JOBEN RIVERA-THOMPSON: At least they are consistent

  • Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sparing you the gritty details, my wife and I found ourselves doing the one thing many of those annoying New Year's Facebook messages tell you to avoid: running errands.

Contrary to the stereotype of Caribbean Latinos, we are not very superstitious and folkloric, so we don't give these things much attention. At least initially we didn't.

The errand we needed to take care of is one of those that most people abhor doing. It's one those of where in which you must step foot into a government office. Wait a minute. Before you put down this paper. Calm down. I promise not to bore you here. Just keep reading.

To be completely honest, I do not mind going into a government office and taking care of business. Typically, the experiences go well for me and I do not experience for myself the horror stories of others.

Until recently.

I believe most of us would agree that all we can ever ask for out of an agency or customer support is consistency. When we make a phone call to a business, we want to be told the same thing via telephone as we would be in an office. On top of that, we want the information given to be correct.

Some of us might, but I could honestly care less if the man or woman behind the counter has a smile, looks professional or speaks perfect English. All I want is satisfaction. Inform me, direct me. When it's all over, you still get my taxes.

Tell me what I need to know to get in and out of an office, plain and simple.

But here is the problem: there is such a gigantic lack or failure to communicate among government offices that it does not surprise me the failures we have on Capitol Hill.

My wife and I went to a specific office that took care of our needs there, all the while failing to mention to us that we would incur a hiccup in their sister facility. Why?

Because they are about 12 miles apart. For purposes unknown to me, it makes perfect sense to have related offices miles apart to some suit-wearing guy in the Capitol. I get it. It's kind of how when my right hand is occupied with groceries, I go two blocks down from my house to go get my left so I can open the door.

Can we make the process simpler by attaching the two? Government works best when all branches are a seamless extension of the original stem. It flows better. It's consistent.

Perhaps I am overlooking this. Maybe we are consistent; consistently poor, that is. From a local to national level, offices of government could sure use a revamping of communication techniques.

No wonder the media consistently has an upper hand on public information; they are experts at communication.

As much as I can hope for it, 2014 probably won't be any better.

Aiken Standard

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