I had to file some papers with the social security people, and they are in a very nice area, between one of my cigar clubs and the spa where I get my massages. So I planned to hit all three the other afternoon.
I was told that the SSA office is only open until 3, and only noon on Wednesdays. (Good hours, right? Imagine McDonald’s or Apple or Ford keeping those hours.) I arrived with a book and my iPhone, dutifully registered on a touch screen, and received my number in line.
Two of four windows were closed, unstaffed.
One woman staffer was moving people quickly, and my number was called within 20 minutes. After asking me the same questions I already answered on the computer screen, she told me that my transaction couldn’t be processed that day. I’d have to come back, and no later than 1:30 in the afternoon.
“Why is that?”
“We’re understaffed and this transaction needs a specialist.”
“I was told on the phone that I didn’t need an appointment and that I could come at any time prior to closing.”
“Whoever you spoke to didn’t understand that we’re understaffed and only take care of this transaction earlier in the day.”
“So, I’ve been told the wrong thing, wasted my time here waiting, and you’re simply telling me to come back again?”
Small wonder she was moving people so quickly!
In the waiting room were elderly people, one severely hearing impaired, one in a wheelchair, and several who were dropped off by drivers. They were all taking time out of their day to be there. There were also younger people, no doubt missing work.
And people believe the government should take over more services and activities? The best and brightest do not go into government management. We all have to live with the consequences.
I visited my cigar club early, where they know how to treat their customers.
© Alan Weiss 2014