How is it that government can make everything so complicated?
I got an annual renewal fee invoice from the State of California, Public Utilities Commission, Private Carrier Unit for $30 or $35 if delinquent.
At the top of the letter was a phone number to call for questions.
I called the number late last week and a recording of a giddy chick gleefully announced, “This is Karen. Hooray, I am finally retired. If you need assistance call (referred number).”
I called the new number several times that day. No one answered. Later I remembered that it was Friday. Government doesn’t work on Fridays.
So I waited until Monday and called again. No answers; it was MLK day. Government doesn’t work on holidays either. In fact, government doesn’t work most of the time but they're just too dumb to know it.
On Tuesday I called several times and got busy signals. Finally I got a live person with a thick, foreign accent and dead brain – a Brain-dead Doofus (BDD). Following is the conversation I had with BDD.
(Ring, ring, ring, ring.)
BDD: Public Utilities Commission. This is (Brain-dead Doofus). May I help you?
Me: Hi, my name is Ralph Petersen and I received an annual statement requesting a $30 fee to renew our PRIVATE CARRIER permit. Can you please tell me what the permit is for?
BDD: Oh sure. That’s is for Private Carriers.
Me: Yeah, I know. I just read that to you but my question is, WHAT IS IT FOR?
Me: I know how much it is. That’s not what I asked. I want to know what the permit is for?
BDD: Do you know what your PUC number is? It should be at the top of the letter and it starts with the letters, CA.
Me: Sure, it is 0067897.
BDD: Eight, nine, ten?
Me: No, eight, nine, seven.
BDD: Did you say nine, seven, ten?
Me: No, I said, eight, nine, seven. Let me repeat it. It is 0067897.
BDD: Okay, so you are with (Name of Company)?
Me: Yes, that’s correct.
BDD: Okay, that is for your annual renewal fee.
Me: I know that. That’s not what I asked. This isn't a hard question. Is there anyone there who can UNDERSTAND ENGLISH AND ANSWER A SIMPLE, STRAIGHT-FORWARD QUESTION? I WANT TO KNOW, WHAT IS IT FOR?
(Maybe it’s my fault. I probably confused the poor guy with my lousy grammar; I ended the question with a preposition).
BDD: Hold on. I’m going transfer this call to my supervisor.
(Ring, ring, ring, ring.)
Hello. This is (BDD’s supervisor). I’m sorry, I am away from my desk at the moment. Please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as I get back.
It is now twelve hours later and I am still twiddling my thumbs.
So here's my question: Shouldn't a fourth grade education be a prerequisite for public employment? Just wondered!