Posted by: jacksterja | 9 August, 2006

The Endless e-tag Epic

Another thing I did with my day off was to finally get around to organising a e-tag for my car. For my non-Sydney based readers, an e-tag is an electronic gadget that you hang in your windscreen that you use to pay tolls, rather than having to go through the slow booths and hand over coins. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, but it kind of became more imperative after my fist experiences with the new M7 freeway on the weekend. The M7 doesn’t have toll booths at all. If you don’t have an e-tag you have to ring up or go online within 48 hours and pay via credit card. As I don’t have the internet at home and also only have a mobile number, this can become a very expensive exercise, plus I use the toll roads just enough to make it worth my while having a tag.
So anyway, after paying my M7 tolls from the weekend, I asked the operator about e-tags. She told me to go into my local post office and they would fix me up with one.
Given that it was a Bank Holiday (did I mention that it was a Bank Holiday on Monday?) and therefore everything was still open whilst I had the day off, I decided to get it over and done with right away.
So off I trotted to the Annadale Post Office.
Well, you’d think I’d gone in there asking the woman behind the counter for directions to Batman’s secret bat-cave. I don’t know about you, but I generally expect people to know how to do their job. Clearly there were a lot of things left off this particular postal worker’s induction training. Including how to set up an e-Tag account (amongst other things).

After searching and finding a form in the rack, I dutifully filled it in, reading all the questions thoroughly and making sure I knew what I wanted. I then returned to the counter.

Well, the whole process seemed like it should have been fairly straightforward to me. The questions on the computer screens she was filling out seemed to align perfectly with the order of the fields I had completed on my application form.

So why, I ask you, do you think she felt the need to ask me every single question??? Wasn’t that kind of the point of completing the form?? Plus given that she was now receiving all information from my spoken responses, rather than reading them off my form, I now had to spell my name, the street name from my address, my suburb, and my mother’s best friend’s guinea pig’s maiden name. All the whilst having to listen to her tell me about 15 times during the conversation how she hadn’t done this before (you don’t say????). You have no idea how long this went on. Actually I’m not sure I really do either, as it felt as though I had been sucked into a time vortex for the agonising period of time I was stuck there.

Then, after me completing it on the form, and the employee-of-the-month asking me at the start or the form, she double checked which option I had chosen (there are 3 choices – 2 automatic debit ones, and a manual payment one – and I had opted for the manual payment plan) by making sure it was the automatic direct debit I had selected. AAAAARRRRFGGGGGGHHHHHH!!@!!!!!!!! Isn’t automatic the direct opposite of manual???????

Anyway, I eventually got it sorted. Although I have a strong suspicion I could have taken control of her PC and completed the whole process far more quickly and far less painfully.

Surely it’s not rocket science?? I’m not vain enough to think that my intellect is so far in exccess of that of the generaly populace that something might seem simple to me that is actually quite difficult for most people. I’m pretty sure any reasonable person should have been able to manage the task of typing the details from completed fields on a form into a computer.

What planet was this woman raised on?????

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

J.

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