Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy.
I get it. Somebody is in charge of details every where I turn.
And that somebody doesn’t answer to me.

I finally talked with somebody at Mural Arts which painted that messy clip-art flag on a building near me without a neighborhood meeting to discuss what (if any) mural we in the neighborhood want.  The woman admitted that she goofed. But she doesn’t have the budget to fix it.  

There is no way I’m going to ask people to donate to this organization on the off chance they might use the money to fix their mistake.  I tried a compromise.  Suppose that scenes from the neighborhood get painted around the flag.  There’s not much room, but something could be done to help the mural say something..  The woman agreed to send an artist from the bureaucracy out to look at the wall and see if that’s possible.  She says she’ll get back with me in two weeks.  

Then silly me – I suggested that a client buy a refurb computer.  So many new-out-of-the-box computers have problems I thought the odds of a refurb arriving in working order would make the purchase worthwhile.  Lower price, repaired, and inspected.  Looks like win-win-win. Plus I suggested she pay $70 for the 3-year-warranty.

The wifi on the refurb computer doesn’t work.  And the retailer says the warranty doesn’t start until the computer is 3 months old.  We have to contact the manufacturer, who did the refurbishing.  So, I called the manufacturer.  They took the serial number and informed me that this is not a refurbished computer. It has been sitting on the shelf at the retailer’s since 2010. And it did have a 3 year warranty, but that has expired, while the computer sat on the shelf.  

If I disagreed with this, I should talk to the warranty division.  The warranty division said that if I could send a copy of the sales receipt showing a recent purchase they’d reconsider. I sent the receipt. They said I’d sent it too soon and I needed to wait an hour until they were ready for it and send it again.  I set up the email with the attachment and my client agreed to push the Send button.  I await their verdict.

Meanwhile, since I now knew that the store had misrepresented the computer, I called them.  They agreed to take it back and credit my client’s credit card with a refund.  All this will take weeks.  I’d rather swap for a working computer.  But meanwhile, I asked the store to send us a postage paid mailing label by email.   At least she’s not going to be stuck with this bad machine.

Since these things tend to come in threes, I didn’t have to wait long for another bureaucratic mess. We discovered tht the power inverter (the box that converts the DC current from our new solar panels into AC power that we can use) doesn’t work during a brownout.  So,  just when the power company most needs the power that my panels can generate, they sit idle.  I called the power company. They said we need to set up a meeting. But the person at the power company who talks on the phone can’t do that.  I have to go online and find a form with which to formally request a meeting.  And the solar panel company wants to be involved, so they want it to be a 3-party phone meeting.

The name of the game is hurry up and wait.  All I can do is request that other people do things that will cost them money to do.  If nothing happens in two weeks, my next step is to look for supervisors and higher up bureaucrats at higher up agencies, who can convince these bureaucrats to help.   

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