Friday, February 20, 2009

Post Titled: non-fiction, the quest for a fraking ermäßigung for my bvg Monatskarte
USEFUL INFO: IN BERLIN YOU CAN GET A DISCOUNT ON YOUR MONTHLY PASS FOR THE U-BAHN IF YOU GO TO THE BVG TICKET COUNTER WITH A LETTER WHICH SAYS YOU ARE AN INTERN AND A PASSPORT-SIZED PHOTO FOR YOUR ACCOMPANYING AUSBILDUNGSAUSWEIS: At the time of this post the Monatskarte was €52, which is a €20 discount.
RESUME POST: I have been riding schwarz for a few days now, getting nervous- since the only time (luckily) that I DID buy a kurzstrecke was also the time i got kontrolled-
sooo, I heard that if I have a letter that says I am in intern that I can get a reduced-price ticket for the u-bahn. I get the letter and ride schwarz to Alex where the bvg offices are and give it to the teller:
"Aaaaber sie brauchen einen foto!"
"Huh?"
"foto! ja. foto!"

I interpret this to mean that to avoid being swindled that my foto must be included ON the letterhead which says I am an intern.
frack.
since the Germans include their fotos on their CVs when applying for jobs, this automatically does not seem unreasonable, so I grumble fumble and go into Galleria Kaufhof with the Marketplace (with Cy Risdall) podcast in my headphones and wander like a zombie just looking for a xerox machine- finally I ask the woman in the statiuonary dept.
"habt ihr zufällig irgendwo eine farb-fotokopiemachine hier?"
"ja, 3.- NEE- 5. -5. stock!"

I go up, search and search, ask again- apparently is is in the giftwrapping dept. go there, oooh- it is only schwarzweis- how the hell am I going to pull off the color signature and stamp in b/w? shit, it'll just have to do-
I ask the giftwrapping ladies for scissors as I bogart a large table space to conduct my obviously shady cut-paste-embed recopy of my official letter to include a foto so I can get my goddamn ermäßigung on my Monatskarte. all goes well... except I am not satisfied with the b/w, and after having made my fair share of very valid-looking alterations to my military ID in college (which were always way better than Vern's) so that i could buy alcohol and go to bars, my standards for falsifying documents are fairly high.
I ride one stop to Rosa-Luxembourg and find an internet cafe which existed in my mind (and : surpise, in reality as well) who had a color copier. the guy had to change out the ink but had no qualms with my shadiness.
I returned to Alex with my freshly forged document and went to another bvg office, presented my letter (now with color foto!) and the guy basically said: "yea, great, but do you have a foto?"
"foto???"

he holds up a blank Ausbildungsausweis and points to the portion where my foto would go
"foto!" point-point-point.
"ohhh..."

jeeez. all I needed was a passport-style headshot, which was still taped to the document in my pocket which was identical to the one he held in his hand... I couldn't very well pull out the duplicate and peel off the cheap-y paper printout of a scan of my old passport foto which I#d stuck on there to copy...
"ahhh! foto, ok"
"but one bigger than this"
"ok!"

so I switche the fake letter with the embedded scan out with the original letter and went to the other side of the train station to the teller I#d originally gone to and presented my
"foto!"
all was well, she expertly yet absurdly riveted the paper foto to the Ausbildungsausweis and I waled away with an ermäßigt Monatskarte... and a sense of ... I don't even know what. After so many painfully frustrating and seemingly impossible experiences with german bureaucracy now I just expect my interactions with bureaucrats to be painfully inconvenient and nearly insurmountable or (at least) to be way way way too time-comsuming... embedded inconvenience. How does(has) this country function(ed) for so long like this??? Anyhow, paranoid false alarm- my fault! oui.
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1 Comments:

Anonymous DLR said...

That seems pretty straightforward for German bureaucracy. Isn't that a sad thought.

But... I do have an approved Green Card, so huzzah for fairly efficient Amurkin bureaucracy, and the fact that I can leave the country if I want to now!

11:14 pm  

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