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Thank you, but I have enough “good stories.”

April 15, 2010

“Oh well, at least it will make for a good story!”

– My mother. Yesterday

Well, thank you for that insight mother, but, frankly, I have more than enough good [crazy, unhelpful, bureaucratic Belgium] stories. Why, over the past three months we’ve racked up several quality tales:

  • We got a Court Conundrum story. in a nutshell: Received a court summons in our mailbox after being pulled over for accidentally going the wrong way down a street by our house. (When we left in the morning it was a standard 2-way  but during the workday they put planters -like, with flowers and shrubs- in the second lane thus converting it to a 1-way street when we returned home. ?!!#%%^@#*) While getting a $125 ticket for this egregious driving error the cop dinged us for having American licenses instead of Belgian ones. So we got this summons that told us to present ourselves at a specific date, time and location. The 1st annoyance: we presented ourselves at the address on the summons but the court person went to our apartment at the specified time and charged us $50 for not being home. The 2nd-97th annoyance: we went to the police station 4 consecutive mornings to have this straightened out but the court person either didn’t show up or came with the wrong documents. The 98th annoyance: had to go to court and our translator didn’t speak very good Flemish. Directly from our British translator: we owe “either half of or twice 150 euros” for the infraction.

Future Court House in Hasselt, Belgium. I may have been (slightly) less irritated had we been summoned to this building. (courtesy

  • We earned (yet another) customer (dis)service story: So, in the past two years, BF has had 3 separate phone numbers and 4 different contracts. All with the same company ( – aka the worst phone company ever). At the moment, he is using 1 phone number on 1 contract. However, my bank account was being debited for THREE phone numbers, TWO of which are out of service. To fix this, I did the following:
  1. Called “customer service” and they said to go to the retailer where we signed the contracts.
  2. The retailer  told me to go to my company (the first contract was through my work).
  3. Work told me to call “customer service.”
  4. “Customer service” told me to go back to the store.
  5. Went back to the store, they told me to call “customer service.”
  6. I screamed. Called “customer service” and put the store manager on the phone.
  7. They said everything was fixed so I left with a cautious smile on my face.
  8. I am now paying for only TWO phones. Only one of which is out of service. Right.

As I said, those little gems are just from the past three months. If I go further back and recount some of the other issues, I just might cry.

Which is why I am done with the “good stories.” I would just like the people I’m dealing with to be fair and consistent.

Tonight I have an appointment with the wedding planner to meet at the Leuven Stadhuis and fix what is shaping up to be a good, nay, great story regarding registering with the commune and setting a date for the wedding.

I sincerely hope it is not.

Will report back tomorrow.

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