Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Immigration and happy endings.

For all those people like me who spend time daydreaming during the day on how things could be better on the road, in the office, in the stores - if only they asked you, this blog is for you... The funniest thing happened at immigration today.  But, you have to read this blog first to fully appreciate it...


When I arrived at the desk where you collect the work permit extensions (Desk 12 – the last desk at the very end) I was asked if I could be interrupted by seven suit wearing Zambians. I didn’t really have a choice, so I smiled in angst.  (I was on a tight time schedule...)   So, I sat there, surrounded by these Zambians as L. Banda, the Work Permit giver guy explained his job in detail to this other Zambian suit wearing men. Mr. Banda explained the whole process and I listened in interest.  He was asked at the end, “What part do you wish you could get rid of?”  Mr. Banda said, “The two recording books.”  And then, one guys out of the blue asked about the book. You know, “THE BOOK” where you have to find your name amidst a million other names in no order, amidst bad handwriting and random date assortment. You know, the book that you have to come in for, to wait in line to look at the book, to find out, nope, it isn’t there and you have to come back again later. That book!   One official asked, “What if there is 20 people and 1 guy is looking and the others have to wait?”  I was nodding my head profusely.  They noticed me and took interest.  And then someone said, “What if they just got a SMS or email when their work permit extension was ready. They wouldn’t need the book.”  More nodding of my head profusely.  And then another guy said, “Yes, if they are in other parts of Zambia, they come all this way and their permit is not ready.”  At that point, I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I raised my hand. Yes, I did.  I explained about my friend in Kalomo where I had to come in 3 times for him and his name was there but her name wasn’t, etc... I didn’t tell him the other three times I came in and had to wait for hours and my permit was lost and how I wished they would just have a computer to look up a name and directions on how this things is supposed to work.  Anyway, they seemed encouraged by their mutual great ideas (they were great ideas!) and how they could streamline the process and then the senior guy said, “Get his number” (meaning me) and said I could be a “Customer consultant.”  I couldn’t stop laughing in a delighted kid kind of way. They care and they want my opinion.  For all those times when I wanted to suggest a better way, I just might get my chance!!!  Anyway, thought you might appreciate how my day was made!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

That is so funny - everyone's dream who is on the end of bad customer service! Wonderful for you to see that some people are working to improve the system and also wonderful that you were able to graciously contribute after so much frustration :)