Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Broken telephone

I feel how this lady looks. I have spent the better part of two weeks on the phone doing research for a project at work. A project which involves spending an exasperating amount of time trying to extract information about museums in the Western Cape from people who are either a) stupid b) unwilling to help c) not English first language speakers or d) all of the above. I would have thought that having the backing of the Department of Cultural Affairs might lend my credibility some clout, but on the private sector this seems to have the opposite effect.
In the provincial-aided sector, the excuses for not being able to provide information range from "our server is down", to "we have no electricity" to "we don't keep hard copies of financial statements" to "the curator is only coming in on Friday" to "our computer crashed" to "our internet connection has suffered weather damage". There is little more discouraging than spending an entire day on the phone harassing people and having nothing to show for it by the time you leave. It's like my colleague said, it's a particular type of person who can work in government, who has the tolerance for this level of inefficiency and inadequacy. People like you and I would go out of our minds.

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