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Monday, October 15, 2012


Bear with me as I tell (rant) my story:


Today I went to a government agency as part of my work (I'm a CPA and the government agency goes by a three letter acronym, so you figure it out)..


I've being going to this office, working with these people about once a week over the last 15 or so years.  I call them by name, they call me by name. Part of the protocol is that they tell me their name and I give them my drivers license - to establish identity.  A typical exchange might be "Hello Sharon, how are you?  Fine, Ian - How was the drive from Cleveland?"  Today, the security guard even joked "I thought you were an employee, as much as you've been in here lately?" We all chortled merrily.


Fast forward 5 minutes:  I'm at Sharon's  employee X's desk, and, as per usual (after saying "hello, Ian"), she says "My name is Sharon  employee X, my ID number is on my badge, how can I help you?" I say, "I left my wallet with my drivers license in my jacket pocket, hanging on the door in my office." Her response?  "Well, what are we going to do about that?"  Yep - she was not willing to help me, because I had left my license back in Cleveland (The IRS unnamed government agency is in Chattanooga, 30 miles away). She wound up calling her manager (who also knows me).  "Hello, Ian, it's a rule that you show your ID -  TO ESTABLISH YOUR IDENTITY!!" (caps and exclamation marks are mine).


To make an interminably long story mercifully shorter, they made me recite all of my id numbers, phone number and address before they would talk to me - oh, I was told that a business card would be acceptable!!


Look, I'm not trying to unduly criticize this agency.  Instead, I'm just marveling at the "follow rules blindly, ask no questions" mentality that some people have.  I like these people, they are typically quite helpful, but doggone it, that is just ridiculous, don't you think?


Point is: The rule to show ID is to establish identity. I have long established my identity with everyone in the Chattanooga office. Asking me for a drivers license did not establish identity (I assume that if a clone came in who looked like me, he would ALSO LOOK LIKE THE PICTURE ON MY LICENSE).


Thanks for reading.  Carry your papers.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, pretty much SOP for a fed agency. However, I can tell you from personal experience that if Sharon had NOT followed the "proper" idiotic and brainless procedure, she would have been called on the carpet by her supervisor and written up. Then there would have been sixteen policy meetings to discuss how Sharon's infraction could be avoided in the future, followed by a white paper on the consensus. We live in an idiocracy, no doubt about it.