There is, hidden in the bowels of Westminster, a government department dedicated to a peculiar strain of Keynesian economics
The Department of Administrative SNAFUs is dedicated to brewing trouble, escalating issues and manufacturing disasters, all of which then require hundreds of otherwise unemployably stupid people to work day and night pretending to assist you, while actually making everything immeasurably worse. You may consider these the ramblings of an insane conspiracy theorist, but the existence of such organised scuppering is the only logical explanation for the vast number of cock ups I am forced to tackle on a weekly basis.
Take for example my council tax bill. My council are in agreement that a discount should be applied. They are also cognisant of the fact that, once a discount is applied, the bill will be lower than it was previously. Indeed they have gone so far as to agree that this is pretty much the definition of a discount. This has not, however, prevented them from applying the discount before sending me a higher bill, no less than three times over the last month.
I was about to get online to sort this out when I opened a letter from my internet provider, who was threatening to cut me off because I hadn’t paid my monthly direct debit. It turns out that when I asked my bank to change personal details on my account, what they actually heard was: “Please cancel all of my direct debits and put my current account in the name of my ex-husband.” Last I heard they had concluded it was not their fault and the most likely explanation was that some big boys did it and then ran away.
In the last month I reckon I’ve spent about an hour a day dealing with problems that do not need to exist and that were not caused by me. I can only assume that the Department of Administrative SNAFUs is ramping up its activity for the festive season. Finally, however, there was a brief pause and for the last week I’ve had not one problem to unravel. Could it be they have finally moved on to torturing someone else?
But then a letter from the revenue, requiring me to call them, and resulting in the following conversation:
Me: Your letter says I owe you money. I don't think I do.
Them: You're quite right, you don’t. However we can't seem to cancel the debt on our system.
Me: You just said there isn’t a debt.
Them: It’s a debt of zero. We can’t seem to cancel it.
Me: Zero isn’t a debt. It’s zero. I don't owe you money.
Them: Yes we can see that. We just can’t cancel it.
Me: Will I keep getting these letters?
Me: Well I’ll just ignore them then?
Them: No because then we send debt collectors round.
Me: To collect zero?