Useless Red tape....

Sometimes, people get so caught up in standard operating procedure that they fail to, or refuse to, look at any problem objectively. I’ll give you 2 cases in point:

1. Cammy’s bus stop is right by our house. On Thursdays he’s at the sitter’s house, whose son gets picked up one stop further down. The official policy at the school is one bus stop per child, which makes sense in a global way. But since this doesn’t affect pickup times, bus capacities, or anything, I called Transportation to ask if Cam could be picked up at the sitter’s bus stop on Thursdays. “No– only one stop per child,” came the automatic response. I pressed on: “Can someone please tell why this can’t be done?” I was put on hold, then the woman came back on and said, “Okay, that’s fine. Just go to the district office and fill out a form.”

I went to the district office, requested the form, and handed it back with my request. The woman behind the counter looked at it and said, “They won’t do this.” I answered, “I already spoke with them and okayed it.” Sunnily, she responded, “Okay then– I’ll fax it right over!”

Needless to say, I received a phone call from Transportation the next day. “We can’t do this,” said the VERY SAME WOMAN who had approved it. I reminded her of our earlier conversation and got the same cheery, “Okay!!” Now, if this request was such a simple and pleasant one to grant, why did I have to jump through so many hoops???

2. I’ve just begun a new project, my first “real” day back in the office, and recently took the following call from a supplier:

THEM: Hi, Ms. G. We received your order for this $4.11 station button, and we have a $25 minimum order policy.

ME: I know that. But since I go with you the vast majority of the time, your colleagues are kind enough to waive that policy for me.

THEM: Well, but this is for $4.11 and I can’t process it.

ME: Well, did you receive the other order I placed today, for $65,000?

THEM: Yes, we did.

ME: You could add it to that one, couldn’t you? But then you would have to pull it out again to ship to a different location, on a different timeline, and a different carrier. Also we would require that you bill it according to the 2 different projects. Or you could just keep them separate according to the 2 separate orders.

THEM:

ME:

THEM:

ME:

THEM: Okay, Ms. G, we’ll go ahead and create a separate order for you for that. Thanks and have a great day.

Now, I ask you: WHY did I have to spend those moments of my life, pointing out the obvious?


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