He was calling us on the DFO line from St.John's, NL and wanted information on getting a number he could call to pick up one of those PCOCs (Pleasure Craft Operator Card). I situated the caller and explained where he had reached and what service we actually provided. I then proceded to tell him that Transport Canada, specifically their Office of Boating Safety, provided information on course providers and how to contact them. I mentioned that they also had a complete list of the corporate headquarters which were accredited by Transport Canada and that this was available on their national website.
Upon hearing this, my caller started on his rant. Apparently 'he had called Transport Canada' (which section amongst the hundreds that make up Transport Canada, I had no idea...) and they were of no assistance whatsoever to him. He then went on to harangue me about how convoluted a system this was and could they not have made it any more complicated than what it was? I asked him what section of Transport Canada he had been in touch with, being of course very aware that the OBS line provided just such information. I informed him of this and provided him with their toll-free national number.
"Oh them...", he scoffed. "I phoned them lot and they said they'd send me out a list in about two or three weeks...". "And...", I replied. "Well for God's sake, I'm just looking for a number...one number where I can talk to one of these companies her in St.John's...". "Sir, I understand explicitly what you are asking me for, but there is no such number...", I retorted and stopped him dead in his tracks. I swear I could hear the steam building over the line as he got ready to blow... and sure enough, he did.
I sat there and listened to him for a bit, before interjecting: "Sir... sir... If I may interject here for a moment. You have called the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, looking for information about a program which actually falls under Transport Canada. And now you're getting upset that I can't provide you information, that wouldn't even be available from the proper federal agency, which need I remind you is Transport Canada? Sir, I am not going to entertain this conversation...". I have all kinds of empathy for people dealing with federal bureaucratic jungle, but when you start accusing me of being part of it, after all I do each and every friggin' day to make things easier for people...? You can pretty much suck it, as Nancy Griffin says. I'm through being nice...
Off he goes again: "Well that's right...you're just another goddamned, bored bureaucrat...why you couldn't entertain nothin'...". Sensing that he might just give himself an aneurism, I tried to defuse the situation. "Sir... you're asking for me for information we simply do not have... you're basically phoning Sears to complain about how Canadian Tire does business. You were asking for information on whom to contact for information on course providers. You already have that information, by your own admission. There is nothing I can add to that... Now... is there any information which actually comes from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, that I might be able to provide you with...?"
Okay... I guess not. Clearly, for as many kind and wonderful people that I've met in and from Newfoundland and Labrador, they also have their ignorant, their unsocialized and their retarded. It does as they say, take all kinds to make a world. Even on the "Granite Planet".