nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

Bureaucratic tendencies

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I am frustrated. I thought I had learnt to brush off the rude side of New York, that I could cope with no one saying thank you and yet constantly asking me how I am, but it appears not.

First, there is 311, which according to nyc.gov is:

“New York City’s main source of government information and non-emergency services. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, or visitor, help is just a click, text, or call away.”

On Saturday I rang 311, inspired by R’s tale of getting back the scooter and lunch box he had left in the boot (err trunk) of the taxi when he was with E last week. He had rung them and they had traced the taxi driver using his credit card information, used to pay for the ride, and the taxi driver had come back to our building to return our things. I was very impressed.

But when I rang them I got quite a different experience. I had walked by a Range Rover with both of its front windows smashed in and glass all over the pavement and road. I was with J but thought I would ring 311 to tell them so that they could alert the police and owner. Battling my way with the voice recognition software of 311 which clearly wasn’t trained to understand a British accent, it finally gives in and sends me off to a real human. She then palms me off on 911 – the police – probably because she couldn’t understand me either.

And this is where it gets really painful. I explain to the lady on 911 that I have seen the car, it’s not my  car (yes, I tell her this three times) but I just want to do the right thing and report it. No, the person who did it is not there, as if they would hang around while I made the call.

She asks me for my details as the officer will want to speak to me. Why? Because there has to be someone for them to talk to. I wonder if this is loneliness on their part? Surely just knowing the address and looking at the car will give them all they clues they need to work out what happened?  They don’t need me. At this point I say to her that I have a roaming toddler, I’m on my way somewhere, I don’t want to hang around. So she refuses to take the street information from me. End of conversation. Well done, NYPD!

I walked by the next day and the car was covered in black plastic and tape, but the glass was still all over the place.

And today it didn’t get much better as the lady at the post office refused to take the lovingly sorted coins of our piggy bank (elephant shaped) telling me in no uncertain terms “I ain’t takin’ no quarters. I don’t want all your coins!” And sends me off with my tail firmly between my legs. Blimey. What fabulous service.

The bank was the same, you have to provide the coins in paper rolls. Really? My piggy bank doesn’t offer that service. So here I am stuck with tonnes of coins and nowhere to change them. Looks like I’ll be taking them all to CVS and their self service tills, that’ll irritate the locals!

 

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