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We Don’t Issue Receipts…And With That She Was Gone

Monday Moaning logoWhenever I have any dealings with the customer service arm of any government or semi-government body I can’t help but think that I am interrupting something else more interesting or more important.

It is almost as if staff have special training in being casual, off-hand and not-altogether-helpful without actually being downright rude.

Recently I had to file some document or other with Companies House – the UK’s Registrar of Companies which comes under the umbrella of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Being someone who generally leaves things to the last-minute I had missed the deadline to post the form without incurring a £150 (US$240) fine but I could deliver it by hand.

A helpful woman on the Companies House helpline told me which office to go to, what time to get there by and suggested I get a receipt to confirm that I had got the form in on time.

At the office I handed in the form and then this happened:

“Could I have a receipt for that please?”

“We don’t issue receipts.”

“But when I phoned your helpline I was advised to ask for one.”

“We stopped issuing receipts years ago.”

“So why was it suggested I get one?”

“I don’t know. We don’t issue receipts.”

And with that, Little Miss No Receipt simply turned around and walked away from me without uttering another word.

Utterly charming.

10 Responses to We Don’t Issue Receipts…And With That She Was Gone

  1. Robert Maturo UNITED STATES March 12, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    That’s when you demand to talk to the person in charge, without being belligerent. They could have done something about a receipt! It just looks like she didn’t want to bother. This is funny because I guess governments are the same everywhere. It’s the same here in the states. Government employees have lots of benefits, including every single holiday off. They get above average wages, in my opinion “overpaid” and they do as little as possible.

    I know this because I had a temporary position years ago as a state employee. After about 2 months being there, I discovered that they maybe do about 2 hours work in an 8 hour day. And all they do is complain. We wonder why the government is in a deficit. LOL!
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    • Patrick Griffin
      Twitter:
      UNITED KINGDOM
      March 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      Hi Robert,
      The funny (if funny is the right word) that on my way out of the office I saw at least two notices saying that they don’t issue receipts so I think it was a genuine policy to be unhelpful.

      I think you are also right that government employees the world over really don’t realize how lucky they are. Or maybe they do.

      The events you describe are a carbon copy of what is happening here in the UK and I would bet that if readers from other countries leave a comment here they would report something similar too.

      Patrick.
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  2. Dee UNITED KINGDOM March 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Hi Patrick
    Next time, do what I do, take a photocopy and get them to sign and date it, svaes a lot of hassle.
    My pet hate is shop assistants who talk to each other when serving you, ignoring you completely.
    Dee
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  3. Larry Dame 3
    Twitter:
    UNITED STATES
    March 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Next time take your iphone out and tell her to smile and take a picture and use that as a receipt and prove you were there
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    • Patrick Griffin
      Twitter:
      UNITED KINGDOM
      March 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      That is a great point Larry. I didn’t think of that!
      P.
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    • William A. Miller II UNITED STATES March 12, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      That is a really great idea Larry, I just hope I can remember to do it the next time I am in a similar situation. Just remember if you ever have to deal with the police, in some jurisdictions, you are just as likely to get arrested or shot for trying to photograph them.

      Officer to judge, I saw the individual draw what appeared to be a weapon so fearing for the safety of my partner and myself I used deadly force to eliminate the threat.

      • Patrick Griffin
        Twitter:
        UNITED KINGDOM
        March 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

        Hi William,

        We don’t routinely have armed police in the UK but the police have armed response teams which are called out to incidents involving guns.

        And if an armed police officer is pointing a weapon at you and you pull out anything and point it at him (or her) then there is a good chance you will get shot.

        I can remember a case where in London armed police shot a suspect dead when they thought he was pointing a sawn-off shotgun at them…the man turned out to be armed with a chair leg.

        P.
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  4. Ellyn Weber-Bynum
    Twitter:
    UNITED STATES
    March 13, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    Well, after reading the comments, I feel the need to defend myself…

    I was a state employee for 6 years, and a contractor employee for the federal government for 17 years. I took great pride in my job and tried to do the best I can each day, providing excellent customer service to our “customers”, whether they were other employees or the general public. Yes, I realized as a government employee, I had a job with benefits, I got all the holidays off and received above-average pay. But is EVERY government employee a complainer who can’t provide decent customer service? In a word…NO.

    You have BAD employees in EVERY industry, government or otherwise. I have a problem with some of the clerks at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, but I don’t think ALL of them got up on the wrong side of the bed and have bad attitudes. And I will say this: for every bad government employee, there is a member of the general public who goes ballistic when you try to explain to them the CORRECT way to do things, and takes it out on us, the messenger.

    Patrick, I’m sorry you had to be the victim that day of bad customer service; unfortunately, it happens from time to time…but Robert, don’t group us all together. I’m sorry…that hit a nerve.

    • Patrick Griffin
      Twitter:
      UNITED KINGDOM
      March 13, 2012 at 3:07 am #

      Hi Ellyn,

      Thank you for giving a view from the other side, so to speak.

      I have seen how many members of the public speak to people at the front line of government departments and, I agree, it can be utterly unpleasant.

      I applaud you for the attitude you describe in your comment above.

      P.
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