03 September, 2010

America: a rant

There are many things that America does well: good service in shops, friendliness, smiling. But if there is one thing that it is absolutely bloody rubbish at, it's bureaucracy. God knows we can all come up with gripes about government offices or companies that completely suck when it comes to paperwork, information, time-consuming nonsense but seriously, I had no idea how bad things could be.

Example. Why does it take Verizon two months to get the direct debit payment set up for our phone account. Two months! BT (who as everyone who has read this blog knows, I have had my issues with) can do it straightaway on the phone.

Example. When a company switches its payroll admin from one set-up to another, why do all the employees have to fill in all their tax forms saying what they are withholding all over again? Has no one heard of electronic data transfer here?

Example. When you are trying to decide which healthcare provider to go for, why are the names of the plans completely different from the names on the list that the insurer supplies? So you can't actually work out which one you have when you do sign up. And why is everything acronyms that no one understands and why are there no booklets in simple clear English explaining all of this?

Example. When you get signed up to your new healthcare provider which is clearly an important day, how come it takes them weeks to get you your card. How come you aren't provided with a welcome pack on day one? It's not like they didn't know about you before hand because you spent all those hours one evening weeks ago filling in their incomprehensible small print forms. And then how come to get a temporary card your husband has to go into the relevant healthcare facility with ID to get it printed off?

And what I really don't get, about this "can do" culture is why when I self-combust about this stuff to a native, all they do is sigh and say "yes, you're right but nothing ever changes". It's practically bloody British in its stoicism.

1 comment:

Soilman said...

I hear you. People who don't know America well wouldn't believe how insanely 'backward' it is in some respects when compared with European norms. Esp that special Hell of paper-pushing, time-gobbling, union-infected, small-minded, trivia-obsessed bureaucracy they've made their own. Makes even the French system look efficient at times.

Have you encountered the even more special Hell of the immigration/green card/homeland security system? Not had personal contact myself, but have heard chilling stories from friends in US suffering from it...