Saturday, June 18, 2005

No Respect

The firm has been hit by the flu. By 5 p.m. on Friday, there were only three people left in the office. The guy who normally sits at the desk in the reception area left at 11 a.m., so I had to move out there to work, and I also had to answer the phone. I don't know how Mitch ever gets anything done sitting there. I had to get a memo finished. It should have taken me about two or three hours. Instead, I was struggling to get it edited at 5 p.m. after starting it the minute I sat down at my desk. I didn't even take a lunch break.

I got a call from least favorite client around 10:30 a.m. She wanted to know what time the office closed. I told her 5:30 p.m. She said that she would be in before then to sign her immigration forms-- finally.

At 5:15 p.m., she came wandering in with her boyfriend. I gave her the forms and a pen and asked her to review the information in the forms to make sure that it was accurate, then sign them once she was satisfied that the forms were accurate. The boyfriend, who we will henceforth call Kent. Kent spent the entire time lounging on the couch, making snide remarks like, "I don't see why something like this is so hard that it should take more than a month. Half of these forms are blank.". Yeah, buddy, but the point of hiring us is that we can tell which parts of the forms are supposed to be blank and we can know what is supposed to go into the parts that you have to fill out. If you know so much more, I extend to you the same invitation that I gave to your stupid girlfriend: do it yourself. Just don't come crying to me when you're ordered deported. Jackass.

Then he discovered that the name of the country where she was born was misspelled- that is, that two of the letters were transposed. An obvious typographical error. He made the remark (in the single most condescending voice I have ever been subjected to, and I waitressed in a yuppie watering hole!) that this was really poor work, especially if we're planning to give this to immigration. I'm here to tell you, the schmuck who gets this is a) probably not even going to notice it, b)not going to be able to find the country on a map or tell you anything at all about it, and c)not going to care. Even a little bit. Then he started yelling that "Everything is misspelled! There are mistakes all over the place!" I hardly think so. At first, I planned to ignore him-- he was obviously looking for attention to validate his own overblown since of self-importance. But he wouldn't let it go. So I handed him a pink highlighter and fairly brusquely informed him that I couldn't imagine that the work was that bad, so perhaps he should indicate the exact places where he believed that mistakes had been made. He tried to demur, but I was having none of it. Don't open up the can of worms if you're not ready to handle the consequences! Twenty minutes later, he hands the forms across the desk. Out of 49 pages of forms, he found two more locations where the same transposition had been made. The computer program that fills out the forms has you enter the information on one biographical information screen and automatically drops the answers into each of the forms for you-- in this case, three locations.

Now earlier in the day, another client had come in to check and sign her forms and she found one location where the name of the city where she last resided outside the United States had been misspelled. She was gracious in pointing it out, I apologized for the error and fixed it, then printed out a new page on the forms. The forms program does not have a spell check and even if it did, it probably would not have had the 15 letter name of the little Asian village where she lived in its vocabulary. This is what a transaction with a normal person is like.

It got so bad that the senior paralegal came out in an attempt to placate them-- and not incidentally, get them out, as it was now after 6 p.m. and we all wanted to go home. In fact, the other girl and I had dinner plans that we were now going to be late for by the time I got to Felix's house and walked the dogs. The could not get the hint.

6. 45. p.m.

That's when the two of them finally left. Clueless and rude. A truly bad combination. I'll FedEx her crap to USCIS on Monday and hopefully that's the end of it.


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