Encore: There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one…

Encore: There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one…

So I had to go to the traffic office (traffic department?). It is the administrative office in Pinelands so I guess it is just an office, and not a department, right? Be that as it may, I was there because I had to transfer and register new cars. I usually like, or should I say prefer, going to the Pinelands office as it is not quite as busy there as the Ottery or the Green Point offices. Things changed at this office though. What used to be the registration and vehicle renewals of licenses side of the room has been moved to the other side of the room. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. So, confusion reigns. And, as is the case with many of these kinds of offices, there is nobody at the entrance to warn or direct you. This means you could spend the good part of 20 minutes in a queue until you get to the clerk. (Is that still an acceptable term, or is it something more executive-sounding like “administrative assistant” or “data capturer”?) Only then you find out you are in the wrong queue and irately make your way to the other side.

Anyway, long story short, as you can imagine, there is much confusion and much frustration. Even though this is one of the less busy offices, I still allow myself at least an hour for any business to be done there. Only this time I needed not one, but two hours. When my turn came and I stood, very industriously, forms in hand in front of the “clerically administratively data in-putter/capturer” I was politely told that I have to fill out yet another form – the blue one and the yellow one were not enough. I also needed the green one, which he proceeded to give to me from under his counter top. “And don’t worry,” he says. “You won’t lose your place in the line (sic) – you can come straight back to me.” I have never liked when assistants tell me that and should you read on, a little later on, you will know why…

Okay, cool. So off I trot to fill out the green form as well. Then, after the form is filled out to the best of my knowledge of the drivel they want to know about the car – all but how many passengers have ever driven in it – I stand on the side – not in the queue, waiting for “my” administratorly-clericularly-datarically-captively-in-putter to be “free”. Why? Because I am sure as hell not going to stand in the queue again, and I am certainly going to take advantage of his offer not to stand in the queue again. I am frustrated remember?

Here is the rub. I am not the only one he, and his colleagues have said that to. The result – we are three people waiting to “jump” the queue to get to our clerk – or at least that is how you feel or get made to feel by the people in the queue…they are new people on the queue, you see…they don’t know that you have already been through the queuing system. They just look at you as if to say: “Why are you not in the queue with the rest of us plebs? I also had to give up my lunch hour to stand here and wait. What is so special about you?”

And by this time you rather just look at your forms or play with your phone – anything to avoid eye contact, especially with the person who is next in line…for he, too, has been standing for a good 20 minutes. And at this stage of the game, when you see someone in the queue with a blue form or a license renewal form, you are too frustrated to help by telling them they are in the wrong queue. You leave them to “fry” as you fried. But some Good Samaritan will come along and do the right thing, which in turn makes you feel better as you remember karma can be a b!tch and all…
All of which could have been prevented had they just posted someone at the entrance to tell you which forms you need to fill out, and which counter you need to go to. Simple as that!

rafiek@mweb.co.za