Thursday, January 24, 2008

Believe it or not

A British parking warden ticketed a car which had pulled up to a hospital with a patient in a diabetic coma, and proceeded to continue writing the ticket even as emergency personnel frantically attended to the victim. "The diligent warden came upon the scene after the man, who is diabetic, had keeled over in a car outside the hospital entrance."

Undeterred by the frantic activity going on around her, the parking attendant repeatedly tried to issue a parking ticket. She ignored protests and explanations as she pressed on - and even continued to issue a ticket after the ambulance arrived and the paramedics took over the care of the patient, according to a shocked observer.

Eventually the parking attendant relented when pressed by two ambulance men and the driver who had brought the patient there. Members of the Voluntary Transport Group, citizens who volunteer to take disabled patients to a hospital, had long complained of being ticketed because no drop-off zones had been provided for them.

"With over zealous traffic wardens waiting to pounce and the disabled parking bays usually occupied by shoppers rather than patients, we are in danger of a situation where our drivers will no longer be prepared to take the risk of being fined."


Blogger Fat Man said...

Where is Monty Python when you need them?

1/24/2008 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and so too is a small mind.

1/24/2008 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Why is it most government work requires, even demands, people leave their intellect and judgment at the door? What other type of system would tolerate this kind of behavior (it's funny only because we know it's just an extreme version of the general case).

There's no more regulated, rule and tradition bound job than working in these institutions.

1/24/2008 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

ari tai:

Why? Let me explain.

There are two rules when working for government.

1. It doesn't matter.

2. If it does, see rule #1.

There is an important exception. When one's paycheck is involved, it matters. These people have probably been told that their paycheck depends on them getting X revenue from fines. That is important. Otherwise not.

It is weird. I worked for the Canadian federal govt for almost 3 years. I had to leave. The only things that were accomplished were by someone stretching the rules or outright breaking them. They would then be harassed to no end, as a means of enforcing rule #1.

The reason it doesn't change is that people pay taxes. I don't pay a private firm for poor service, at least not a second time. I have no choice with government.


1/24/2008 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger gossypol said...

Derek, you obviously speak from experience. Occasionally, you hear of a really brash acknowledgment that "it doesn't matter", except where a paycheck is involved. At the institution where my husband works, one manager said to an employee upset over abuse by one of the manager's subordinate supervisors, "My job is not to get involved in controversy. My job is to get a paycheck."

This type of thinking also takes place in the private sector, but when it becomes dominant in a for-profit company, that company is on its way to failure. As you noted, taxes artificially prop up government organizations which would quickly fall to pieces if they were private.

In "Barbarians to Bureaucrats", Lawrence M. Miller described two main varieties of bureaucrats - one type passive and slow-moving and the other aggressive and controlling. You probably encountered both types in your government work.

Miller's book was written to help people understand life cycles of corporations, but I found the "lessons from the rise and fall of civilizations" very helpful in understanding idiocy in government institutions, too.

1/24/2008 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

"Where is Monty Python when you need them"

Monty Python was at the scene.

1/25/2008 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Maybe it would help if we had term limits on bureaucrats, too.

The fundamental problem, however, is lack of accountability. And the politicians are rarely interested in holding the bureaucracy accountable, regardless of what theory says.

And while a non-monopoly private organization faces the accountability of the market place, government organizations don't because they are monopolies.

1/25/2008 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Mitch H. said...

I worked one summer as a security guard at a sprawling retirement community. We had a lot of ambulance visits, as you'd expect with a community of elderly and often ailing residents. The slightly crazed individual who was in charge of the security detail would go off on ranting tears whenever the ambulance crews would leave their second vehicle behind after tearing off for the hospital with their charges. There was an *emergency vehicle* *parked* in the *fire lane*!

It always seemed like a perfect illustration of the truism "a ship is safest in harbor, but harbors are not what ships are for".

1/25/2008 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger rab said...


1/25/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Speaking of nasty meter maids

1/25/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger SMSgt Mac said...

Read the second comment at the link ;-)

1/25/2008 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dave E. said...

Aside from the main point of the post, which is well covered here, what's with the ambulance being called?

If I read that article correctly, a man pulled into an ambulance bay at a hospital. His passenger collapsed and the driver then went into the hospital and returned with some nurses. Then they called an ambulance? Weren't they already at the hospital and they could just, I don't know...go in? I must be missing something here because that's even more absurd than the ticket.

1/25/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger ZZMike said...

When you think about it, in a country where you can be arrested for selling groceries in pounds and ounces rather than grams (or is that grammes?), it's not at all surprising.

It does not cease to amaze me how the British have become such docile lambs.

1/26/2008 02:28:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger