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07 September 2009 @ 10:36 pm
I stand before you my friends, to tell you that you can beat the system, if possessed of determination, vocabulary, and the righteousness of the innocent!

To begin the story at its beginning ... We own a car. Not that it sees much use, it's 11 years old and has only just gone over 60,000km. I don't drive and Mr Brammers prefers to catch the train or walk. Also, most of our life is within a four-mile radius, in which parking is grim. So it spends time in its residential parking spot, outside the house with the nosy old lady who calls the police whenever she sees suspicious young people. Slapped on its window is a residential sticker, and cobwebs, usually.

One day a few months ago, we decided to drive somewhere. There was something under the windscreen wiper: a parking ticket from three weeks previous.

Mr Brammers swore loudly and profanely. I counselled calm: we have a permit, the ticket was for parking for longer than allowed in a residential area, our area, without a permit: clearly it had been given in error. People make mistakes. The car was dirty, there were cobwebs, it had been a bright sunny week when the ticket was issues and the combination of glare and muck may have made the permit invisible. 'We will call the council, we can sort this,' I advised.

Mr Brammers rang the council and asked what to do, they said that it would be fine, all he needed to do was to send a copy of the receipt for the permit and a letter explaining the situation to the State Revenue and they would revoke the ticket.

This he duly did. After a few weeks, a letter came back in which an officious twat from State revenue, who I will call Annoying Man, declared that there was no reason for him to revoke the fine, as the mere fact that we had purchased a permit did not prove anything.

Mr Brammers ranted and swore again, I suggested he write a letter. He declared that there as no point, as The System would never let anyone win when there was cash at stake. I asked if he would let me write a letter, then, pretending I was him. He conceded it would be worth it to shut me up.

I wrote the following, using real names and phone numbers:

Dear Annoying Man, et al.,
I write in reference to your letter of 4 August regarding penalty notice XXXXXXXXX.

In it you snidely infer that I purchased a parking permit sticker in November of 2008, but, by the date of the issue of the offence on 27 May 2009, had not yet managed to affix it to my car.

This is clearly nonsense.

Aside from the absurdity of outlaying money for a permit and then failing to make any use of it for six months, the vehicle in question is parked on Our Local Street, Erskineville almost every day of the year in a residential parking space. Every single other parking inspector who has surveyed that area in that six-month period has managed to see the permit in its permanently affixed position.

The balance of probability is overwhelmingly in favour of one parking inspector making an error, which we can all do and I bear him or her no ill will.

Yet you rather rudely state: “Purchasing and/or owning a valid permit does not give exemption from displaying a valid permit.” Thus declaring that I have lied in my application to have the penalty dismissed, in addition to being a money-wasting idiot.

I am as astonished by your tone as by your decision.

As the matter stands, you offer me the option of paying an $81 fine or taking an annual leave day – which is worth about $400 to me – to contest the fine in court, because a parking inspector made a mistake, and then you decided I was an idiot and a liar.

Neither of these choices appeal to me, given that I am an honest man of reasonable intelligence, and I would ask that you reverse your decision and act fairly in this matter. I am available on (his phone number) to discuss this matter if required, and ask that you give it your earliest attention.

Sincerely yours,
Mr Brammers
I sent registered copies to Annoying Man, Annoying Man's boss, the Department Head, and the Treasurer (because postage is cheap and I am not afraid of a little overkill). Registered means that you can track the arrival of a letter, which is handy if you think that you may need to write a follow-up letter.

Three and a half weeks later we had heard nothing back, so Mr Brammers thanked me for my valiant effort and the giggle it gave him, and logged in to pay online. Where he found a notice saying 'Penalty cancelled, no fine due.'

In addition to thanking me for my efforts, he admitted that I was right and you can beat The System if you are more annoying than it is. It is just as well that I have a Proper Job and so use my superpowers of annoyance for good, rather than evil ;-)

Loyaulte Me Lie: a sunbeam shone directly onto himshocolate on September 7th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
you accused an Official of Snide Inference... and won!!

*hears choirs of angels*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
I slapped Handel on the iPod as soon as I heard ;-)

Rather Happy sums up my mood nicely. (If I ignore the cricket.)
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on September 7th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
Hee- the letter is great, but the overkill is priceless.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
My firm belief when dealing with The System is that nobody wants to do anything, so the only way to make them work in your favour is to make it obvious that you will be less effort appeased than left alone ;-)

Proved right again!
(no subject) - i_autumnheart on September 7th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shadowedkit on September 7th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Jamfranalan on September 7th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
That letter looks exactly like something my Mum would write...and has written. You are a genius :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
And so very middle aged ... still, it brings its joys!
E McGeemelusinahp on September 7th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
Will you write my annoying letters from now on? Please? :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
I would love to! (Writes cranky letters, owns cats, carries silk scarf in bag in case of high winds ... Oh god, I'm my Great Aunt Irene ...)
women's lasers: pride and prejudice - lizzy couragesarcasticpixie on September 7th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Good for you!

I will now commence with flailing, as your letter leads me to believe you live by the drag show pub in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. (Such are my Australian cultural references.)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Darling the Imperial is JUST UP THE ROAD! (And has been closed for renovations for AGES, though the Drag Bus still drives past to point it out. Yes, we have a Drag Bus.)

Erko is one of the good places to live. Come and visit!
Heather: Glee Baby!faynia on September 7th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)

Oh I &hearts you. So very, very much.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
It's mutual!
SlytherinBrandBabyOilsbbo on September 7th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
I think my favorite part, out of a lot of good, was "Neither of these choices appeal to me, given that I am an honest man of reasonable intelligence..." Oh, it just seemed the peak of a pitch perfect ascension of how you are not an idiot to be bullied. It built up so well! Congrats on your success.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
I am quite pleased, mostly because it proved to Mr B that it is always worth attempting to write a wrong.

Though I have to confess that I was actually a bit sad that Annoying Man's letter was so very rude. If he had been polite and apologetic, it would have gone better for him.

Mr Brammers has spent the evening saying 'Given my reasonable intelligence ...' I may have built a rod for my own back ;-)
(no subject) - anthraxia on September 8th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
shadowclubshadowclub on September 7th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Wow. When I grow up, I want to write letters like you because they are made of win:)

The System!!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
You can take it down!

I find the key to success is always suggesting that everyone has had the best will in the world, save for one miscreant who's let the whole side down. And send copies to as many superiors as you can ;-)
cassie_blackcassie_black12 on September 7th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Go you!!

I find that overkill is usually the best way to get something done. Don't bother with the middle management - go straight to the top, because these people are usually so terrified of having to deal with a 'customer' that they'll usually cave in rather than actually have to earn the vast sums they're paid!!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
HA! Yes, I strongly suspect you are right, more's the pity!
libby_drew on September 7th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Good triumphs over evil!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't call myself exactly good, but fighting for the good in this case, yes ;-)
maya231maya231 on September 7th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
I am as astonished by your tone as by your decision. I think this is my favorite line of all. Priceless.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
That was the line that saw Mr Brammers shake his head and declare that I was enjoying myself entirely too much. He was onto something ...
LadyDark1 ~ A  Harry and Draco Slash Addict.Periodldydark1 on September 7th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
"The squeaky wheel gets the grease."
Good for you on obtaining the results you wanted. I too am a letter writer.
The pen is stronger than the sword.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
It is! And yes, I was very proud of you for the letter you recently wrote, and feel you were on the side of righteousness with it, too.
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on September 7th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
I bet there is someone in that department who hates him and has a framed copy in a desk drawer.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHAHA! You're probably right!
Jaeenchanted_jae on September 7th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Buahahahaha! Yay for you!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
powerflower11powerflower11 on September 7th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
This just made my day! :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 9th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Well that makes me feel even better about the whole thing!