Another day, another moment, another thought, another post

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Efficiently seeking inefficiency

As I was reading this article on Rediff about the perceived inefficiency in government organizations, and how the thought process changed, I not-so fondly remembered my own experience at Athens DMVS. I went in for an address change, (which I later found out could be done online) and it took me lesser time to move to my new apartment than get this frikkin address change done. A friend of mine had gone for a road test earlier in Augusta and he did not have his passport. Thanks to newer and ever changing alien laws in this land, though he passed the test he did not get his license. He was told to fax his passport front page and visa and that the license would be given to him by Athens DMVS. He too chugged along last Friday with me. We were given our tokens and were called to the front desk. I was asked to fill out my change of address form, which read bold on top, MOVING !! CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS AT DMVS WEB SITE . All pretensions of a wanna be geek vanished and the computer scientist in me told the moron in me to realize the power of internet. I did fill out the form and was told I would be called in few minutes. I looked at the pile of papers next to the clerk and mine was the lone ranger. Feeling petty happy I went and took my chair. I did not realize the DMVS followed a stack approach (Last in First out) when it came to paper processing. I waited and waited. On the other side my friend's passport got faxed. He was told to wait for a few minutes till they got a reply. The fax apparently is a pigeon flying around, or so it appeared. After 1 hour we went and checked on the status. My lone ranger now had company and there were few more papers sitting on top and moving pretty. Another hour of my giving company to the chair and my paper giving company to the table he was placed in, I asked them again. In between was the (Yet Another Tri-Series Final)YATS Final in, where else but Sri Lanka.. I was tabbing on the scores and Indian wickets were going down faster than my paper work. My friend asked them about the fax and the lady says oh! let me check it... As if we were english ignorant, she says we just got the fax whilst the time on it read about 40 minutes earlier. I realized if 40 minutes is just now,then on the same scale 2 minutes should be about 2 hrs. After about 2 and half hours of extreme patience, (Never lose your patience in a govt. office. It hurts you bad.)I was called in. I went and was asked 20 bucks. 20 bucks for an address change!!! I got my license and told my self never to move again till I am out of Athens. My friend got his too and we left... Bottomline: Government offices are government offices. Anywhere in the world. They efficiently seek inefficiency. The lady that had her Wendy's burger as we were starving and waiting is just a small representative sample. The stack way to move things is just another example that shows the lack of utter common sense in doing their work. and the 20 bucks, well that deserves another post totally....As far as the Rediff article mentioned on top goes, all I say is one efficient module in the midst of a buggy error prone monsterous system called government is not going to change anything.

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