Wrapped in red tape
We started off early in the morning to one of the government offices. We needed to have our ID renewed. At first we were pleased, we found a parking place easily, there seemed to be light traffic and pedestrians.
It all happened as we entered the government office. It was ok at first, we got our ticket number and sat down and waited to be called for. It seemed slow, very slow, the voice on the speaker was dragging on, we realized there was only two counters operating whereas it should have been at least 10.
Meanwhile more people were piling up in the hall, the atmosphere was getting tense, things were definitely not moving, one or two was moving up the counter taking the queue, and didn't bother with the number; they obviously knew the person behind the counter.
Meanwhile more people were leaving their seats, and barging up, lots and lots of people. It was a hopeless case. Someone told us, he came yesterday and it was the same, human mass too angry about the slow process of getting things done. One of the officials simply said 'we are understaffed'.
We went home, had a bite to eat, some coffee and straight out to the other government office, a short drive to where we lived. Outside many of these places, there is usually a crowd, and taxis stopping for people adding to the congestion, coffee and photocopying kiosks in the middle adding to the mayhem.
But lo and behold, we've got in the large building, went upstairs, took our numbers and sat down. It was spacious, there were only two counters, and there were fewer people because of the fact this was still a new government office, and more visitors are still to know of this place.
Magic, it moved like clock work, after about 20 minutes we've got the application processed and then 45 minutes to get our new IDs.
We've left the building feeling good, earlier that morning I thought I was going to be tangled in red tape for the coming days, but wait for it. Our next stop was the bank were my wife wanted to open up an account.
Posh, nice, neat, took our number and sat. But here is the best bit. We got in at 12 noon, and wait for it, we left at 1:30, an hour and a half in between waiting and opening up an account. Here, it was calm and surreal, actually I thought the first government office was better, with the hot heads and the tempers rising.
Here you couldn't do anything, you just had to wait. It was like they were saying 'you want our service, you jolly well have to wait for it.' After an hour, it was hurray, bingo, I got my foothold in one of the cubicles. But again the best thing was yet to come!
It started with photocopying of legal documents, filling in the form on computer, filling in form on paper, signatures, more tapping on keyboard, checking signatures, writing name, more signatures, comparing signatures.
It was taking its toll. The clerk kept typing and typing with the occasional questions, time was rolling. It was lucky for me they had a toilet, my bladder was going to burst!
But think of the time-wasting that is actually counted in terms of money lost. Surely outside they have a better way of dealing with bureaucracy, or do they?