Friday, February 01, 2008

Red Tape

Being an American married to a South African equals endless paperwork and red tape. Passports, visas, work permits, drivers licenses, birth certificates. etc. You name it, we've got to get it. And today's experience totally typifies African bureaucracy. Clint calls the DMV to find out if he needs to bring photos, or if they take them there. The first lady says, nope, no photos needed, the DMV takes them. The second lady says, nope you need to bring 4 black and white photos. And the third lady says you need only two. And when he got back today from the DMV, turns out that they require four, but they return two. What the heck? After Clint handed in his four photos, and received the other two back, he noticed a sign that read "no photos required, we can take them for free." The sign was held up...I kid you not, by red tape. BUT it turns out that this free photo is taken by the same machine that tests your you have NO idea when you photo is being taken...most peoples photos on their driver's licenses are really funny....cause its taken during their eye exam. :)

Then he asked a guy at one counter when it will be ready and if they will mail it. The guy said they mail a reminder to pick it up in 8 weeks. As an experiment Clint asked another guy at another counter the same question. His reply: Call in in 4 weeks. Clint has diarized to call and remind them to send his reminder in 4 weeks.

Since it typicaly takes 2-4 hours of standing in line to get anything done, for the right price, you can employ the service of ladies whose sole job it is to stand in line for you all day. Once she gets to the front of the line, she sells you her spot, and then stands at the end of the line for the next customer. Can you imagine it being your job to stand in line at the DMV all day? You couldn't pay me enough!

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