Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Service THIS

Warning: excessive ranting and profanity straight ahead.

Helping my parents with certain government-related processes these past few years, I've had the mispleasure of having to deal with Service Canada on more than one occassion.  

What is Service Canada, you ask? According to its website:
Service Canada is a federal institution that is part of Employment and Social Development Canada. Service Canada provides Canadians with a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits. We are committed to improving services for Canadians by working with partners to provide access to the full range of government services and benefits that Canadians want and need through the Internet, by telephone, in person or by mail.
They would be more accurately described, in my opinion, as:
A federal institution that holds people hostage because they're the ones who issue Old Age Security, administer Canada Pension Plan, and other government benefits... so unless you do what they say, when they say it, and exactly how they tell you, you're totally and utterly fucked. 
"Single point of access"? Got that right. Try: "You have to come to us because we don't accept anything by mail or email" (contrary to what it says on its website). 

Where are we located? At several inconvenient locations. 

What time are we open? Monday to Friday, during the exact time you will be scheduled to work - and actually, for a shorter period of time than you're normally ever at work. Because, that's right, we're paid more to work less than you do.

You can try calling, but we won't let you talk to anyone... literally. The last few times I've tried zeroing out to an operator, the automated service essentially says, "Our call volume is too high so we're not taking any more calls and won't be transferring your call. Get fucked." (I'm paraphrasing of course, but this is pretty close.)

Come to think of it, that's pretty much their M.O. for everything. Needing to provide them with a certified copy of, let's just call it, "stuff to do with dad's death", I was required to pay them another in-person visit. Naturally, I make arrangements to do so and arrive at one of their offices 15 minutes prior to their extremely inconvenient closing time of 4-fucking-pm (did I mention they only open at 9-fucking-am? I'm sure I should not be surprised, but still... WTF, government?). I wait in line and eventually am seen by the slack-jawed government-lifer moron with a pension behind the counter only to be told, "We can't see you today." 

Excerpt of ensuing conversation...

Me: "Uh, wait a second. I'm here before closing, and you're telling me you can't help me?"

Moron: "We have lots of people waiting."

Me: "I see that. I'm willing to wait."

Moron: "Can you come back tomorrow?"  

Stupidly, I make an attempt and say, "No."

Moron: "Oh. Well... we can't help you today."

Replace "this town" with "Service Canada" and this was pretty much me today.

And I wish this was a different and uniquely poor experience, but each and every single FUCKING TIME I have paid Service Canada a visit, there is always something that goes similarly wrong. I've waited more than an hour to be seen. I've been told to return with different paperwork even though it's what they previously asked for. I've had to explain what I'd been told over the phone to the person at the fucking in-person location WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING IN ORDER TO HELP ME EVEN THOUGH IT'S THEIR JOB TO KNOW. 

I swear, could a government office get any more... like... GOVERNMENT?? 

But for the love of all that is holy, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER. These make-work offices need to stop wasting taxpayers' money and time. STOP HOLDING PENSIONERS AND WORKING CLASS CITIZENS HOSTAGE. Getting help from this highly inaccessible office upon which SO MANY PEOPLE DEPEND is one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever encountered. AND I WORK IN POLICY, for fuck's sake!

So as I try and calm down, I have to remind myself: doing this for mom and dad. I hate it, but I'm doing it. 

And yes, I could have chosen a healthy option to release this anger - you know, like running - but instead, I'm ranting online and eating a fucking nanaimo bar. Because I'm only human. And, as I'm too mad to make good choices right now and since, you know, I have access to my own blog, sugar and online f-bombs it is. 

End rant.

There's always next time, right Service Canada? Excuse me a moment...

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