What’s the most dreadful (or wonderful) experience you’ve ever had as a customer?
When my dad passed away I had to do a lot of paperwork for my mom. Among them all related to her pension as a widow. I went to the Social Security office with all the documentation required, at least all the documentation I had. But I crashed against a rock.
– “The Family Book, please”, said the official
The Family Book is a document the Spanish authorities give you when you start a family, but because my parents got married in Croatia, the Spanish authorities at that time didn’t give them that book.
– “We don’t have a Family Book I already gave you my parent’s marriage certificate. That proves my mother is my father’s widow and has right to her pension.”
– “Without the Family Book your parents are not legally married here in Spain, so she doesn’t have right to the pension”
– “But you have the marriage certificate and your people didn’t gave them the Family Book because they got married before they came here.”
– “That’s not my problem. I need the Family Book.”
No way to convince that woman my parents were legally married and were legally recognized as a married couple in Spain despite they never had the damned Family Book. So I had nothing to do but go home and look for new ways to prove my parents marriage. I did coming back with the birth certificates of all of us where mom and dad appeared as our parents legally married, but the clerk was not satisfied.
– “I need the Family Book”.
I looked at her in disbelief. I was desperate, sad, angry, hopeless. Another clerk who was following my case saw my despair and called me a said. A window of hope opened. But then she said in a whisper.
– “I see what’s your problem. I’ll give you a phone number.” – she was writing it in a post-it – “Call here. Is a Red Cross social worker, they are doing a very good job looking for identities for people like your family”
Then I exploded
– “Look, my Mother has the Spanish nationality since before you were born. She has for children born in Spain. We have lived here legally for decades without a problem and now you are telling me to go to the Red Cross to ask for a new identity as if we just arrived yesterday illegally in a boat?. I don’t need a new identity. I have my legal identity before you were born. This has to have another solution”.
Because we were mourning my dad I didn’t explain to my mom the problems I was having with the paperwork. I didn’t want her to worry about. But at that point I had to tell her because I needed her help. She began to look for old documents and found a certificate about the ownership of her apartment in Zagreb. The document had all the communist paraphernalia of the old Yugoslavia: the red star, the sickle and hammer, cyrillic characters, and the names of my father and my mother in it.
– “Try with this,” she said.
I had nothing to lose so I did
– “Here I have another document about my parents marriage issued by the city council of Zagreb, the city were they got married”, I said trying to sound convinced.
When the officer saw the strange characters, the red star, the sickle and hammer and all that, without understanding a word of the document, except the names of my parents, she said immediately:
– “This will work”
And it did. The application went on and my mother had her pension.
Daily Prompt: Are you being served?.
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8 thoughts on “The Family Book”
Wow it is amazing what happened. Rules and more rules. The lady knew without a doubt that you were speaking the truth, but according to rules…………………it is so stupid. I lived here in Indiana all my life but moved to another state for a few years. When I entered Indiana once again and tried to get my drivers license, they made me prove I was not an alien.
It is really amazing. And that happened to you within the US? No wonder I had problems coming from another country. As you said there are people who only see rules not logic….
yes it happened here in the US. rules without added logic are not any good