Being an Angry American

Only when you can use it to your advantage.

Today I had to call the tax office about my ID brev (link to last post). My official ID has been sitting in the Malmö office for over a month and I still can’t pick it up. I was supposed to receive a letter in the mail and when I didn’t get it they tried resending the letter. That was over a week ago. Now I still don’t have the letter and thus still don’t have my ID. After calling the tax authority and waiting on hold I spoke to 2 different people about getting my ID. After asking over and over what they could do, they kept saying they would just resend the letter. Finally I said, “ how is this going to be any different than the other two times?”

The employees couldn’t answer my questions or help me get the problem solved so I decided to use my “ugly American”-ness to my advantage and ask to speak to their manager. Imagine…yes we could try this other thing and send a copy of the letter to the local tax office directly. Feeling a little mean and very not Swedish…

Update: less than 5 min later:

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Bureaucracy Take 3ish

After becoming a person, I need to get a bank account. I still haven’t gotten paid because the paperwork was filed too late in November for me to get a pay check that month. I am getting paid via a sort of strange government grant that pays me a few months at a time and supposedly in advance. This means that a budget will be come paramount.

I went to the bank I had decided to use, based on what my aunt and uncle use (they have a couple different banks) and what the guys at work said they used. Banks are only open 10-15 on weekdays so today I had to take an afternoon off of work to go to the bank. When I got to there I got to participate in an other great Swedish tradition, taking a number. Like at a counter serve food place, you get a number and when they are ready for you (or your food is ready), you go up to the indicated counter. In Sweden there is almost never a stand in line in stores where you need a service persons help: at the bank,  at the tax office, and the immigration office you either take a number or are given a number by an information worker.

After waiting about 40 min my number was called and when I asked the cashier about opening an account he said that I needed a tax office ID….OK but when I read on the tax office webpage it said to get a tax office ID you needed forms of ID that I don’t have, one of the options of which was a bank issued ID….

I rushed home and checked the tax office webpage again. In a very small side note (which is much more clear on the Swedish version of the webpage than on the English part, it did say that a tax ID could be made for residents who didn’t have all of the normal forms of ID asked for if you had your passport and residence permit. OK. So, first you need to pay for the ID online at least a full business day before you go to the office. I tried paying online from my American bank account but my American bank didn’t recognize the international bank codes that were listed on the website. So I called my aunt and she paid the fee from her Swedish account. (what to people who have no help in Sweden do?????)

After paying the fee, my aunt mad a pdf of the receipt and emailed it to me so I could print it at work the next day to take with me to the tax office (the one in Malmö not in Lund (close to work) because only some of the tax offices can make IDs).

After waiting a whole day, I headed to the tax office. When I got there, there was no line for the ID personnel. YAY! I then had to wait 5 min while they were talking to each other not noticing I was there; boo. After giving the tax employee all my information, height, birthday, phone number…. her fancy camera wouldn’t turn on. So I had to be transferred to another employee and re-answer the questions before getting my picture taking.

Unlike Chicago where I got my drivers license after waiting 5 min at the DMV, in Sweden they were going to mail 2 envelopes to my registered address (my aunt’s house): one telling me my ID card is ready and one with my online pin ID information. Once the ID card announcement comes I will have to go back to the Malmö tax office to get the ID and then back to the bank to get a bank account.

Bureaucracy take 3