It’s Time To Take It To The Street

, , , , , | Right | April 29, 2020

I work as an ambassador for a service supported by the City of Cleveland. In general, we answer questions while out in the public, escort older people to and from various locations, clean up sidewalks, and patrol neighborhoods. 

I’m out one day on my normal route and an older gentleman approaches me. 

Older Gentleman: “Excuse me, could you tell me where the nearest public bathroom is?”

Me: “Certainly, sir. There’s a restroom a block north at the gas station on the corner of [Street #1] and [Street #2].”

Older Gentleman: “Oh, okay. Thanks.”

Before I can say anything else, he proceeds to pull down his pants and s*** right on the sidewalk, pull up his pants without wiping, and calmly walk away. Then, he looks over his shoulder.

Older Gentleman: “You may want to clean that up. You can’t trust anyone these days!”

I think I died a little that day, and if it weren’t for the decent money, I would have quit on the spot.

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Getting The Runaround… Drivearound?

, , , , | Working | April 29, 2020

The only idiot in this story is German bureaucracy. I have to renew my driver’s license and then promptly lose it. I go to our village council building where I got the last one.

Employee #1: “Oh, no, you have to go to the district office. Why did you come here?”

Me: “Because I got my last one here.”

Employee #1: “Oh. Well, you need to go there, but you also need a new picture.”

Me: “Can’t I just use the last one? I still have three left from last time.”

Employee #1: “Oh, no, they are older than six months; it has to be current.”

I drive to the only place that still takes passport pictures in our area, which, of course, is a village in the opposite direction of the city I then need to go to. I have to wait for half an hour, and since the only coffee shop is closed that day, I just sit in my car and wait. In Germany, you can only get these photos in batches of four, so now I have six pictures that I don’t need.

I then drive to the city and try to find the district office. My car doesn’t have satnav and I don’t own a smartphone. No problem, though; there are signs everywhere. Well, until suddenly there aren’t, leaving me lost in a part of the city I have never been to. I finally manage to find the right place — after discovering that there are apparently two district offices, but only one of them does driver’s licenses. I go up to reception.

Me: “Hi, I need to see someone about my driver’s license.”

Receptionist: “They just started their lunch break and will be back in two hours.”

Two hours later, I’m finally in line to talk to the right person.

Me: “Hi, I lost my driver’s license and need a new one.”

Employee #2: “Do you have a copy of the police report?”

Me: “What police report?”

Employee #2: “You need to report the loss to the police and then come back to apply for a new license.”

The police station I need to go to is… in the village where I got my photos. So, one and a half hours later, I’m standing in front of a police officer.

Me: “I need to report the loss of my driver’s license.”

Officer: “Great, we have a trainee who needs to learn how to do that.”

After spending thirty minutes watching the process being explained to the trainee, I finally have all the documentation I need. By now, it is far too late to drive back to the district office since they close at five, so I put everything in my glove compartment and promptly forget about it. Six months later, I remember that I still need to get a new license and, because I need to go to my village council building anyway, I decide to try them again.

Me: “Hi. I lost my driver’s license. I have a copy of the police report and a photo. Can I apply for that here?”

Employee #3: “Sure, no problem. You can pick it up in one week.”

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Unfiltered Story #191752

, | Unfiltered | April 11, 2020

I answer the phone for a municipality. Last year our city installed a large roundabout, which is either loved or hated by our citizens. As it is a small city it was big news.
Me: *answering phone* Good afternoon (City Name)
Woman in thick accent: There is too much construction in this city! Tell me how I can drive from (certain street) to the mall!
Me: Ok your best bet would be to take the roundabout or you can take (another street) if you don’t wish to use the roundabout.
Woman: Where is the roundabout???
Me: Well it’s actually straight up the hill from your street (she could almost see if from her house).
Woman: NO, I SAID WHERE IS THE ROUNDABOUT!?!
Me: It’s on the top of the hill, you just need to drive straight ahead.
Woman: There is no roundabout! Only highway!
Me: Yes, the highway is located there but it goes through the roundabout.
Woman: There is no roundabout! Only water tower!
Me: Yes, there is a water tower just beside the roundabout.
Woman: THERE IS NO ROUNDABOUT! *hangs up*
Me: *Blank stare*

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.