Yes, it's me again, and once more I shall resort to cheesy sayings in order to get across my points and ideas. In this case, the idea I will employ is that the more things change the more they stay the same. I think that's rooted in bureaucracy, and the fact that no matter how many different people you go to, you still tend to get the same answers. These answers also tend to be either "please hold" or "I don't don't know, why not ask Mr. Green in the mailroom?". Actually, odds are good that you could get both of those, as they delay for as long as possible before redirecting you. It can be rather hard to cut through some of the red tape when there are too many people involved.
For example, a case of the right hand not recognizing the existence of a left. If you have some sort of multiple choice questionnaire where the option "other" is given, it's usually helpful for people reading it later to know what this "other" is. Like a doctor who wants to know if a certain 'other' medication is being taken by an unconscious patient who needs surgery, or a student who wants to know the meaning behind the mysterious 'other' reason for not having their marks released. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) So the doctor goes to the Registrar's Office, and there he finds out that the person who originally filled out the form for the patient can't be immediately reached.
Now, the first thing to recognize is that it's no use getting upset at the people who are the first contact, because they don't have a clue what the answer is either. They're just trying to clean up the problems that the right hands have given them, of which there are a large number capable of filling out forms. Yelling at these people just tends to upset them and make them less inclined to help, so avoid that (unless it looks like they're really doing this on purpose). But when they do help by directing our good doctor to a potential place, due to provincial cutbacks to health care, the doctor can't send anyone else to figure out just what's going on with phantom 'other' hands. He has to continue following up himself. But of course unless people keep similar hours, the person he wants is on now lunchbreak or out sick for the day. And when you go back to the original first contact place, the person you talked to before is gone so you have to start anew. Problems are happening already, as the hapless patient will end up waiting another day before surgery. (I suppose on the bright side, the doctor is getting his exercise.)
So over the next few days, Doc tries to follow up to a few places, everyone being rather congenial about the whole thing, yet ultimately they cannot say for sure the reason for 'other' being checked off on Doc's multiple choice questionnaire. One gets to a point here where a likely answer will satisfy the good doctor just as well as an actual answer from the original person dealing with forms. (Hey, his patient might appreciate less delay and Doc probably has other things to do). So when and if he finds something, at this point we just hope that there won't be any complications in the future arising from an assumption being made.
Naturally this has all been hypothetical, but to apply it to real life we could look at voting enumeration. I think it's bothersome enough to have to register, but I've heard a couple of people commenting on the dial-a-vote line being busy quite a bit, the need to find conclusive proof of residency... most people have some better ways to spend their time. (Then again, I'm not thrilled with the whole election deal, and not just because I didn't manage to keep up with what was going on all the time, there were also those Liberal ads that just seemed to spend all their time trying to put down Mike Harris when there was enough of that going around already... I think I'm digressing.) Why don't I just conclude by tossing out two points to ponder then. Firstly, if you're doing something one way only to save time or money, is it really worth it if it annoys others? And secondly, if n doctors have n patients that they need to operate on, just how much does it matter that they're getting exercise via a runaround?
Greg "hologrami" Taylor