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Probably because I come from a third world country, I am not civilized enough to understand any of this… (Part 2)

The "Watch" by Gerald Murphy This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.      You are free:         to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work.
The “Watch”
by Gerald Murphy
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
You are free:
to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work.

So where was I? Oh yes! I was climbing up the ladder of disappointments, rage and tears in the bureaucratical artifacts making life ever so difficult here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Surprised? I was…

I had to register for the TEFAQ, the French exam to prove that I am Francophone enough to live here in Quebec. Well, TEFAQ is sort of the French equivalent of TOEFL… Have you ever registered for TOEFL? You can do everything, I MEAN everything ONLINE from one particular website, without having to search all the different establishments that may be giving the exam, while registering. For TEFAQ, I had to google search all establishments giving the exam, plus the prices were different (how is that even possible?) and figure out how to get to their online registration site. Well, most did not have one, or dates or something was missing! Except for McGill! Thank you McGill, for figuring out the internet.

Plus, I have registered for a few classes and applied for CSQ, the first step of permanent residence and am paying rent on a regular basis in Montreal. I have undertaken similar endeavors in different countries, it was never a big deal. I have used the internet to make my payments for exams in Turkey, for work permit and rent in Australia, to register for a number of things here and there. It was always simple, use your credit card, and voila! You do not have to do anything else! Worst case scenario had always been depositing the amount into a specified bank account and sending the proof of payment, which, needless to say, can also be done online!

But here, for some reason, old school checks are a favorite. You have to send a check for course registrations, rent (!) payments, governmental applications (which LOVE payments) and anything else you can think of!

And of course, if anything goes wrong in the mail, or if the recipients happen to lose that little piece of paper representing a certain fraction of your account balance, you are the one to be blamed and miss your chance for whatever you were sending your money for.

Now, here is another little experience my friend and I had: He won tickets for the Just for Laughs festival here in Montreal through the company we work for and since I am such a great friend, he picked me as his plus one. It is a big deal! He already has tickets that have been paid for, right? All we have to do is choose the shows we want to see and everything will be fine. That should not be so hard once you have your registration ID number, right? A very easy task that can be done online; time and nerve saving!

Instead of a huge web address to get the easy task done, they have inserted a huge phone number, so that we can easily reserve places for the shows we want to see.

I called them. On the phone, I learned that most shows we wanted to pick were already sold out. So making a representative wait for our decision, still on the phone, with major difficulty, we picked the shows and paid for the delivery of the tickets.

Oh nothing is ever free in Canada! Not even a show ticket you may have won!

Then we waited… Nothing, no mail, no ticket, no e-mail for a month…

So we decided to call them… No answer…

Now my friend has given up on the show and does not care for any other prizes that might take a toll on his time and energy. Side effect, I am not being taken to a comedy show…

In an era when plane tickets can be bought online and printed, when tiny codes are used as entrance tickets or even as currency, why is it so hard to make online registration and payment available?

But I still love you Canada. It is this naive side of you that makes you so attractive, and safe, as I like to believe.

Not quite finished, yet. More to come: Health and Banking…