# Stupid Beaurocracy

The Smoking Man
I thought a good laugh could be had by all by posting the stupid and inane from officialdom.

Here's one for a start:

Telegraph said:
Dear sir, sign here to prove you are dead
By Stewart Payne
(Filed: 15/07/2005)

When Sheila Lane was told by her late father's bank that it could not close his account without his signature, she took his ashes to the local branch, slammed them on the counter and told staff:

"If you think you can get a signature out of him then you are a better person than me."

It had taken Barclays bank a month to respond to a request to close down the account, containing £30,000, belonging to Norman Curtis, who died aged 82.

Mrs Lane, 61, found the bank's letter addressed to her father - which said he would have to call into his local branch and provide a signature or identification - when she collected post from his former home in Basingstoke, Hants.

She said: "I was at my wits' end. So I went down there and I showed them all the letters and asked if they understood.

"I did take dad with me. I put the casket - a nice red box with his name on - up on the counter. He weighs quite a lot so it made a thud. The lad behind the counter looked quite startled."

Barclays has apologised for the distress caused by the "clerical error" and sent Mrs Lane, a shop worker from Hook, Hants, a bouquet.

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Gold Member
Dearly Missed
The Smoking Man said:
I thought a good laugh could be had by all by posting the stupid and inane from officialdom.

Here's one for a start:

But does the tax man know he is dead?

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I had to get a replacement social security card a couple weeks ago. When I was at the office, there was a brother and sister couple at the window arguing with the clerk. Their mother had just died, and they were not able to pay for her funeral. The thing was, she had enough money in the form of social security checks, but her children could not use the checks because they were made out to their mother. They had gone to the bank to see if they could deposit the money in her account and then close the account, but they had the same problem described in that article. So they went to the social security office to see if they could get the checks reissued in one of their names rather than their mothers. The only way they would be allowed to do that would be for their mother to sign a form authorizing her checks to be made out to someone else! Imagine that - the poor children couldn't bury their mother, even though she had the money, because they had no way of accessing it without her signature.

A little less serious, but still pretty funny from a Dilbert-esque point of view:

We were working on a project that required an outside source to do some pretty complicated machining for us. The parts were completed early on a request by us and so we thought everyone would be happy. The morons in charge of the test changed their minds mid stream on some supply issues and decided to try to cancel the order to this supplier AFTER the work had been done. This meant our Accounts Payable folks would not pay the supplier because, as they were told by the morons, the parts were cancelled. Not too much time passed before we were getting calls and being asked what was taking the payment so long to arrive. After fights with the morons and acct's payable, they said a check would be issued. We got a fax two days later asking us if this was a joke. The accounts payable people actually isssued and mailed a check for $0.00 Homework Helper Gold Member The Smoking Man said: I thought a good laugh could be had by all by posting the stupid and inane from officialdom. Have you watched the Yes Minister series? That's the funniest, wittiest and truest piece of political satire to be published. There is a book which has also been published based on the TV series. If you have not read it yet, I'm sure you will enjoy reading it. Science Advisor Homework Helper FredGarvin said: A little less serious, but still pretty funny from a Dilbert-esque point of view: We were working on a project that required an outside source to do some pretty complicated machining for us. The parts were completed early on a request by us and so we thought everyone would be happy. The morons in charge of the test changed their minds mid stream on some supply issues and decided to try to cancel the order to this supplier AFTER the work had been done. This meant our Accounts Payable folks would not pay the supplier because, as they were told by the morons, the parts were cancelled. Not too much time passed before we were getting calls and being asked what was taking the payment so long to arrive. After fights with the morons and acct's payable, they said a check would be issued. We got a fax two days later asking us if this was a joke. The accounts payable people actually isssued and mailed a check for$0.00
A check for $0.00 is pretty good. We had a family dentist that used to hand write their bills. I had misread the 6 on the bill as a zero and wound up underpaying by$0.60. They sent out a new bill for $0.60 in an envelope with a$.25 stamp on it. I thought that was pretty funny, but decided to wait. The next month, they paid another $.25 to mail another$0.60 bill. I waited again. The next month, they paid another $.25 to mail another$0.60 bill.

By this time, I figured I'd screwed around long enough - I stopped by their office on my way home from work and gave them 2 quarters and a dime. They'd earned their $0.60 (in fact, to be honest, I should have just paid it the first time). Plus, I would have been pretty embarrassed if they finally got mad and destroyed my credit rating over$0.60.

Gold Member
I must be some sort of statistical anomoly but I've never had any problems or delays with any government or private agency... maybe i just need to get older.

hypatia
10 or more years ago blue cross [health ins} sent me a check for 800.oo dollars. I called to to say there must be a mistake, they said no mistake. So I sent the check back to them. They returned it to me.
I put it in a special saveings account, and its been there ever sense. I've never even had a blue cross account.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Today I went to get a new passport.

I was informed that I have to show them an ID card that I supposedly had, which expired in 2001(!) I didn't even know I even ever owned such a card, it was issued in 1996, almost 10 years ago.

After a lot of thinking I guess I did own it, but I was never informed to turn it in after it expired.. now I have no clue where it could be.

Sooooo... they cannot give me any ID papers until I turn in the card that expired so long ago (my passpord IS still valid, for another month). And if I don't find it I have to file a report with the POLICE, which is going to cost me €40

WHY!?

To top it off, I don't have to turn in my passport when it expires, they'll just punch a hole in it. So, if I tell them that in 2001 I had punched a hole in my ID card.. would that save me a lot of money and hassle?

Anyway, a good excuse to get rid of all my stuff at my parents' house and see if I find some treasures lurking :zzz:

The Smoking Man
That's a bit like handing over my credit card to some dolt in Boots who said they couldn't accept it until it was signed, so I signed it ... and then they checked my signature on my receipt with the one on the card.

Surprisingly, they matched!

Mentor
The Smoking Man said:
That's a bit like handing over my credit card to some dolt in Boots who said they couldn't accept it until it was signed, so I signed it ... and then they checked my signature on my receipt with the one on the card.

Surprisingly, they matched!
I've had the same happen to me.

Also, if my card is signed by me and stolen, the thieves now also have a copy of my signature which they can forge. I would think that NOT having a visible signature would be preferable, that way the thief would have no idea what my signature looked like and not be able to forge it. If having my signature on the card is something that is supposed to alert a sales clerk to fraud, they are dreaming, these clerks only notice if the card's not signed, not if the signature matches, my daughter uses my cards and signs my name all the time, they have never questioned why the signatures don't match.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Evo said:
I've had the same happen to me.

Also, if my card is signed by me and stolen, the thieves now also have a copy of my signature which they can forge. I would think that NOT having a visible signature would be preferable, that way the thief would have no idea what my signature looked like and not be able to forge it. If having my signature on the card is something that is supposed to alert a sales clerk to fraud, they are dreaming, these clerks only notice if the card's not signed, not if the signature matches, my daughter uses my cards and signs my name all the time, they have never questioned why the signatures don't match.
Half the time the clerks don't even bother looking, but if they do, one way to keep thieves from getting your signature on your card is to write in the signature space "See I.D." instead of signing. Then the clerk is supposed to check your ID instead (though, I can imagine there are probably some flaky ones who will decide that's not a signature and won't accept it).

Homework Helper
Moonbear said:
Half the time the clerks don't even bother looking, but if they do, one way to keep thieves from getting your signature on your card is to write in the signature space "See I.D." instead of signing. Then the clerk is supposed to check your ID instead (though, I can imagine there are probably some flaky ones who will decide that's not a signature and won't accept it).
Or else they think you're using a fake ID when the name on the ID doesn't match the name in the signature space.

I remember reading about military bureaucracy in a book of names, warning you of mistakes not to make. A family had named their child R.B. Jones - no name, just initials, and not even good initials, at that (I would have at least named my kid C.O. Jones). Having dealt with this every day of his life, he learned to anticipate problems. On his military paperwork, he entered R(only) B(only) Jones. He spent the rest of his military career officially named Ronly Bonly Jones. It was easier than getting the paperwork fixed.

Mentor
BobG said:
Or else they think you're using a fake ID when the name on the ID doesn't match the name in the signature space.

I remember reading about military bureaucracy in a book of names, warning you of mistakes not to make. A family had named their child R.B. Jones - no name, just initials, and not even good initials, at that (I would have at least named my kid C.O. Jones). Having dealt with this every day of his life, he learned to anticipate problems. On his military paperwork, he entered R(only) B(only) Jones. He spent the rest of his military career officially named Ronly Bonly Jones. It was easier than getting the paperwork fixed.
At my last job, HR typed my birthdate in wrong. After many failed attempts at getting it fixed, it was easier to just change my birthdate any time I needed to access the "secure" systems, such as payroll. They never thought it was unusual that they had a 10 year old employee.

Earlier today I bought a $1.75 espresso at a cafe, and I paid with a credit card (okay, that's a funny story in and of itself...) - and then they asked to see a photo ID to verify who I was. It was part of their post-9/11 store policy to help combat credit card fraud. Gold Member rachmaninoff said: Earlier today I bought a$1.75 espresso at a cafe, and I paid with a credit card (okay, that's a funny story in and of itself...) - and then they asked to see a photo ID to verify who I was. It was part of their post-9/11 store policy to help combat credit card fraud.

haha what's with these 9/11 security measures that have nothing to do with national security. "Oh buying 34 jeans? I"ll need to see some ID... national security issue"

Staff Emeritus
Earlier today I bought a $1.75 espresso at a cafe, and I paid with a credit card (okay, that's a funny story in and of itself...) - and then they asked to see a photo ID to verify who I was. It was part of their post-9/11 store policy to help combat credit card fraud. Actually, having had a credit card number stolen before, I'd be pretty suspicious of someone charging something that costs under$5. When I got the statement with all the fraudulent charges, that's how they started out, with very small amounts. It seemed they were testing if the card would work before heading off to expensive French hotels with it. I don't know what that has to do with 9/11 though. Of course, the person who had my credit card number didn't have my card (I still had my card, it wasn't stolen, just the number), they had counterfeited one, so of course their signature would match whatever they put on the card. I really don't see how signatures help much unless someone steals your actual card, which you're going to notice and report quickly anyway.
I had to apply for a government allowance while I'm studying. Initially they needed to see proof that I was born in the country. One way to do that is to bring in a passport, which I do. However, my passport had expired and they wouldn't accept it. I asked the woman there whether she thought my place of birth had changed since the time it had expired, but no luck. Among the mountains of identification/proof of income/residency etc.. I had my tax return, which they told me I didn't need. Two days later I receive a letter saying they can't process my account without seeing my tax return. So I take the tax return in and eventually start getting payments. All up to get payments there were 49 pages of forms to fill out. I also have a trust fund in my name with $10 in it (for tax reasons) which led to another 32 pages of forms. One month later my roommates and I get letters that pretty much said they thought we were trying to screw them out of money because we had each had to tell them what share of the rent we were each paying and how much the total rent was and through rounding errors we were out by about$1.50. So we had to go through the whole process again, this time they gave us extra forms for our landlord to fill out.