Saturday, June 24


This is for everyone who complains about Greek bureaucracy, and thinks it's not a problem anywhere else in the world. It's for all those foreigners who incessantly complain, and for all those Greeks who regard me dubiously when I tell them their country is not the only one with a red tape problem.

It is an e-mail my friend in Canada sent to the government office in charge of issuing drivers' licences. And if you didn't know better, you'd swear it was Greece!

Read on and you'll see...

"There are many things that I can complain about the SAAQ. Getting my first driver's license has been more trouble than it is worth. first the strike last year - occurred the day before my original written exam -after already waiting over 2 months to do that, I had to wait another 2 months. when finally I was able to write my exam it took over five hours to get through it, even though the test only took 20 minutes. I was shuffled around from one line to another - never receiving even a smile from a single employee.

my driving exam was scheduled in late April - the earliest appointment available was on June 7th. over a month and a half later! my "appointment" was for 12:10 pm. the security guard at the front door of the henri bourassa center wouldn't let me take a number until the time of my "appointment". this should not be called an "appointment for a driving exam", as you call it, rather it should be an "appointment to take a number." finally as I walked into the waiting room, almost every single employee left their windows and went off to lunch - leaving me sitting and waiting for almost two hours while employees wandered around doing nothing. why would you schedule an "appointment" in the beginning of the lunch hour? it just get things even more backlogged. ridiculous that I could see all of the employees chatting in the back room and ignoring the 300 people waiting to be served - why aren't the breaks staggered like any other place of business - you can't send all of your employees to lunch at the same time without closing the shop!!!

Finally being allowed to take my exam, and passing it, just to come back and get ANOTHER NUMBER (this being the fourth or fifth) to wait to have my photo taken. while getting my photo taken, the woman noticed an error in my address (which I had just changed with the first agent I spoke with (I wrote it down for him and he STILL didn't enter it correctly) she changed it by removing one letter from the street name (good thing she knew Decarie and how it was spelled)

finally after almost three hours (better than last year but still too long) I was free. having been given a temporary piece of paper permit and being told that I would get my license by the 16th of June. well, today is the 16th, it isn't here and the rude man that I just spoke with on the phone told me that it's MY responsibility to got BACK to the saaq AGAIN and have my picture taken again and they would mail it again AFTER that.

it is utterly ridiculous the way that I have been treated by all the employees that I have encountered at the saaq both last year and this year. the man on the phone basically called me an idiot by telling me that maybe I didn't see it in my mailbox. excuse me? I’m not blind, or I wouldn't be allowed to drive. I have a herniated disk in my lower back (partly due to sitting and waiting so long at the saaq last week) and can't even get out of bed for another week and yet, I am expected to get to the saaq before June 26th to have you take a photo that you already have on file - twice.

the service that I have received from your "company" (if only it were privatized maybe we would get some real service) is abominable, shameful, and disgusting. your employees (thanks to the union probably) lack enthusiasm and any drive to be helpful; instead they are constantly scowling at customers and treating them like they are a hassle, as if the people who pay their salaries are disturbing them somehow. and lucky me, I get to do it all over again. and if Canada post manages to lose it the next time, then it will be my fault again, and I will have to go through the process until the end of time."

Original post here.

Also see a more personal account of the ordeal here.


Anonymous said...

=zardoz says:

yep bureaucracy,,

dont worry ,,,

about everything ,, winter will come again soon

have fun ,, zardoz

iamyuva said...

i think its much to do with expectations..

not been to canada yet but i hope this case is an exception not norm...right?

in greece - i guess, its demand supply logic.. if customers are more demanding then thinking will change for better. but problem is local customer are less demanding so service is below avg in EU state... not just in govt. sector but also with private companies (mobiles, internet.)

but i thinks - you can complian or appreciate any place.. its very subjective, depends are your own experience and the way you see it..

so why complain.! live with flow..- fun all around...

toomanytribbles said...

anyone who thinks that bureaucracy is unique in their own country clearly has not read the twelve tasks of asterix!