Bureaucracy: Not Just A Lost Treasure of Infocom

Time for another dispatch from Dad regarding Hell.

Once he returned to work after his trip to the Gulf Coast, he turned in his travel reimbursement list. While he was in Mississippi, he had a flat tire on his rental car. A common problem, I hear, in that region, since sharp debris is clearly strewn everywhere. $16.95 later, the tire was mended and he continued about his work. Quite naturally, he put that $16.95 down as an expense he wanted reimbursed. Well, he got the reimbursement back, but they had denied his $16.95 claim on the grounds that….wait for it….the flat tire wasn’t listed on the travel orders he received before the trip. I’m sure we all find this about as disturbing as he did. How could our government have failed him by not knowing in advance that he would have a flat tire while he was down there so that it could be included on the travel orders so that he could receive his $16.95 back?


So my Dad, generally a reasonable man, went down to the office of the pissant little GS-5 underling (my words, NOT his) in charge of these things to have a little chat. Here is the gist of his argument, “Well, you reimbursed me for the gas I kept putting in the rental car, didn’t you? That wasn’t on the travel orders, either!” Being the federal government, a solution for this impasse was found, but a slightly silly one. The only fix available to them was to reissue the travel orders to include one flat tire. So the paperwork got redone (how many manpower hours did that take, I wonder? I also wonder what the hourly pay for a GS-5 is this year?) and my Dad got his $16.95 back, along with one other reason to wish his retirement date was sooner than it is

Meanwhile, someone in Atlanta used a FEMA credit card to buy a guitar.

Perhaps this post should have been entitled: “Things That Make You Go…Hmmm.”

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