Transcript taken from a Big Important Administrative place that happens to be an hour away from my house. I waited 20 minutes there before having the following 30-second conversation with the Bitchy Secretary Lady:
Me: Hi, I'd like to ask for a work permit.
BSL: Yes, are you renewing or getting your first one?
Me: Oh. I got one last year, but it was for a different employer. So it's my first one for this job.
BSL: It doesn't matter. Ok, so you're renewing. You need to give me all the documents on this list, put them in this folder, and drop the folder in that box to your left.
Me: (scanning the list) OK. One question.
Me: It says here that I need to give you a photocopy of my previous work permit.
Me: Well, I'm just wondering. Last year, I asked for a work permit for a contract that was ending in May. Oddly, they gave me a permit that only lasted for 9 days. I got the permit in the mail in June, so clearly after the nine-day period which had been, bizarrely, for March. So obviously it was all wrong. Do you still want it?
BSL: Why didn't you come in when you received it in the mail?
Me: Because my contract was already over by that point.
BSL: Well, you still should have come in.
Me: You're saying I should have gone an hour out of my way to point out a mistake that you made, even though that wouldn't change anything?
BSL: You needed to come in.
Me: Do you still want the card?
BSL: I just don't see why you didn't come in.
Me: Well I didn't.
BSL: You should have.
Me: (laughing) Right. You've said that.
BSL: You needed to come in when you got the card.
Me: YEAH. OK, fine. But the fact is that I didn't. So what should I do now?
BSL: You really should have come in...
What are you, crazy lady? My mother? The broken record version? Anyway, whatever.
End of story: I need a whole lot more paperwork than I had originally thought. I should have known that ahead of time (we are in France, after all), but it means that I have to go ride the train for another hour just to DROP OFF the stupid folder filled with photocopies. Oh, and get this: the place where I have to drop off the folder? Only open from 9:00 - 10:45. Because that's practical. And she wonders why I didn't come in.