CONTINUING FOREVER ON THE MASS PIKE

Does you ever feel like life is an exercise wheel for hamsters? And you are a hamster? You run and you run, but you stay in that wheel.

This morning, I got a note from our state government, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts about our EZ Pass. It showed two cars, including one we sold months ago. I tried to delete it using the “Delete car from list” option, but instead, it decided I was closing my account. There was no option for “do not close my account” and their chat line was broken, so I called. On the phone. Remarkably, I got an automated answer.

After yelling “AGENT, AGENT, AGENT” into the phone a few dozen times, a person came on the line.

He insisted he couldn’t do ANYTHING without my pin number — which I apparently created 15 years ago? More? What PIN number? I finally figured out it must be someone’s birthday and in desperation, figured out who that might be — because otherwise, I’d have to take three forms of ID and go to the nearest physical booth. And where would that be? No doubt somewhere on the Mass Pike and there I would sign a few hundred forms so they wouldn’t cancel the account I never tried to cancel.

Eventually, after I deduced the pin number and now (he says) we have an open account and the yellow Sunfire is gone. That’s what he told me.

But I’m dealing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Which has the bureaucracy from Hell. I’m not sure how it got this bad, but we put other bureaucracies to shame. Ours is THE best bureaucracy on earth, bar none. Talk about continuing.

I bet they cancel the account anyhow. A couple of weeks from now, I’m going to get another notice telling me that I requested my account be cancelled. That’s just the way it goes. Year by year, month by month, day by day.

Welcome to Massachusetts. Forever may it continue!

24 thoughts on “CONTINUING FOREVER ON THE MASS PIKE

    • It was worse in Israel because I never understood the language well enough to figure out what they were trying to tell me … and when i figured it out, it still didn’t make any sense. But in the U.S., Massachusetts really IS worse. I’m not sure why, but it’s like we’ve laid new bureaucracy on top of old stuff so there are just layers and layers and layers of it. You NEVER want to do something again. It’s always worse the second (or third or fourth) time!

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  1. You probably would have done better with the recording. You can let out all your frustration by screaming into the phone only to have them say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand that. Let’s try again.”

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    • It has become the standard way we communicate. When I DON’T bump into it, it’s always a bit of a shock. You mean — I can talk to you and we’ll settle this without a lot of shouting? Am I still on planet Earth?

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  2. You think YOURS is bad – Try the Australian Government for beuracracy!

    Our welfare agency had 43% of it’s calls from clients go unanswered – other than the ‘please hold while a service operator attends to your call’ baloney. A few brave souls hung on for hours – some an entire working day many gave up in disgust. I always am amused by the irony of someone desperately trying to find work having to wait hours on line to solve some welfare issue because there are not enough people working in the department to answer his/her call on time.

    In my case i had a potential overpayment issue i needed to solve. I had 3 options: Internet, Phone or visit the office. Problem with the internet – their system is crap involving jumping through impossible hoops to prove you are you and not someone impersonating you only to find if you get past their filtering attempts that you can only solve ‘generic’ problems there and have no facility to go into personal situations. Problem with phoning – see above. So i chose first to visit office after making sure i had all relevant documentation i needed with me.

    I went, was told at reception someone would see me shortly and take a seat ( it was a quiet day at the time i visited – for a change! it only took some 10 minutes or so and i was hopeful! It was looking good so far. I explained the reason for my visit and explained the situation regarding me working for one government department while being in receipt of unemployment benefit (the work was casual and intermittent over some 6 months, some weeks 40 hours work some weeks nil, the department paying me to work told us (most doing the job had some form of welfare) to wait until after the season and they would sort out the correct benefit/payment after the work finished) Six years later i was told i had not declared my income correctly.

    The kind officer told me that the office could not help me i had to ring up the special welfare Overpayment Office (they don’t have on in my state!) and deal with it over the phone! (see above). He did kindly take copies of my documents though and ‘put them on my file’ as the other office might need them to decide the outcome.

    The more advanced the society, the more ludicrous the bureaucracy – it’s a world wide phenomena.

    love.

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    • I think it’s socialism at work. Seriously, people didn’t come to Israel because the bureaucracy was too much like Russia. Of course, Israel was special. They had the old Turkish set up plus the pieces left by the British and then, the old Russians took over.

      Massachusetts has its own real medical system and and it’s quite the socialist little state. The result is that everyone gets into the state bureaucracy and from that point on, no one ever actually works again. No one is in charge of anything, either. You cannot talk to anyone in the motor vehicle department by phone. Never. There’s only a 50% chance of every getting your title mailed to you and if something gets lost, you have to go there and wait in line and if you don’t have all the paperwork — and no one ever had the paperwork — you have to come back and do it all over again. The social security office is actually the worst. Sometimes, you have to go because you need to get a new card or something and it can be a week of waiting.

      I have spent a full day waiting at social security or the states tax office … and then, they close and you have to come back again. If you’re lucky, you also stay too long in the parking lot and get a ticket.

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  3. You must come from a filthy rich state. Here in Illinois, they don’t have the money to actually afford the necessary number of workers to maintain a bureaucracy, so most government stuff is online now. If the service you need isn’t online somewhere, then it must not have been important after all. I got my brand new drivers license through the mail this year…. even if you visit the DMV, they still mail you the finished license to save money on the processing equipment. I don’t know if they have a turnpike pass up north where all the toll roads are (thankfully WAY far away from me), but I’ll bet if there is one, you would never be allowed to remove a car from the account. If dead people can vote in Chicago, then dead cars can also pay tolls. Gotta keep the great state of Illinois afloat somehow…

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    • Oh, we have a lot of stuff online, but not everything. If your paperwork is a little bit off, or you don’t have the right code, you are screwed. We were briefly a rich state in the 1980s. That blew up with the end of the dot coms. Since then, we pretend to be rich, but we really ARE poor.

      Massachusetts is tiny and we have little or no business. We have a huge number of hospitals and universities and tourists — they are our income. That and parking tickets. You’d be AMAZED at how much they generate by ticketing anyone who stands too long at a red light in Boston. Otherwise, though, it’s getting more and more difficult. Trump has made it worse. A lot of people were laid off and I think more will come. Most of our big high tech companies either went bankrupt or moved to Texas or Georgia or North Carolina. Our harbor does good business. The Red Sox and Patriots are big money-earners. But outside of Boston, there is little work for anyone. They closed down all the non online offices for the RMV years ago. They even stopped sending post cards to remind you when you needed to pay your next fees for whatever. They don’t call us Taxachussetts for nothing.

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