Image for post
Image for post

Need a laugh? Call the office for care and social matters Frankfurt!

I just called the office for care and social matters in Frankfurt (“Hessisches Amt für Versorgung und Soziales Frankfurt am Main” in German). Not surprisingly, I was greeted by a machine. But what I heard then made me laugh with tears…

I called the hotline of the “Hessisches Amt für Versorgung und Soziales Frankfurt am Main” (+49 69 15671, if you want to follow along) today to get some information about what I have to prepare as a future dad. The machine greeted me and began to offer me the navigation menu in a very calm voice:

Press 1 for Schwerbehindertenangelegenheiten for the letters A,B,I,O,P,Q,R,Sch,U,V,X,Z…

WTF?! Is this machine reciting the entire alphabet to me? Why are some letters missing? And who came up with this seemingly random sorting of letters?

Some of my non-German friends might also find the use of the word “Schwerbehindertenangelegenheiten” hilarious — it fits the infamous notion of German words that can span from here to the moon and back easily. These kind of words are mostly used by federal offices and lawyers.

Ok, let’s listen to the lady a moment longer:

…Press 2 for Schwerbehindertenangelegenheiten for the letters
C,E,F,G,J,L,N,St,Su-Sz,T,W,Y…

Ok, continuing the pattern about half an hour into our call. I especially like how they create weird subcategories for the letter “S”. Still not what I need, because my issue does not fall into the category of “Schwerbehindertenangelegenheiten”. Let’s continue:

…Press 3 for Schwerbehindertenangelegenheiten for the letters
D,H,K,M,S-Sc,Sci-Ss,Sp…

Nice! I have been tought the entire alphabet for free. Although I thought about this longer than I should, I’m still not sure whether these three sequences of letters really make up a full partition of the entire alphabet. Maybe the mathematical proof will be found in the centuries to come…

…Press 4 for “Eltern- und Betreuungsgeld” for letters A-K…

Woah! What happened here?? Did they hire a McKinsey consultant for this other department to streamline the organization? It’s genius! Okay, getting closer to what I want…

…Press 5 for “Eltern- und Betreuungsgeld” for letters L-Z…

I should’ve known. Murphy’s Law states that in such a long enumeration of navigation options mine will always come last. But hey, I finally know to press “5” — hurray…

We’re sorry, but our office is not occupied right now. Our office hours are Mon, Wed and Thu 8–3:30pm, on Fridays 8–12.

Argh! After I listened to you reciting the entire alphabet for the last hour!? You couldn’t have told me first, could you? At least the rather random looking patterns are repeated consistently here. It also should’ve been clear from the start, that a corollary to Murphy’s Law demands, that I call this hotline on a Tuesday! But maybe this evil machine shifts office hours around, if I call tomorrow…who knows.

What I like even better about this last statement: it is exactly the same times for any of the five navigation options I was presented with! Yes, I’m sad to admit, I tried them all. Would you send me to the pyre for suggesting you put these office hours before the reciting the 26 books of the alphabet? I won’t dare to…

If you want to learn the German alphabet, I urge you to use this fantastic, free service of the “Hessisches Amt für Versorgung und Soziales Frankfurt am Main”. Simply call +49 69 15671 and have fun. I had tears in my eyes while listening to this fantastic piece of art!

Dear “Hessisches Amt für Versorgung und Soziales Frankfurt am Main”, I admire the organizational structure and customer friendliness you have created with this hotline. Should you, however, ever feel the urge to improve your organization even further, improve the efficiency of your processes even more and target your service even better to the customer, my company and me will be glad to help. Just call us: www.dreimannzelt.com/contact. I promise you, that we will not recite the entire alphabet at the other end of the line. In fact, I will even offer you our consulting services for free! Please call!

And now I ask you to excuse me — I can’t resist to dial +49 69 15671 again…

Written by

Agile Coach, Business Innovator, Software Engineer, Musician

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store