Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear Belgian Administrative Offices:

This is generally how I feel when I leave any of you:

drawing by Cameron Rutten

This is because pretty much right from the get-go, I am never given the feeling that anyone in your offices actually wants to help me, though it is their JOB.  In fact, I'm generally given the feeling that people who work in your administrative buildings feel that their job is to socialize and drink coffee, and that they feel truly inconvenienced when a public citizen comes in and ASKS THEM TO ACTUALLY DO SOME OF THEIR WORK (which is, you know, to help the public.)

Today I walked into one of your fine buildings at 10:30am.  I was coming to do a good thing and correct my tax-declaration after finding a missing document.  It wasn't anywhere near lunch or morning coffee time.  I waited at the reception for 10 minutes without seeing a single person or sign that might direct me to the place I needed to go.  I read your useless listing of offices by floor-number, which essentially designated every office on every floor as "controle", meaning I had to ask the receptionist in order to know which controle to go to, and could not direct myself.  There was no "back in 10 minutes" even posted on the glass enclosure to the receptionists area.  (I am beginning to understand, btw, why all your receptionists seem to be protected behind thick glass.  With the way you guys run things I can see that being necessary.)  It would have been especially good if I'd taken time away from work to come to your building.  I'm sure I would have been even happier leaving than I was today had that been the case.

I don't really find you charming in this respect Belgium.  Your civil service sucks, just so you know.

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