Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cellular Confusion

There are several cellular companies here and we went with Personal. As with any cellular company, we are inundated with texts about recharging our phone with additional minutes, contests, and so on. We like to joke that they're not really nuisance calls because they're PERSONAL. We take our laughs where we can get them. 

Yesterday Ivan got a text from a friend and he was having trouble deciphering the message. It made sense except the end. Last night he was talking to this young man's parents and mentioned the odd text message. It turns out that his phone service tacks a little addition onto EVERY SINGLE TEXT MESSAGE sent. So the confusing bit wasn't even from our friend, but from the cellular company. How weird is that?! Should that even be legal?

I have given up trying to make sense of why something is the way it is...there is often no rhyme or reason, it's just the way it's always been done. Reminds me of a story our pastor tells. He taught his wife to make a roast the way his mother did, and one of the things she had always done was cut off the tip end of the roast. Pastor's wife wanted to know why and he didn't have a reason, it was just the way his mother did it. Years passed and finally one of them remembered to ask his mom -- only to find out it was simply because her roasting pan was too small so she invariably had to cut the end off to make it fit!

That's how I feel a lot of things are done here. Nobody thinks about whether it makes the most sense, or how efficient it is, or if there might be a better way; they just mindlessly continue doing things the same old way.

One of the irritating aspects for me is how there are no lists of requirements or criteria for the many different, necessary forms of paperwork. For example, to get permanent residency status I had to first stand in line to apply. I will go back in a month and stand in line to supposedly finalize the process only to be told I am missing at least one very important piece of paper. How do I know this? BECAUSE THAT HAS BEEN THE CASE WITH EVERY SINGLE THING WE'VE EVER DONEWhen I applied, Ivan even asked if we could have a list of what is required but they just verbally rattled off a few things and when we pressed for a written list, they just stonewalled us. And before you ask, yes we tried to find it on the official website too. Nada, zilch, nothing. My theory is that this is because it gives them great joy to make you go back and forth multiple times to accomplish what could be done in one single sesssion, IF THEY'D TAKE THE TIME TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS AND MAKE IT MORE EFFICIENT. But then, what's the fun in that?

With that I will climb off my efficiency soapbox and, as Ivan suggests, spend my time thinking about things I actually have some control over. Like what to make for lunch and planning the lesson for English class.

But it sure felt good to get that off my chest!


The Bug said...

See, I would have to see if they would hire me so I could fix them. But you're probably right - this is how they get their jollies :)

skoots1mom said...

my blood pressure might not be able to handle all that stuff...oh my...it was exponentially increase my prayer life. would drive me crazy too!
you blog about it anytime, 'cause i'll for sure understand your frustration ;)

Betty said...

You describe it well. Paraguay is so similar in these things! It´s enough to drive a sane person crazy!!
Luckily we have our Coop, that does many of these bureaucratic things for us.

rita said...

Así es...
Que le vamos a hacer.
Aguantar, no más.