Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anger Management or Bureaucracy #2

So with all of this bookmooching, I've been getting lots of book-sized parcels arriving from around the world. Unfortunately, I've also got that pesky day job so I'm often not at home when the postman rings (no, just once).

When this happens, I get a little note telling me to go to the post office to pick my parcel up. Not the same day of course — that would be too convenient — the next day. But not if the next day is a Saturday because my agence postale is closed on Saturdays.

Last week, I found the little note on Friday so had to waituntil the Monday afternoon to pick my parcel up. But I got to the post office only to find the door closed with an unapologetic hand-written notice on it. The agency was closed for two weeks for a holiday (!), but parcels could still be picked up at the main Post Office. My blood pressure did a little war dance.

The next day, I got another of those chits and so took them both to the main post office. I queued for the usual eternity and smiled my best bonjour when it was my turn to approach the hallowed counter. I presented my two slips of paper along with a public transport card
with my photograph and name on it which I'd dug out of my bag.

"What's that?" said the guy behind the counter as if I'd placed a steaming turd on his desk.
"I.D.", I said.
"No, it's not", he said.
"Yes, it is. Look it's got my name and photograph on it. Is that me or is that not me?"
"It's not a passport or a driving licence. For all I know, you found this card in the street."
"It would be a strange coincidence if I'd found a card in the street that just happened to have my photo on it!"

By this time, I was protesting in rather a loud voice, and peppering the argument with ill-advised asides such as "Vivement la privatisation!". That was stupid, I know from experience that one should never argue — it's best to feign contriteness. People started staring, but the nasty little man wouldn't budge and I left huffing and puffing without my parcels.

I went away for a couple of days after that and forgot all about the parcels. When I got back there was another chit for a third parcel on the doormat, and I thought, great, I'll be able to kill three birds with one piece of ID. Only this time the parcel had to be picked up from, wait for it, yet another post office at the other end of town.

On Saturday morning, I finally got round to going back to pick up the first two parcels. I'd looked out my passport and I was ready to be polite to the self-appointed guardian of my reading materials. He wasn't there, and the parcels were handed over without me being asked for any proof of identity whatsoever.

I haven't been to get the third parcel yet. It's just too emotionally draining.


Gordon said...

You should be happy that you live in a country where people take their responsibilities seriously!

Well... ok... where one guy is a bit of a jobsworth. ;-)

What are the books?

Sarah Mackenzie said...

On Wednesday Guy took an A4 miniposter of Ganesha to Bergerac to be "plastified" (Ganesha likes to be kept clean and crease free). When asked when to come back and pick it up she replied "Friday." Why it would take so long? "It's not worth turning on the machine for just that."

Guy left and then – probably on realising that an entire country could be invaded, it's maniac dictator deposed to cheering crowds, a puppet government installed and all the antiquities and – more importantly – oil looted in less time than this simple job would take – he went back and explained to her that if it would really take that long he would take it to someone who might actually want to do the job.

This was enough to shift her lazy ass of the seat and turn the machine on.

What goes on in these people's minds? What if no-one else wanted anything plastified in the intervening days (and given the slow nature of the process this could quite possibly be the case) would she then have asked him to come back... next week? Next month?

I suggest a website whereby we can take photos of surly shop/government staff and put them in virtual stocks and pelt them with virtual tomatoes. Or we could flay them!

Lesley said...

Gordon: One was Bella Tuscany which I'm reading now and guess where I'd like to go for our next holiday. The other is by Alasdair Gray: Pretty Things. I don't know why I didn't read it years ago, I think I've read all of his other novels. (He also has a blog)

Sarah: Ganesha would probably say "suck it up". But I can't.

Anonymous said...

Acutally, one of Ganesha's primary attributes is "remover of obstacles".

If only France were more of a Hindu country! Everything would flow like clockwork. Sure works for India.

Jonathan said...

Oh you poor thing...

Why can't they stick the books in your postbox?

The same thing happens regularly to me. Apparently our postman has a key to our postbox which he is quite happy to use once a year when delivering telephone directories, but on no other occasion...

And why do they snap in half every single paperback book they have ever delivered to our house?

And whoever imagined that a shoe box painted yellow would suffice as a post box?

Jonathan said...

The yellow thing...

That's a letter box isn't it?

Or is that a post box?

Or is the box for post on your gate a letter box?

Oh dear, I've been away from home too long...

Lesley said...

You have me confused now.
The easy explanation is that the letter box (?) is too narrow to get books through. (But he could leave any parcel with our neighbour who is always in)

SusieJ said...

Maybe a bigger post box? Or, they probably have regulations against that stuff too?

meredic said...

' if I'd placed a steaming turd on his desk...'
perhaps next time...