Bad form and all that goes with it — 15 Comments

  1. I had the same shite from officialdom when I told them I hadn’t a printer, (and I don’t!). This time they were looking for a photocopy of my passport and the better half came up with the solution. She photographed the relevant pages using her iPad and e-mailed it to me. I e-mailed it to the ‘faceless ones’ with a curt covering note filled with his reference numbers for everything. The pieces fell into place after that.

    • I misread the above…  “with a curt covering note”.  I thought you wrote something else, but you didn’t.  Pity!

      I just phoned one of the offices about this morning’s letter.  I utterly confused the poor bloke on the other end, which in fact is quite easy to do – just ask them something that isn’t on their computer screen.  This little saga is going to roll and roll.

  2. ” They have reached stratospheric levels of confusion by involving two departments, one in Dublin and one in Sligo”

    Be very quiet and be grateful that they haven’t ‘outsourced’ to the UK or Backwardstan.

    Unfortunately right now I am in the shit because 10 years ago I sent a government agency an original document and didn’t think to scan in a copy for myself. That was what that 4.5kg packet of papers was about recently. I needed a copy of that document- a court judgement- I sent them years ago. Of course that was the one thing they didn’t send me in that 4.5kg heap of daisy wheel printouts.

    • I have made several calls today and so far have only reached grand Irish accents [Allah be praised].  One had a lovely rich Dublin accent which would have confused any non-Irish [and even a lot of Irish].

      One rule of dealing with bureaucracy – take copies of everything.

      • The sadly late sir Patrick Moore used to delight in annoying bureaucracies and developed a number of techniques to maximise the irritation to them and the enjoyment to himself.

        First of all, any section of a form marked For Official Use Only should be liberally rubbed with a wax candle, to make writing upon it impossible but undetectably so.

        Secondly, invent your own letter numbering system which appears sensible, but which isn’t.

        Thirdly, at some point refer in passing to a letter that you haven’t actually sent. Bureaucrats absolutely hate losing correspondence, and they really hate is when you can prove that you have sent something, and they can’t find it.

        Finally, when sending documents, send them as PDF format and preferably as image files embedded in PDF files. That makes the document legible, but utterly impossible to cut and paste, which means some poor schmo is going to have to type it out by hand.

  3. I wrote a lovely comment about how it seems bureaucracy is the same everywhere including a somewhat detailed description about how renewing my license here in Vermont used to be so simple (comparatively) and what a pain the arse it is now. Then I fat-fingered the keyboard, the site refreshed, and everything I wrote was gone.

    Now I can’t remember what it was I wrote.

    Better luck next time.

    • “how it seems bureaucracy is the same everywhere”

      I keep wondering where they find these confused and confusing minions in each and every country …

      • Hi Claudia,

        You are referring to the critically out-of-touch, somewhat apathetic individuals that have a complete lack of imagination and empathy towards others? I think every society has them kicking around somewhere. I also believe it’s a requirement on the employment form for any government related job–even politicians. Although for politicians, narcissism and nepotism are also required I think.

        The military is by and large an exception to this…except for the officers of course. 😉


    • Kirk, that used to be something that made me want to throw my computer out of the window, and it happened regularly – the page would refresh, or the internet would drop out, or there would be a power cut (I didn’t have a UPS back then) or I would simply fuck up and forget to do the captcha or something.

      And then I discovered ‘Textarea Cache’ (Google it). It’s a free add-on, and it saves everything you type in, and keeps it for a week or so. No more screams of despair, no more inclinations to violence, no more kicking the cat. It transformed my life.

      Such a simple concept, but so useful. I can’t understand why it’s not integrated into every browser.

      • nisakiman,

        Yup, I used it as well but just recently removed it since as of Firefox 57 (I’m testing the beta 3 version as I write this being the fool that I am) it won’t work anymore nor will any of the old style add-ons. There is an early webextension version of Textarea Cache but it was too hit or miss to be reliable. perhaps I’ll try it again?

  4. I’m sniggering loudly, as I’m reading this.  Go for it, Grandad!  Give ’em hell.  Anyone who sticks it up officialdom, gets a slap on the back from me.



  5. Grandad (or should I say Fellow Oldster?),

    A few years ago I had a run-in with HMRC about Tax Credit over-payments. They insisted that they had given too much to me and were claiming £X back. This I queried and the reply insisted that I owed £X+Y. I copied their original claim back to them and asked why the amount had changed. Yes, I got back a response that stated I now owed £X+Y+Z. this farce went on until I used the HMRC Complaints page on their site. They asked for copies of ALL documentation be sent to them.

    This I did but, unfortunately I had of the drink taken before responding. I made digital copies of all documents (48 pages) and then flipped the resultant .jpg pages so that the text was reversed.

    I’ve not heard a peep from them in two years.

  6. Years ago, when just starting married life in Greater Vogonia (ie Germany) I read Kishon’s “Jerusalem Golem”. Prepared me for what was to come…to come in England, cos in Vogonia it’s actually rare to find an incompetent ‘Beamte’ (certified, warranted,  civil servant). Jewish Mutters tell their sons to become doctors, German Mutters tell their kids to become a ‘Beamte’. Our neighbour came rushing up to us one day desperate to share her GOOD NEWS. After 10 years working for some Government Agency and passing the civil services examS her son had just been awarded Beamte-status, which meant he was ‘sorted’ for life- and could now afford to start building a house and take a wife. Unsackable even if he were to go postal with the office date stamp.

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