Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oh Canada

I had a Falling Down moment at the DMV today. As of June 1, 2009 in order to get into Canada you need a passport or enhanced drivers license (EDL). Since New York is a border state they're one of the few that offer enhanced licenses. We go to Canada every summer and decided to get EDL's. You must provide the appropriate identification; birth certificate, 2 proofs of residency and social security card.

After waiting in the information line for 20 minutes we finally got up to the counter, presented our documentation and had our new photos snapped. Then the clerk hands us our ticket slip, we were number A195 and the wait time printed on it is 55 minutes.They were on number A174. Ok, why didn't I bring a book?

Fifty five minutes slowly crept by, I amused myself by listening to all the different cell phone ring tones. It seemed like everyone was getting phone calls. So after an hour our number was up. Up to the window we go where she tells us that she has to scan our documents, ok. She comes back and says things are backed up at the scanner, three people ahead of us, it'll be a few minutes she'll call us when they're ready. Ok.

After we leave the window a young kid comes up to it,yet she hadn't called another number. Ten minutes tick off the clock, he's still there, 20 minutes, still there, 40 minutes, still there. They're calling number A235. Now my blood pressure is rising, my chest is getting tight and I'm so frustrated I feel like I'm going jump out of my seat or burst into tears.

Finally he's starting to walk away from the window and we go up not waiting for her to call our name or worse yet another number. I said to the woman, who knows what her name was, no name tag or name plate in sight, "I could never do this job", I don't remember what she said but long story short we started arguing. I said we'd been here over 2 hours,we should have waited at the window for the scans, her response in a nut shell was, too bad. My point was if this guy had an issue that was taking so long, give our paperwork to someone else because we've been waiting. Very poor customer service skills. Here she has a customer that is clearly going over the edge and rather than use a calm voice acknowledging that we have indeed been waiting an
extraordinary long time, she's arguing. Hubby is getting tense and tells us both to stop. I then say, "I'm done speaking" her next words, "I sure hope so". I wanted to climb over the counter.

She enters hubby's info into the computer, no problem. She gets to mine and I have a funky birth certificate. The state of Ohio where I was born put the wrong name on it and the wrong sex! My parents actually had to file an affidavit and have my name and sex legally changed. Hence whenever I have to use my B.C. I have additional paperwork with it. She questions it and hubby tells her about the affidavit because I'm done with her. Bad news, she didn't have that scanned so back to the scanning que. I think I must have looked like I was going to have an apoplectic episode and stroke out so hubs says we'll wait right here at this window while you go and express scan it. She didn't like that but the words didn't come from my lips. I swear if she had said one more antagonist word I was going to tell her "thank God I don't have your shitty job."

It wasn't my proudest moment but dayum I'm going to Canada even if I don't want to just to use that drivers license.


Toronto Realtor said...

You can't but love all the government office workers. They just don't give a rats ass. It's very rare to get a nice person to help you, very rare. And I totally understand your furious attitude with this woman, I would be the same. By the way, Falling down = a very good movie.

Take care, Elli

Anonymous said...

BTW, you do NOT need a passport or an EDL to get into Canada. Canada does not assume you are a terrorist. It's the same as before.
You DO need a passport, EDL, whatever, to get back into the USA, because your government fears you may have become a terrorist while you were in Canada, and assumes all Canadians may also be terrorists.
Do you feel safer? We call it the War on Tourism.
Awake up America!

Kitten Herder said...

I too have often been frustrated by the demeanor and lack of customer service skills in various government service center situations. While the majority of clerks I have encountered do not represent the 'cream of the crop', none of us would want their jobs.

When I have a frustrating experience with an under-bright or under-service-oriented government employee, I try to remind myself that these poor folks are pummeled by the public hour-after-hour. They have to deal with a lot of people, and some of those people are unpleasant and/or slow-witted. So, those poor clerks are often frustrated and tired by the time they get to the next customer.

On top of having to deal with the 'unwashed masses', most government service centers are poorly equipped. So, those unfortunate clerks have to accomplish their jobs while dealing with overtaxed and outdated technology.

I am sorry that you had a frustrating experience getting your EDL. The clerk was dead wrong assisting that kid for so long. I'm glad your husband was able to keep the situation under control.

I do find it ridiculous that the Bush administration changed the procedure for traveling to our neighboring countries. Do the U.S. government experts really think we had an issue with terrorists coming into the country using faked U.S. drivers licenses? ... As if they'd really have to resort to that.

Oh well. Paranoia grows while the potential of another terrorist attack remains.

Summer said...

@Toronto Realtor; used to be working for the gov. was a good job.

@anonymous; FIrst let me say I love Canada and go there several times every year. The people are friendly and proud of their country. My grandmother was born in London Ontario. My most recent visit to Canada was last Dec. and stupid me forgot my wallet. I had to go into immigration at the border while they ran a background check on me which took 30 min. on a slow day, I was the only one there. My own fault of course but don't tell me it's that easy to get into your country. We do not assume all Canadians are terrorists but be assured that there are terrorits in your country that wish us ill will. I'm not saying they are born and bred Canadians but they're there and at one time could get over the border pretty easily. When your country is attack by crazy, millitant zealots that were illegally in your country let me know how you feel. I'm sure these new rules will have an effect on tourism for both countries but in the long run may ease the long wait at customs at peak times. Come and visit us, we're not so bad, really.

@Kitten; You're right and after I calmed down (the next day)I thought how crappy her job must be to listen to people complain all day long. I'm usually not like that with people but she went on the defensive immediatly which inturn inflamed me more. Next time won't you come with me and be the voice of reason. My husband says he will never go there with me again.