I don't know what to call it... Moving to a different country always involves a lot of paper work and requires a lot of patience. Bureaucracy is painful everywhere but when you add incompetence to the mixture things become a lot harder. Let me tell you about my two latest experiences. You are supposed to laugh. I am.
To be able to register here I need a certain document, related to health insurance, from the last country I worked, which is Czech Republic.
1. I emailed Secretary A from my ex-employer, the one in charge of personnel which is also the one who speaks better English. She replied saying she would forward my email to Secretary B, because herself didn't know about that document.
2. While I waited, I decided to also email my Consulate in Prague and ask more information. The consulate replies with complete information on how and where I could get that document. However, I would need my health registry number. That number was in a blue card that I had to hand in to Secretary A the day I left my job there.
3. I emailed Secretary A again saying I knew how to get the document, and asking if she still had that card or my number. She replied saying that was not her job and I had to wait for secretary B to reply. Although, she had found some number but she was not sure it was that one I needed.
4. I started thinking who was secretary B and how it was possible that she didn't even understand English. I went to the webpage of my employer and I found out that Secretary B is the one who shares the room with... Secretary A! I have been in that room. They sit ACROSS each other! Facing each other! Yes... a month after I'm still waiting for an email from Secretary B, who now I know does not speak a word of English. Why can't they just talk to each other? You know... over a cup of coffee, just right after they say good morning to each other.
Fortunately, the number I got was correct and I managed to solve the problem without further contact with the
genious Secretary A.
1. End of October: I called the electricity and gas companies in Prague to know how would it work to transfer the contracts to the next tenants of the flat. For both I would have to send the numbers on the counters and they would send the final bill. For the electricity I was told it would take 3 days, while for the gas it would take 2 weeks.
2. Middle of December: I talked with my bank manager in Prague and signed the papers to close the account, setting the closing date to January 31st. That would give a month and a half to pay the bills, enough, I thought. In that same day, Johan closes his account and transfers all his money to Sweden. No problems.
3. Last week of January: Still no bills. I tried to transfer the money I had in my account using internet banking. It didn't work. I tried smaller amounts. It didn't work. I called the bank's help line. They saw no problem but a report would be filed. 2h later the transfer with the lowest amount got accepted. Great but I still had to do another transfer for the rest of the money. Denied again. Maybe I'm not leaving enough money for the fees. I tried a smaller amount. Denied. I called the help line. Same story. Report filed and a few hours later the transfer went through. After that transfer there were still about 50 euros in the account. I tried a 3rd transfer. Denied. Out of patience I decided to not call again. This took the whole week, because international transfers only get through twice a day and I always had to wait to see the result.
4. Friday morning, January 29: I decided to withdraw the remaining money in my account. The ATM ate my card! Damn it! At home I tried to login to my account online. It didn't work. The bank account had been closed 24h before I expected. The closing date was on Sunday, so I expected it to be closed Friday evening. Great! I lost 50 euros!
5. Friday afternoon, January 29th: Gas bill arrives. I should receive money and not pay. They agree to transfer it to Sweden.
6. Wednesday, February 3rd: Electricity bill arrives. I should receive money. They do not agree to transfer it here. I have to ask a friend to get it for me and then send it here.
In summary... I left my account open which created a lot of problems. Not only the bills didn't arrive in the estimated time, but I also didn't have to pay anything. I could just have closed the account there transferring all of my money here quickly and without further problems.
Now let's all take a good laugh, because that's the best we can do about it!