Bureaucracy gone mad

I know this story may sound small and petty compared to the apparently insurmountable problems facing our country and the world.

Like Eskom going downhill for 20 years and ever record-breaking unemployment.

Like the fact that humanity seems to have chosen to go extinct this century. Certainly it has chosen to end the world as we know it. (we have dithered too long now to be able to avoid climate catastrophe).

Toll Plaza

The small and petty story: I was driving back to Howick from Durban. I reached Marianhill to find a very busy toll plaza and chose a queue to join. (I might add that it was a hot and windy afternoon!)

Fairly soon I am about six places from the toll booth. Then the queue stalls and stalls and stays stalled. It iis apparent that a motorist is having difficulty paying (the same blue credit card is being passed backwards and forward between the driver and the toll booth attendant)

Road rage or RAK?

Road rage began to stir, in me, but I manage to resist the temptation to sit on my horn. Happily my better self steps up to the plate and my inner voice whispers ‘random act of kindness’. I get out of my car, walk to the payment booth, hand over my credit card and say “Here, take this.”

The attendant swipes my card. The woman in the car thanks me profusely and drives off.

But this this is not to be the end of the story. The queue starts moving again, I walk back to my car, and am soon at the payment booth. I experienced from the cashier that kind of ‘no can do’ attitude that minor functionaries around the world have perfected, especially in Africa.

No can do

I handed the stony-faced cashier my credit card. “You can’t use this card!”, she says.

“Why not,”? I ask (briefly worrying that I have handed her my Clicks Club Card by mistake).

“You can’t use the same card twice,” she replies. It is clear that she was deadly serious and is quite happy to create another queue jam, and have another long argument with a mo

Again, my anger starts to arise. I am tempted to say that I had no cash and no other credit card and join the argument. But again, my better self makes a surprise appearance. So I hand over a different credit card, the card is wiped and I drive off.

Milking, not thinking

That toll plaza has been there since BG (before Google) and has been milking motorists for decades. Surely the toll company could by now have worked out a better way of dealing with non-functioning credit cards and helpful strangers?

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