Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Inefficiencies - A List

1.  Belgian IDs - they are required but take forever to get.  We applied for ours the first week of August, we are still waiting.....  (I did go to the first office where we applied last week - the guy I talked to didn't seem surprised at the length and told me there was nothing I could do to hurry the process.  I was told to just wait for the mail)

2.  Military Veterinarian  - theoretically they have office hours four days a week.  After several phone calls and left messages, I managed to talk to a person.  They might have two days this month when they care for animals, all the others they are closed.

3.  Gas Card - they can be bought at SHAPE all week long, if you have the necessary clearance to get to the window where they are sold.  If you don't have clearance, you can buy them at Chievres (40 minute drive away) but only on Mondays.  On Monday - the Commissary is closed - so you don't get two trips for the price of one, necessitating greater use of the gas card.

4.  Only Kyle can cash checks on base.  The base's dollar/euro exchange rate isn't great.  Kyle writes and cashes check.  Brings home US$ to me.  I go to bank in town to deposit/exchange cash.  I have to go before 12:30 though - no cash transactions after that time.

5.  Houses don't have closets - I understand that Europeans don't have as much stuff as Americans, but still I see them wearing clothing that I presume they would want to hang up when it is not in use.

Some days the inefficiencies are so frustrating they make one want to scream.  More and more I can shrug my shoulders, take a deep breath and keep pushing through the craziness to get something accomplished.


  1. Electric sockets seem to be built to a loose standard of +/- 10% of the norm, so don't expect your European plugs to actually fit in every socket.

  2. Please note that ALL of the inefficiencies that you listed stem from a european model of central planning (by government including US military). Systems are designed for the convenience of the provider of services. The american model that you would prefer, is designed for the convenience of the customer for whom providers compete. Market economies ALWAYS out-perform Socialism!