Dear license renewal people

On Monday morning I decided to embark on an adventure.  I had to renew my driver’s license.  Fun right? So after I spent the morning sleeping through 3 alarms, setting off my house alarm, knocking my shoulder alarmingly hard against a door frame and launching a mad search for my ID book which suddenly decided to disappear I finally ventured to your offices.

Your staff was less than friendly from the get go.  No clear directions on where you are supposed to go or who you are supposed to speak to could be found.  After pulling a ditzy blonde move some other victims of the system indicated where I had to go wait in line.  It was a LOOOOONG line.  I was quite happy to stand and wait my turn…but then I was instructed to “SIT DOWN!!!” rather loudly.  I gave the filthy, sweat and germ infested fabric coated chairs a swift once over and politely declined, stating that I’d rather stand.  A rather intense tongue lashing quickly changed my mind and I found myself balancing right on the edge of the chair, trying my best not to actually touch anything with my bare skin and cursing myself for wearing a short little dress.

But this was only the start.  It was HOT and there was not a fan or an aircon in sight.  I feel for the staff…I really do…it can’t be easy having to work in those conditions..but trust me..they sure as hell made sure we understood what an absolute pain it was for them to work there O_o.  After not moving at all for what seemed like an eternity, the line finally started moving.  This meant more filthy chairs, more balancing acts and, in an attempt not to be bored to death, chatting with the people sitting around me.  I was then shouted at for talking to much by one of the people working there…REALLY??

When it was nearly my turn for eye tests etc. I had the unique opportunity to tweet the following:
(Arch being catch of course) Yeah that was pleasant…NOT.  I had absolutely no idea how to react.  Do I ask him what the hell he’s doing? Do I shout and throw a little tantrum and risk getting shouted at again? Do I make a joke about it?  I just didn’t know how to deal with it…but was luckily saved from having to deal with said neighbour for much longer when it was my turn.

I smiled all friendly like, said “Hi” and started asking the guy behind the table a question.  Right in the middle of my question he started talking.  Then proceeded to shout at me saying: “Stop talking when I’m talking!!!”.  Excuse me??? I was talking FIRST! I think you could literally HEAR my jaw dropping when he followed that up with a “Now be quiet!”.  Really? Firstly…you interrupted me and then you shout at me??? What the hell?  I could have sworn I had walked into a parallel universe when I entered that building.

So I promptly snapped my mouth shut and listened to his instructions very carefully.  Pull the little lever in the direction of the solid line.  That shouldn’t be too hard right? Except that he informed me I needed glasses and failed the eyetest completely.  It was at this point I finally snapped, figured out he explained the procedure to me incorrectly and then told him in no uncertain terms that he better allow me to do the eye test AGAIN or I would make the rest of his human life a complete and utter misery.  I was allowed to retake the test…my eyesight, as 5 years ago, is perfect.

I was then sent to a new line in order to pay…oh joy! another line of dirty, sweaty, germy, fabric covered seats….at this point in time I was tired of being surrounded by freaks taking pictures of my feet, the heat and being shouted at…I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The payment line went smoothly and quickly except for one incident where the girl working in front stepped out to shout at EVERYONE waiting in line telling us that we’re useless because ONE guy didn’t have his R300 ready and waiting when he got to the front.  He had to actually take it out of his wallet… SCANDAL!

So guys…please…train your staff…send them on a people skill course…clean your waiting area….allow people to stand if they so choose and for goodness sake install some aircons or fans in that place!



Dear Monday

When you decide to give someone a hard time you don’t hold back at all.  You just go out there and give it your worst.  Sadly today, I was your victim.

I haven’t had a blue monday in quite a long time.  In fact, life has been pretty sweet of late.  I’m excited about work, excited about life and even Mondays have seemed like good, brightly coloured days.  Then of course today came along and shattered that illusion..mondays are designed to be blue.  At least that’s how I feel at this moment in time.

The day started out well.  I was able to laze around in bed until quarter to 8.  At this point I jumped out of bed, made the bed, took a shower, got dressed and packed the last few remaining items for my trip.  Off to Namibia for another 2 weeks.  At this point still all excited and happy about life in general.  As per usual I phoned the taxi service an hour before I needed them to pick me up.  I was expecting them at 9am, but the driver was 10minutes early.  Not a trainsmash, they’ve done this before and if they were in the wrong they quite happily agree to wait free of charge until the predetermined time.  Still smiling at this point.

Now, the security and access control at my complex work as follows.  A visitor will press the intercom button at the gate.  They have to give their name and the unit they want to visit to the security guard.  He then phones the resident on their cellphone to inform them of the visitor and if you are happy to let the person in you need to press a number on your keypad to let them in.  It’s a good system and mostly it works.  (At this point I’d like to point out that this is the 3rd time in 6 weeks I’m making use of the same taxi service to pick me up from the complex.  Every single time they have been allowed into the complex to come pick me up).  This morning the guard phoned me and told me that the driver arrived.  When I attempted to open the gate via my cellphone the guard informed me, very rudely, that the taxi driver would not be permitted to enter the complex.  WHATTTT???  Not to worry..I remained calm and explained to the guard that there is no way I can walk the several hundred meters from my unit to the gate with my big suitcase, my laptop bag and my handbag all in tow.  If I had wanted to do that I wouldn’t have called a personalised taxi service.  While I was explaining this to him he proceeded to slam the phone down in my ear.  That moment right there….that set the tone for the whole day.  I grabbed my access card and took the walk to the gate and insisted on talking to the guard in person.  He shouted, he was rude and generally difficult.  I proceeded to tell him that I WILL let the taxi in and I WILL report him to the body corporate…..I wish i could tell you he handled this well….but I can’t.  He ended up screaming at me:/ Not cool at all…my blood was absolutely boiling.

Now don’t get me wrong.  If it is against complex rules…fine.  But in that case, why have all the previous taxis been allowed to come in?? Why was it necessary for him to put the phone down in my ear? What gave him the right to shout at me?  And who gave him the right to be that rude to me?? Seriously!

The flight to Windhoek was rather uneventful and pleasant…but that’s where it ended.  The moment we stepped off the plane and into passport control we could all see that there would be hell to pay.  I was 3rd in the row for foreign passports and I waited 20mins before I got to the front.  Even the Namibian citizens were given a hard time.  Questions, making them fill in more forms, rude remarks, threatening to send them back to SA, confiscating passports….it was insane.  As I stepped up to the front I suddenly realised that I didn’t have a printed copy of my work visa.  PROBLEM! I decided not to panic.  Every other time I’ve come in I didn’t have it.  I simply filled in business and explained that I was actually working for an SA company and I was here for meetings and to hand over a report(which is true…I’m being paid by an SA company).  She would have NONE of it.  She was screaming and shouting at me within seconds.  Threatening to send me back, telling me that nobody can come into the country for business without a work visa.  It was at this point where I really wanted to point to all the business men behind me in the line and ask…..’so are you telling all these people that they can not come into your country for their various meetings today cause they don’t have work visas??’

After much shouting from her side and much calm from mine I explained to her that I do have a visa and I could show her the scanned document on my iPad, but I don’t have a printed copy.  But if there is any way for me to print it I would gladly print it out for her.  This set her off on another screaming match.  After another couple of minutes she rudely told me to go to information to find out if they can print it for me.  Bear in mind…I have to go out into the actual airport…actual namibia…past passport control and all the various security points.  She then shouted after me that I dare not leave the airport without my passport and I dare not collect my baggage.  After more than an hour and R350 later I finally managed to get a printed version of my visa.  I then had to go through the tedious process of trying to convince security that I needed to go back through security to get to passport control so i can get my passport back and collect my baggage.  Another 20mins later and I finally delivered the visa to the incredibly rude staff member.

I figured this would be the end of it.  Not so I’m afraid.  She launched another line of rude comments my way and then proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t read it and will therefore NOT be stamping my passport and she’ll be sending me back to SA.  This is where I finally lost it.  I grabbed my passport and the visa out of her hand and handed it to one of the other immigration officers and asked her if she could read it.  Which she could.  She stamped my passport and told the other woman she was being unnecessarily difficult.  I proceeded to give the rude woman a piece of my mind.  Seriously…i don’t have a problem with her doing her job.  That’s what she’s paid for.  But to stand there and shout at me, be difficult, incredibly rude and generally (excuse my french) act like a bitch and abuse her power and expect me to just take it and bite my tongue because she can cause a lot of problems for me…THAT is unacceptable.  I was furious.  I very rarely get angry, and even when I do my temper is rather laughable.  I just don’t do angry.  But today I was truly furious, seething, angry beyond belief because of people abusing their positions and being rude.

And while I realise Namibia isn’t exactly a million miles away it is still a foreign country.  This is my job, my livelihood.  I was only able to leave the airport 2 hours after actually landing because some woman was on a power trip.  It was incredibly stressful and upsetting to say the least.  Then of course there is this OTHER situation.  Something going on that I can’t talk about.  About being disappointed in people you look up to.  About the crap that’s about to hit the fan in a big way and not knowing how it’s going to affect you.  So between the rude security guard, the rude, powertripping passport control lady and this other situation I’m a wreck this evening.  I’m stressed beyond belief, and while a good night’s sleep won’t do much for the ‘other’ situation it sure as hell will make me feel better about the rest of today.

So dear dear monday…please, I’d like to never ever ever repeat this day again…do we have an understanding?