Joseph Heller captured it brilliantly in his novel Catch 22.
I've been experiencing something similar here in UK. Good old UK. Well, old anyway. It already makes me glad to be a New Zealander and to be returning to NZ in January.
New Zealand is an early adopter of technology and we, as a small and new nation aren't locked into out of date conventions and inflexible standards. There is a lot of common sense in the way that businesses and institutions go about the daily grind.
Here, in the UK, businesses and institutions labour under ridiculous and proscriptive legislation and rules and, when they limit their ability to conduct their business they merely shrug and say "it's the rules".
Well fuck that I say ( and have said it to real estate agents, bank employees, service providers, policemen and little old ladies - not really to the policemen).
So, what's brought this on?.
I've been here a week and The Old Girl nearly a month.
She's working here and earning good British pounds.
As part of living here for the next 6 months we've needed a few basic things like: bank account; accommodation; telephone; Internet; gas and electricity - you know, basics of modern living.
Let me tell you how it goes here.
You want to rent a place to live.
The letting agency says "great" show us the money. When you pull out a wad of bills they say "oh no. Money laundering. No can do. Show us your bank account".
After a lot of cajoling and guarantees from The Old Girl's employers plus cheques and credit card transactions the letting agency 'let' us lease a flat. We sign an agreement for 6 months. It's a contract. IT'S A FUCKING BINDING CONTRACT.
We go to a bank. In fact we approach at least 6 banks to open an account. All of these
Now to get an electricity bill posted to you presupposes that you have an account, at an address and you've been using the service for weeks or a month. OK? But ....
Problem is ......... To open an electricity (or gas) account you need ..........? Are you keeping up? Yes, you need ........ A FUCKING BANK ACCOUNT!
Next, broadband accounts.
You cannot open a broadband account with the major providers without - a bank account, a proof of address like a bloody electricity account and, get this, proof that you've lived at the address for 3 years. FUCK!
On top of this the telco companies (greedy bastards) require a minimum contract of 12 months.
To do business with electricity companies, banks, and everything else means you need an Internet account.
So, totally frustrated I went outside of the telcos and to a Noel Leeming type store and bought an off the shelf wifi modem. It works so I'm now in business Internet wise.
We still don't have a bank account or an electricity account so might end up living on the streets but at least I can blog and relieve Richard of Robert's poetic ramblings.