Yesterday I was back at the Burgeramt. (You can read the first part here) It was a 'valuable learning experience' for me. That's the nicest way I can put it. This is what I learned:
1. You can arrive as early as you like, but there will always be 80 people to be seen before you.
2. You are there to undertake a task. Do not try and be *nice*.
I made the mistake of when someone on their way out passed the handle of the glass door to me of asking the woman behind the counter if she would like the door closed. She replied with a sentence I didn't understand. I said 'Sorry, would you like the door closed?' again, and she said very sternly "WHAT DO YOU WANT??"
3. You will be punished for your bad German.
I asked for the form for the parking permit and answered all the questions which she fired at me in what was obviously much more *fancy* German that she was patently getting a kick out of watching me not entirely understand. Except having been through this before I knew what the questions were and managed to get the answers right*.
4. Do not proceed to the waiting room with your numbered ticket. Stay. Move to the side a little, but stay. Ask the next person served what number their ticket is.
Not doing this may result in the following. I was given a ticket which at the time would have sworn did not come directly from the machine. But, I didn't query it, because why wouldn't they give me the next number? Anyway, I went into the room and the number on the board was at 5 or something. I counted the number of people in the room and there were 43. I couldn't quite work out how I could be number 80, but it was a nice day and I thought that perhaps some people were waiting outside on the grass. So I waited 4 and a half hours. I waited until everyone who had arrived before me had been seen, and nearly everyone who had arrived after me had been seen. I waited until people who arrived 2 hours after me were complaining to other people in the room how long they had been waiting and how awful it was to have to wait longer because it was taking so long to get to 64. 64? 64?
5. It will do you no good to complain. You cannot win. They know you can't prove a thing. So go back to number 4 and check the next person's ticket. You probably will be told that they have some kind of special circumstance or something, who knows, but you will NEVER win.
6. I will not be staying in Germany beyond June 2014 unless I have underground parking.
7. When you think things can't get worse: they can. Finding out you have booked the return flight from your holiday for the DAY AFTER you leave the hotel while waiting in the Burgeramt will see to that.
8. Drinking a whole bottle of cava while making dinner does actually cheer you up.
9. As does going to bed at 8pm.
*The questions never vary. It's like the questions you get at the airport.
1 thing I learned 8 minutes ago
1. You can renew your parking permit on the internet.