Karen (estherchaya) wrote,

special place

I really hope that there is a special place in hell for Montgomery County employees. A special, dark, hot, angry, loud place. I'm not typically a violent or evil person, though I certainly have my witchy moments. But really? This week Montgomery County is not impressing me. Now, first there was the parking ticket thing. Admittedly, the judge was a state official. But the idiot parking meter person was a county employee.

And today? Oh yes... today was all about residential parking. Lemme esplain. No, there is too much. Lemme sum up:

2 years ago yesterday, Seth and I moved into our shiny new uh, dusty old, er, quaint little house in hell suburban Silver Spring. Our neighborhood requires that one have a residential permit to park on the street between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday, except holidays. We appreciate this requirement, because it keeps people from parking on our street to avoid paying for metro parking. Therefore, 2 years ago next week, Seth made the first of many inquiries into how to obtain said residential permits. Little did we know that two years later we would still have no resolution.

Those of you who have been to our house know that we have a driveway that comfortably accommodates both of our cars. Why, then, should we care about permits for street parking? Why, because sometimes we need someone else to be at our house during the day and we need to keep our cars on the street so that our visitor doesn't receive a ticket. And because, frankly, I don't like not being able to just park anywhere within a reasonable distance of my house when I need to.

Right. Well, the first time Seth applied in person for a permit, he was told it was too close to the expiration period of the permits that are given, so he was given a temporary visitor permit that was valid for, I think, 6 months. The next time, he went in person, he couldn't obtain permits because our registrations on our cars didn't yet reflect our new address. The final time he applied in person, he was told he didn't have enough proof of residency and vehicle ownership, but he was refused additonal visitor permits because we'd already had temporary permits too recently.

With limited time to be running back and forth to the permit sales office in downtown Silver Spring, we resorted to mailing in our application. The application was sent back SEVERAL times when things weren't exactly as the permit sales office wanted. Every time we changed what they asked, they sent it back asking for yet another change. Last week, Seth mailed back our application for what I hoped was the last time, complete with copies of both of our registrations and a variety of other things (I've lost track at this point) and a $90 check.

Today, we received a voicemail message from someone at the Permit Sales Office saying that since we mailed our application the cost of the permits has been prorated (since we're more than halfway through the period covered by the permit) to $22.50 each. Therefore, they could mail everything back, or mail the check back and hold onto the rest of our application, or whatever, but to please call them back.

Seething, nearly boiling over in fact, I called and asked if there was some reason they couldn't simply cash the check and refund the difference? Oh no, they can't do that. Well exactly what, I asked, do they recommend I do? Their recommendation was that I could come into the office and take care of it in person. Hello? If I were able to do that, I would have done it already. Hello? If we hadn't already tried THREE TIMES without success, we might be willing to go into work a little late one day. Hello? You freaking freaks! "Fine," I said, "Do you have a supervisor?"

I was put on hold (though to their credit, not for very long) while they threw darts at my application until a supervisor picked up the phone. I explained the situation. She sympathized but noted that the fee had gone down and that they had no way of handling this via a refund of the difference. Fine, so I asked if they could accept a credit card. "Yes, you can do that." "Uh, okay, so why didn't your sales associate suggest that when I was speaking with her?" "Well, you had the option of providing your credit card information on the application form."

Well C is just lucky that I didn't jump through the phone and throttle her at that moment, because I wanted to. Oh yes, I wanted to. "C," said I, "This has literally been a two year process. Two years. This is unacceptable, and needs to be resolved." Only, I'm pretty sure I wasn't that nice about it, but frankly, I can't quite remember what I said because I was that kind of angry. As it turns out, they can accept a credit card but not over the phone. So I told her I would fax my credit card information to her and told her that she needed to call to confirm receipt of the fax. Immediately after the fax went through, she did call to confirm, though it was obvious she hadn't read a word of my fax. No matter. She claims that the permits will be processed today and in the mail tomorrow, so I should have them on Friday. If I don't have them by Monday, I'm going to storm their offices. Not literally.


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