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Monday, August 24, 2015

A grumpy day

The mail at work this morning included a refund of the last payroll withholding payment I made to the old collection agency (the village changed to a new collection agency on July 1st). It seems, on inquiry, that although our liability to the old agency went through June 30th, they could not “touch that check” because it was dated July 2nd. Though unable to “touch” it they did cash it, and refund the money six weeks later.

With the employee’s June tax withholding back in my hands and consequently late, I called the new collection agency, which I pay electronically. Make the payment for the proper period they said, send them a dozen pieces of paper to prove I made the original payment on time and ask for abatement of penalty and interest.  I did all that and made all the bookkeeping entries on the computer. It was time to go home; I turned off the computer, gathered up and was about to leave.

The phone rang. Now, an overly friendly employee of the state retirement agency was on the line. OPERS—Ohio Public Employee Retirement System. There has been on my desk for a month or so a letter from OPERS telling me my township is one of only two public employers in my county who do not file and pay electronically. Please call them to get instructions on how to do it.

I consider filing electronically to be the same as turning right on red. The law says I may, not that I must. Sadly, the electronic world has closed against me. Now I must. I must pay federal, state and local withholdings electronically. I must file my quarterly reports electronically. If not, there are penalties and interest charged against public money.

Sadly, nothing is uniform. Every payment is a different format, all defying description for stupidity. Gone the time of writing a check, completing a form and putting all in the mail for some highly trained person to input to their computer. Now I am some offshore clerk, doing the work for them.

OPERS remains voluntary, and represents my last stand. Except, I did not leave the building soon enough today, and found myself listening to a young man who did not listen to me. He spoke so fast and with such a teenage mush mouth that I repeated his talking points back to him to be sure I understood him. I told him over and over to slow down, speak up and for God’s sake, enunciate. To no avail.

When I asked what other public employer in my county did not file electronically, he would not tell. He told me there would be no more stamps and going to the post office. I replied I liked stamps and the post office. He bulled straight through to inform me filing electronically would be the easiest thing I ever did. Whereupon, dear reader, I lashed back. He has no knowledge of what I consider the easiest thing I ever did.

“Stop right there!”

I told him probably four times to shut up and listen to me. I told him I would call on Wednesday, when I must make the OPERS deposit, and learn how to set up the account and the electronic payment.

I did not tell him I would be transacting this piece of business with his supervisor, who would be informed of the young man’s inability to speak clearly.

On the way home from work I stopped at the bird seed store. Here is Rex, the lovely Westland White Highland terrier I’ve mentioned. From appearances, he was not having a good day, either.


  1. I hope his supervisor is past teenage mush mouth too.
    And feel for your aggravating day.

  2. Sadly I have had to deal with those same types of young people on the phone. I wonder if it has something to do with the only communication they understand is texting. I am always telling my grandson to slow down, speak up , and enunciate!!! Grrr. Hope your day is getting better

  3. On behalf of everyone who prefers mail with a stamp. ARRRGH!!

  4. Hari OM
    It's horrid, but eventually everything which was optional becomes one of two things; redundant - or compulsory. Sigh. Accepting this would be made so much easier if we didn't have to deal with ****wits who assume they know what's good, better, best... I'd have been hugging Rexie the Westie in empathy! YAM xx

  5. I fear mush mouth is spreading faster than the zombie apocalypse. Just nodding and smiling vacantly in return doesn't work when you need to actually understand what they're saying.
    You have definitely had a visit to annoyingland.

    1. I think it started in the movies.

  6. Some days are just not good at all. Hang in there and enjoy the week!

  7. It is so irritating to try to deal with someone who is not informed on the subject or does not understand the information. I wish you luck.

  8. Joanne, Butte may be the place for you, once retirement happens. Here, checks are still the most common the grocery store, a 9.45$ purchase is laboriously written out by check at the counter, then fumbling occurs for drivers licence....etc. In all of Butte, one cannot pay for dinner or anything with a swipe of your phone.

  9. Oh, reminds me of the time I had to have a smartphone for work and was a complete idiot with it. I blogged about it, grateful that at least one whippersnapper was able to talk to old people in a way that made sense.

    A few people at my workplace speak quite rapidly and when they're providing training, I've learned to ask a lot of questions. A few have gotten annoyed, but it does slow them down, and others chime in to ask questions or can they repeat what they just said.

    I like stamps, too.

  10. I wouldn't be pleased to have to change the way I did things, especially if I had a good workable way of doing it. Very frustrating indeed!


  11. Having to deal with young people who were eons ahead of me in the tech world was one of my reasons I chose to retire.

  12. The peg on nose with irritating high voice doesn't cut it either,and don't get me started on glottal mumbling...or reading from a script so that ,even when you can get a word in edgeways,they have no idea how to respond when questioned.
    I'm going to lie down on a rug now.
    Jane x

  13. Oh, dear. I can't understand a great deal of what people say, but it isn't just the young ones. Slurring words is such a problem. The women with Minnie Mouse voices nearly drive me insane. I like stamps. I like post offices. I like filling out forms and mailing them. I like writing letters. You are not alone. I like Westies, too, and I like you.


  14. Joanne - it is called officialdom and it is just as frustrating over here. Indistinct speaking, yards of red tape, nobody really listening to what you say. I am having a tussle over my telephone at the moment and yesterday I wrote them a long letter suggesting that if I was as tardy paying my direct debits as they have been making the alterations to my telephone they would probably have cut me off by now. Did megood to get it off my chest - but don't expect it to make a lot of difference.

  15. My head aches on your behalf, my friend. UGH and CRAP, all at once.

    This line--"I told him over and over to slow down, speak up and for God’s sake, enunciate"--made me hoot out loud. You remind me of my beloved friend Virginia. And that's the biggest compliment I have.

  16. Some days are better off not spoken of...may the sun shine on you tomorrow.

  17. Ah, the frustration of dealing with such people. What the hell...

  18. Dear Joanne, I love your post - and you are rightly grumpy with that system!
    "Now I am some offshore clerk, doing the work for them." - that comes from my heart: we do the work of the saleswoman in a shop (in a very fine Berlin store they give you big bags where you can put the things you choose into - no assistant in sight. A lot of people have no work - and all the stores can do is cutting back work. We do it ourselves... and pay for our wonderful self-counselling :-)

  19. Do you think we are being rail roaded into doing things that are cheaper and easier for government depts etc, I have been enquiring about a new hot water system and was told by one supplier they only deal in credit cards as I don't have one I can't buy from them, well their loss

  20. I had one of those fast-talking non-listeners at my door recently. He kept pointing to the badge on his shirt and spouting words faster than a fountain, I kept saying I couldn't understand him and would he please slow down. I ended up shutting the door on him.
    I hope the electronic system gets sorted easily enough, how silly to have different systems of payment for each account.
    I hope when you speak to the supervisor, he is sympathetic and speaks to the 'mush-mouthed' person about listening.
    Enunciating is something I need to learn to do also. I don't speak clearly because I don't hear clearly, unfortunately two of my kids speak more like me than I'd like.

  21. I am so stuck in "check mentality." I LOVE the physicality of writing a check. Bing pays all our bills online with the touch of a button and it makes me insane. I well remember the times before she took over our bill paying. Once a month, I would sit down with my piles of bills and pay them all at once. It was so satisfying! And it felt so good when it was over and the letters sat in a neat pile with their stamps licked on. Bing and Liv think this is crazy. But, I can't seem to make them see.....

  22. We have the same compulsory online issue with our Canadian government, Joanne. Everything that started out as "you may file online" is now "you will, or else". . . and I, too, have dealt with the mush mouthed rapid fire talkers, asking them to slow down, speak up, and enunciate! and might I add, with about the same success :(

    That Westie is pretty cute. Hope tomorrow goes better.

  23. Aw, so sorry. Yet, tomorrow is another day. Right? RIGHT?

    Hopefully you will get a handle on the electronic and will see after all the BS that it is more efficient. I like stamps and the post office also, but sometimes a click on the computer makes a project done and I'm free to be --- home. Cheers to a better day.

  24. I know how you feel. I cry out for you. I cry for myself about these things, I know the frustration and the annoyance. It gets me beyond coping sometimes. I dont mind computers but like doing the VAT return for 30 years on a piece of paper and posting it to the VAT office and then one day being told I had to do it online, with an electronic payment and no more cheques, I thought my world had ended. It hadn't!

  25. I have to ask people to repeat themselves repeatedly especially on the phone. I thought perhaps it was all those years of rock concerts but now I think it's just the sad state of public education.

  26. Whose bright idea was it that electronic filing would make everything easier?? My husband has a ton of government stuff to do and it's become more complicated, more time consuming, and way less efficient and accurate. So annoying. Rex feels your pain.

  27. Whose bright idea was it that electronic filing would make everything easier?? My husband has a ton of government stuff to do and it's become more complicated, more time consuming, and way less efficient and accurate. So annoying. Rex feels your pain.