Monday, August 23, 2010

Patience Required

Early last week, our day guard asked me for a “Bulletin de Présence”. This is an official slip of paper on which I indicate how much gross income he earned over the past three months and it is used to calculate the amount of family benefit money he will be allotted by the government.

After only one reminder, I presented him with the requested slip of paper and gave him permission to take part of the afternoon off in order to take the paper to an office downtown (Kathy was at home that afternoon to take his place in discouraging would-be thieves). Once he handed in the paper, they told him to come back two days later, after they’d had time to process the paperwork, to get his money. So, two days later, I gave him another afternoon off to do that.

The next morning I asked him how he’d made out. “No good,” he replied. Turns out there was a line-up a mile long and he never got anywhere near the door by the time the office closed for the day. It was obvious that he was going to have to go earlier in the day. But letting him go in the morning was out of the question because neither Kathy nor I would be at home to keep an eye on things. And who knew whether or not a morning would be sufficient time to accomplish the purpose!

So I suggested that he just take the entire next day off as one of his allowed 30 annual days of holiday, and I find a replacement guard for the day. He agreed. That was Friday.

Today, I asked him again how he’d made out. He smiled and said that this time he’d succeeded. He’d gotten up at 3:30 a.m. on Friday morning and was at the downtown office by 4:30! He’d hoped that by getting up at that early hour, he’d be the first one in line when the office opened at 7 o’clock. Believe it or not, however, there were six people already in line ahead of him! I forgot to ask him how long it took before he actually got his money :/

I don’t think I’m ever going to complain about government services in Canada again.

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