Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

08 July 2006

Becoming a homicidal maniac, step 1

Two recent experiences with bureaucracy....

Me: I need to change the registration of this vehicle from state A to state B. (Handing over documents) Here's the title, current registration, emissions inspection, VIN verification and proof of insurance.
Bureaucrat: (Clearly not impressed with my efficiency) You need authorization from a corporate officer on official letterhead.
Me: But it will be registered under the same name. I only need to change the address.
Bureaucrat: You need authorization from a corporate officer on official letterhead.
Me: (Okay, I didn't want to brag, but she's forced my hand) I am an officer of the corporation. I'm the treasurer. (Take that, b***h)
Bureaucrat: You need authorization from a corporate officer on official letterhead.
Me: You mean you want me to go back to the office, type a letter of authorization, sign it and bring it back?
Bureaucrat: You cannot sign it. It must be signed by another officer giving you permission.

I leave in a huff, go back to the office, type said authorization, have the boss's secretary forge his name (he was away at the time), go back to DMV and get back in line. This time, I'm called to a different window.

Me: (acting dumb) Umm, I have a car that's registered in state A, and I want to register it in state B. What documents do you need to see?
New bureaucrat: I'll need the title, current registration, emissions inspection, VIN verification and proof of insurance.
Me: That's it?!
New bureaucrat: Yes, that will do it. Here's your new registration.

Experience 2

Me: Hi. I'd want to close this account and transfer the balance of the funds to this other account.
Bank "service" rep: All the signers on the account will have to present themselves in person in order to close the account.
Me: What?! All of them?! But they're scattered all over the United States. There must be another way.
Rep: Well, maybe if you had a corporate resolution authorizing you to close the account. I'm not sure. It would be better if all the signers came in. I'm sorry that's our policy. It's for your protection.

Clearly, this man knows not of what he speaks so I call the corporate offices.

Me: Hello, could you tell me what I need to do in order to close an account at your bank.
Phone rep: All the signers must come in person to the bank to close it.
Me: But that is next to impossible. Surely there must be another way!
Rep: I'm sorry, but that's our policy. It's for your protection.

A few weeks later, I have an idea. I go back to the first bank rep on a Friday afternoon.

Me: Hi. I talked to you a few weeks ago about closing an account, and you said I would need to have all the signers here in person to do that. It occurred to me that I am not even sure who all the signers are. So could you please pull the signature cards for our four accounts from the files, and make copies of them for me? Here is a list of our account numbers. I'll wait here.
Rep: (Pause) Umm, you said you just wanted to transfer the balance to another of your accounts, didn't you? Oh, in that case, I think I can take care of that right now. (Five minutes later) Here's your deposit slip.


Anonymous Moobs said...

There is no need for homicidal rage when you are that good at lateral thinking.

08 July, 2006 09:17  
Anonymous Bobble said...

Ah good to see labyrinthine red-tape is not just the remit of Italy then.

Reminds me of when an American friend started the official process to become an Italian citizen (after having lived in Italy for 6 years.) The offical told her she needed offical proof of "being alive." Obviously appearing in front of said offical in all her fleshy liveness wasn't sufficient proof. She had to get an official letter from the Chief Sherriff of her old town.

Give me strength Lord.

08 July, 2006 10:38  
Blogger Caz Mockett said...

Made me chuckle - but if these had happened to me, I'd no doubt be tearing my hair out and gnashing teeth too.

As an aside, I love your "spammer name of the day" section - I've often thought some I've received were funny but never thought of collecting them - so I shall shamelessly rip off the idea for my blog next time I get a good one.

08 July, 2006 13:31  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Yes, Moobs. But I feel a little guilty for taking pleasure in it.

Bobble, it seems to me that just as the Italians are beginning to reduce their red tape, the Americans are ramping theirs up.

Rip off to your heart's content, Caz. After all, I stole the idea from Bobble.

08 July, 2006 18:26  
Anonymous belgianwaffle said...

But compared to India, you are very much in the second division.

09 July, 2006 09:03  
Blogger floatykatja said...

That second anecdote is brilliant. How to Work the System, by BroLo...

09 July, 2006 11:53  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Yes, BW, but we have them hands down in the rate of obesity. Ha ha.

Float: Please don't hate me because I'm brilliant.

09 July, 2006 19:03  
Blogger Helenindia said...

Hi Brolo,

Even though my presnece in the sub-continent is brief (as mentioned on your post to my site), I reckon India still trumphs the US even though India may be more consistently incompetent!

09 July, 2006 20:22  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Having had the pleasure (NOT!) of trying to get permission from the Indian consulate in Rome for our brothers traveling there for conferences or studies, I would have to agree with you, Helen.

10 July, 2006 02:39  

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