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<p>I'd rather ask here than ask my dh because I have a feeling he wouldn't side with me. <span><img alt="lol.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif"></span><br><br>
Where we live there is differentiated trash collection, with five different pickups, and the town provides bags for three of them. To get the bags, you have to go to an office in the town hall and present a card. The card is divided into three sections vertically, one for each year, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Within each section, there's a row of four boxes beneath where the year is printed, and each time you pick up your bags, they cross one of the boxes.<br><br>
This morning I went to pick up my last set of bags. The guy in the office told me that I'd lost my chance to pick up more bags this year because I made my third pick up in October. So I pointed out that there are four boxes under each year, which implies that you should be able to pick up the bags four times a year, I told him that no one had warned me that if I didn't make the third pick up by a certain date I would lose my chance, and that I really needed wet waste bags.<br><br>
He told me there was nothing he could do. I asked him if there were someone else I could talk to. The answer was no. (Bear in mind I live in a country that is pretty much notorious for bad customer service.) So I told him that in that case, I wasn't going to leave without the bags, and that I would stay all day until I had to pick up my daughter from preschool. He seemed alarmed by that, I think because he wouldn't be able to smoke in his office if I were there. <span><img alt="eyesroll.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/eyesroll.gif"></span> (There are no smoking laws here but they're widely ignored. )<br><br>
I told him again that I really needed the wet waste bags because there weren't enough for a year. So he said, well, a pack is only supposed to last three months. But there are twelve months in a year, I told him, which means you should be able to pick them up four times, and I've only had three packs, and now I need more. He told me I could pick them up in January because the ones I picked up in October should last until then. (And theoretically, they should have, except that someone gave us huge quantities of persimmons and pomegranates that we had no way of getting through before they went bad, so I had to toss a bunch of them, and the wet waste bags are tiny.)<br><br>
So I said, fine, if you want to do it that way, that the pickup has to happen every three months regardless of what year it is, you can't hand out a card that has a year printed with four boxes underneath it and expect people not to think that they can pick up the bags four times a year!  There were a few bags sitting in the office (and now I'm wondering who they were for, because by now everyone who didn't make a fourth pick up has lost their chance.) He realized I was really not going to leave so he took a pack of wet waste bags and wrapped them in a bundle with the plastic/aluminum ones. I told him I only needed the wet waste ones. Seriously, they hand out so many of the other bags it's ridiculous- I just finished the ones I got from the first pick up! So he gave me the wet waste bags and I said thank you, good bye, and left.<br><br>
Now I feel like maybe I was wrong (because the bags are supposed to last three months, and I didn't wait three months) and also a little aggressive. I wonder if everyone who was at the town hall this morning is going to be talking about the crazy wet waste bag lady all day. If I was justified in what I did, demanding the bags, that doesn't bother me at all...but if I wasn't, well, I guess I should be pretty embarrassed.<br><br>
Wow, if you've read this novel about wet waste bags, you are awesome!  So, do you think I was wrong?</p>
 

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<p>My first though is maybe they got too many aluminum bags at the beginning of the year and not enough wet waste ones so he was under orders to try and avoid giving out wet waste bags at all cost but give out as many aluminum bags as possible.</p>
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<p>Unless the card specifies when you have to pick up your bags and how often you are allowed to pick them up, you were in the right.</p>
 

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I also live in Europe, in a country with notoriously bad customer service. In fact, I thought you might have been talking about "my" country when I was reading your post (including the ignoring the no smoking laws! <img alt="lol.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif"> )<br><br>
I would *absolutely* have done what you did! In fact, I've done similar things. I'm always polite, smile, but very very persistent. I'm such a pain to them that they usually give me what I want, although sometimes I just have to give up. After 11 years here, I'm beginning to learn the limits!<br><br>
At any rate, from how you're describing it, it sounds silly. If they are only going to distribute bags in January, April, July, and October (or whenever), then they need to have a little place on the card that has those months written down. Even if it's one of those "but everyone knows that" kind of cultural things (I run into that all the time), they need to realize that we're living in an increasingly multi-cultural and international society/world and they have to clarify.<br><br>
Good for you for sticking your ground! And, FWIW, my European DH has started to see the light (!) and realize how absolutely crappy and needlessly bureaucratic a lot of things here are.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
<p>Thanks for the support! I was feeling quite proud right after I left the office but then I began to second guess myself.</p>
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<p>Quote:</p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MusicianDad</strong> <a href="was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16115178"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>My first though is maybe they got too many aluminum bags at the beginning of the year and not enough wet waste ones so he was under orders to try and avoid giving out wet waste bags at all cost but give out as many aluminum bags as possible.</p>
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<p>I think you're right about the quantities. They just instituted this program at the end of last year and probably had little idea of how many of each type of bag would be used. But he didn't want to give me any bags at all, not even the ones for plastic and aluminum. There were no bags for paper at all, and he didn't even bother to mention that.</p>
<br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>DariusMom</strong> <a href="was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16115179"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
I also live in Europe, in a country with notoriously bad customer service. In fact, I thought you might have been talking about "my" country when I was reading your post (including the ignoring the no smoking laws! <img alt="lol.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com//images/smilies/lol.gif"> )<br><br>
I would *absolutely* have done what you did! In fact, I've done similar things. I'm always polite, smile, but very very persistent. I'm such a pain to them that they usually give me what I want, although sometimes I just have to give up. After 11 years here, I'm beginning to learn the limits!<br><br>
At any rate, from how you're describing it, it sounds silly. If they are only going to distribute bags in January, April, July, and October (or whenever), then they need to have a little place on the card that has those months written down. Even if it's one of those "but everyone knows that" kind of cultural things (I run into that all the time), they need to realize that we're living in an increasingly multi-cultural and international society/world and they have to clarify.<br><br>
Good for you for sticking your ground! And, FWIW, my European DH has started to see the light (!) and realize how absolutely crappy and needlessly bureaucratic a lot of things here are.</div>
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Ha! I'm glad to hear that things are just as dysfunctional elsewhere in Europe. Down here we often fantasize about how everything must work in other countries! I've only been here going on five years, so I'm still learning that I have to more aggressive to get things done. I underestimated my dh too, I told him about it and he was glad that I persisted. He's actually not as passive as most people here when it comes to things like this, but he doesn't like aggressive behavior, that's why I thought he might not have liked what I did. But, yes, most people just put up with bureaucratic nonsense and shrug their shoulders, saying it's just how it is. It's been hard for me to understand that mentality.</p>
 

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<p>I think what you did was fine. If there was such a rule, then he should have produced it in writing or told you the ordinance number or whatever. While I would still be inclined to beg at that point, then I would at least be able to accept defeat. Since he could not produce such a written rule, then I would have stood there like you did until I got my darn bags! But I can be annoying like that.<span><img alt="wink1.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span> I understand that they do not want somebody picking upa year's worth during four visits during the first part of January, but then you have to have written rules to let people know how often they can come and soon they can come back for their next batch.</p>
 

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<p>Are you certain it wasn't written down anywhere?  Maybe in an introduction letter to the program or something?  If it wasn't written down anywhere, then you were in the right.  If it was written down in some letter that you might have thrown out (in the dry waste bag?  Here we have one bag for everything. LOL!), then he was in the right.  Either way, I bet they make it more clear for next year.</p>
 

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<p>I don't thing you did anything wrong. </p>
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<p>We lived in Germany for a couple years and we were shocked by all the bureaucracy which was simply accepted as normal.  We learned pretty quickly that we had to be assertive and persistent if we wanted anything to get done.   Besides, your understanding of the card/bag system is entirely logical.  There is now way you would have known the restrictions by looking at that card.</p>
 

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<p>Japan? Or is there another country with intensely complicated trash systems?</p>
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<p>Ah, I see from the rest of the thread that there's a whole continent!</p>
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<p>Gotta say I don't see why they don't have a public composting option if it traumatizes them that much to have stuff mixed together.</p>
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<p>Actually, the whole "paper in a bag" concept for a highly sorted trash system confuses me, do they pay to have someone empty the bags out?</p>
 

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<p>i think you were in the right. i am sick and tired of poor customer service and i think i'm going to start snapping soon. ;)</p>
 

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<p>I definitely got more accomplished with the French bureaucracy when I declared that whatever the civil servants were telling me was <em>insupportable</em> and I wasn't going anywhere until it was fixed. I think you were appropriate...</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #12
<p>Quote:</p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>AllyRae</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285406/was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16115281"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Are you certain it wasn't written down anywhere?  Maybe in an introduction letter to the program or something?  If it wasn't written down anywhere, then you were in the right.  If it was written down in some letter that you might have thrown out (in the dry waste bag?  Here we have one bag for everything. LOL!), then he was in the right.  Either way, I bet they make it more clear for next year.</p>
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There may be a rule written somewhere, but if so it was never clearly communicated to the public. When they started the program, they just went door to door with the wet waste bin and the three sets of bags. (The wet waste bags have to go in the bins because otherwise they'd get ripped apart by all the stray dogs and cats.) They included a placard identifying the different types of trash and recyclables, which bag to use, and which day to put them out. If there was no one at home, they didn't even leave a notice! There were people who had no idea what to do the day all the dumpsters disappeared from the streets, lol. I hope they do make it clearer for next year, because this kind of situation happens all the time- the municipal authorities never communicate anything and then are surprised when people don't know what's supposed to happen.<br><br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sapphire_chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285406/was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16115432"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Japan? Or is there another country with intensely complicated trash systems?</p>
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<p>Ah, I see from the rest of the thread that there's a whole continent!</p>
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<p>Gotta say I don't see why they don't have a public composting option if it traumatizes them that much to have stuff mixed together.</p>
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<p>Actually, the whole "paper in a bag" concept for a highly sorted trash system confuses me, do they pay to have someone empty the bags out?</p>
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<p>It's Italy. The bag for paper really confuses me too, and I have to say that it's one of the strange things about the system here that makes me doubt that anything really gets recycled. The region I live in has huge, terribly complex garbage problems (google Naples garbage crisis if you're curious.) I often wonder if it all just gets sent to third-world countries that get paid to take it. <span><img alt="greensad.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/greensad.gif"></span></p>
<br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285406/was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16115577"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I definitely got more accomplished with the French bureaucracy when I declared that whatever the civil servants were telling me was <em>insupportable</em> and I wasn't going anywhere until it was fixed. I think you were appropriate...</p>
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I like that, I wonder if it would work with Italians too. I often use <em>assurdo</em>, but I think next time I'll try <em>insopportabile</em>.</p>
 

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<p>I'm still getting my head around the idea of someone getting paid (and eventually collecting pension, no doubt) to hand out trash bags all day.</p>
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<p>I don't think you did anything wrong. Kudos for standing up for yourself and getting what you needed.  </p>
 

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<p>I don't see anything wrong with how you handled the situation.</p>
 

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<p>sounds like you handled it well. if there was a rule about months to pick up bags he should have showed it to you. even then, it is the middle of december, and he couldn't just give you a couple bags? lol to me that would make the most since. some people by the end of the year have run out give them a couple bag to tide them over. </p>
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<p>h</p>
 

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So October is technically the latest you can pick up bags for a year. Working backwards that means you have to pick up your first bags for 2011 in 3 weeks. Please do so, and post back the results. <img alt="wink1.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif">
 

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<p>I know, I'm a little worried about what's going to happen if the same guy is there when I go to pick them up in January...I might send dh or one of his relatives instead.<span><img alt="orngbiggrin.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif"></span></p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Irishmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285406/was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16117026"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
So October is technically the latest you can pick up bags for a year. Working backwards that means you have to pick up your first bags for 2011 in 3 weeks. Please do so, and post back the results. <img alt="wink1.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com//images/smilies/wink1.gif"></div>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ollyoxenfree</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285406/was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16115803"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm still getting my head around the idea of someone getting paid (and eventually collecting pension, no doubt) to hand out trash bags all day.</p>
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<p>I don't think you did anything wrong. Kudos for standing up for yourself and getting what you needed.  </p>
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<br><br><p>this. They really expect you to take time off work and go wait in line for trash bags 4 times a year? heaven help us.</p>
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<p>op, I think you were in the right.</p>
 

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Why don't they just give you all the bags for the year at the beginning of the year? Then you only have to go there once, and you can use them as you need them.
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>PikkuMyy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285406/was-i-wrong-encounter-with-civil-servant-long#post_16119297"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Why don't they just give you all the bags for the year at the beginning of the year? Then you only have to go there once, and you can use them as you need them.</div>
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<p>But that would make sense.  Since when has bueracracy made sense? <br>
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