

(Thankfully, at this point, one of her coworkers comes up behind her before I start screaming at this woman. The coworker’s cubicle is next to the receptionist, so she heard the entire exchange.)

Coworker: “I’m about to go on break, but I can take you real quick before I go. You just need to get a new driver’s license, right?”

Me: “Yes, just a new license. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your help!”

Receptionist: “You really shouldn’t take her without an appointment.”

Coworker: “Well, she would’ve had an appointment half an hour ago had she checked in correctly, so I don’t think she should have to wait another two hours for a simple mistake people commonly make here.”

(The coworker was so kind and got me through all the paperwork and vision test within ten minutes. The receptionist, on the other hand, was still very rude when she was calling out the names of the licenses printed, which included mine. She purposely misread my easy to pronounce name and snottily asked me to make sure the information was correct before mumbling something I didn’t catch under her breath and turning away to hand out the next license. I get that life may be a little hard working in a place like that, but don’t take it out on me, lady. And thank you to the kind employee that was able to help me so I didn’t have to wait around all day.)

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She’s Voting For The Grumpy Old Man Party

, , , | Right | January 31, 2020

(I am working as an information officer alongside a gentleman in his 70s on election day. It is still early and I am telling voters to have a nice day as they leave.)

Me: “Have a nice day!”

Customer: “I WILL NOT!”

Me: *to coworker* “What just happened?”

Coworker: “She doesn’t want to have a good day, apparently.”

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No Matter What You Try It’s All Downhill

, , | Right | January 27, 2020

(For security reasons, the bathrooms at my workplace are locked. Employees have their own keys, but visitors have to get keys at reception. There are signs stating this everywhere. While leaving work one day, I notice a man standing in front of a bathroom, rattling the doorknob, and staring at the sign. I’m not actually supposed to help visitors as I’m still in training, but I’m the only one there and I figure it won’t be that difficult.)

Me: “Hi, excuse me? You’ll have to get the key from reception. It’s just up those stairs.”

(The man moves away from the door and towards the staircase leading down.)

Me: *thinking I misspoke* “Oh, sorry. It’s upstairs.”

(The man steps towards the staircase leading down again.)

Me: “Uh, no, it’s upstairs. This way, follow me.” 

(I start walking upstairs. The man moves in the opposite direction.)

Me: *gesticulating wildly* “UP-stairs!”

(No change.)

Me: *giving up* “All right. Go downstairs and follow the corridor. You’ll find a staircase to your right. It’ll lead you to reception.”

(Fortunately for the guy, the staircase I directed him to only goes up. I just hope he didn’t end up in the basement somehow.)

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