Monday, October 6, 2014

Nothing like civilian efficiency

My wife needed to renew her dependant ID card. The Pine Bluff Army Arsenal is the nearest military facility, about 20 miles from the house. I said, “Hey, I’ll go online and find out where we’re supposed to go.”

Search for “pine bluff army arsenal directory” returned many hits.

First site: No listing for ID card, but there was an Army Community Service number. I called at 0945. This is what I heard: “Hello. You have reached (Name) at Army Community Service. I am either not at my desk or I am on my cell phone. Please leave a short message and I will get back with you as soon as possible. Your call is very important to me.”

I left a short message, stating I needed to know where to go to get my wife’s dependant ID card renewed. The short message I wanted to leave was: “The Army Community Service line should not be answered by voice mail. How can you provide service if you are on your cell phone and not answering your official phone? And why are you using a personal phone on Army time anyway?”

OK, not so short.

I chose a second site and at 0949 found a number for “Pass and ID office.” Hey, that sounds good. I called, and I heard: “You have reached the pass and ID office. Our hours are seven-thirty until two-thirty, Monday through Thursday. We are closed on Friday. Please leave a short message and we will get back with you as soon as possible. If you need information on a military ID, please call (number).”

I left a short message, as in Paragraph 4. What I wanted to say was, “If your office hours are zero-seven-thirty until fourteen-thirty, why is there not a real, live human-type person answering the phone?”

I then called the referenced military ID number. A young soldier answered the phone. Yes, a real live human-type person! I explained what I needed, asking, “Where do we go to get that done?” The RLHTP said, “At this office.” I asked, “Where is your office located?” He replied, “At the Plainview gate.”

Why do bureaucrats in this Brave New World not realize the efficiency of person-to-person contact? Dumb question. If tax-payer-paid bureaucrats answered phones, they would not be able to pick and choose which areas of their jobs to (sort-of) perform.

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