One of the genuinely rewarding things about living in the Outpost is dealing with public services. Most services of the Principality I have dealt with as a member of the general public are swift, polite and spectacularly efficient. Now, before I am once more blamed for sweepingly making coarse generalisations based on half-truths, here is my evidence.
Years ago, recently arrived from the UK — from the fief of blinding ineptitude called ntl, more specifically — I went to Outpost Telecom to ask for a landline at 11:45. I was connected at 13:20. The technician actually rang me in the office to politely request I gave him access to my flat at around 1 pm. “What, already?” He seemed perplexed by my disbelief.
The Electricity Authority are slightly slower: it took them one day to have us connected. But they have even nicer offices and even more polite employees. So there.
The local Water Board is as the above. Untypical in being star efficient.
Generally, paying bills is easy and complaints are processed swiftly: the longest I had to wait for one to be addressed (in anticipation of ADSL) was 20 minutes — and they dealt with the whole thing the following day (I had called at 8 pm)…
Yesterday it was the Inland Revenue’s turn to impress me. I was in at 8.20 (remember, services open at ungodly hours here), I was out at 9.10. That is, having completed my tax forms for three years and having registered for the online system, so that “I can do my income declaration online next year and save myself the hassle”. I mean, hello there, I had not declared my income for 2003 and 2004 and I came in way after the 2005 deadline. No fine? No chastisement? No nothing? Nobody blinked. Moreover, the tax forms themselves are so straightforward, you need no accountant to fill them out — something hard to imagine in Compatridia. Ok, yes, the Principality is small, but, seriously, have they not heard of bureaucracy? Making the public’s life hard just to sardonically assert clerical authority?