My New Canadian Overlords…

I’m finally feeling some ground beneath my feet in St. John’s, NL, after a long summer of packing, moving, and a bunch of hiccups along the way. Brad and I made our way to St. John’s, only to spend the first couple of weeks without any furniture, save a bed and a table in the kitchen. (The moving company missed its deadline by a couple of weeks, and my stuff is not expected until after classes begin next week. My books, my computer and supplies, etc., are all making their way slowly and painfully across the continent.)

Some notes on life thus far:

1. My Canadian overlords are efficient. As opposed to supposed inefficiencies envisioned in US fantasies of Canada, I have spent the following amounts of time in line and completing transactionswith federal, provincial, and city bureaucracies: 20 minutes, work visa in St. John’s port of entry; 22 minutes in Toronto port of entry, student visa for Brad; 45 minutes,to NL drivers license, including sitting in line and waiting for final printed license to be handed to me; 3 minutes, city parking permit; 5 minutes in line and waiting to be handed printed MCP (government health) card; 18 minutes in line and waiting to be handed SIN (equivalent to U.S. social security) card.

In the U.S., federal, state, and local agencies are perennially underfunded, thus allowing for a repeated cycle of hated wait times that in turn lead to claims of inefficiency, and thus in turn to massive cuts in the public sector, such as those now choking off any hope of economic recovery in the U.S.

In NL, you certainly don’t want to deal with the private bureaucracies. Thank you, hated Rogers. I only called you three weeks before arriving to order my cellular, home internet, and television service. You managed to screw up all three, and then shifted me from one department to another, each time asking me my customer phone number that I didn’t have since it was in the paperwork with the phone you never delivered. And that in turn made each introduction to a new representative (thanks for always moving me to a new rep. and never introducing even when I begged you to…) take a long twenty minutes while you tried to find my customer information, before I would then explain my situation, and then you would shift me again.

Thanks for that day spent on my U.S. cell phone being charged who-knows-what for using your network to call you in Canada. I’m sure it wasn’t worth a dime of it. But the upshot: your service is said by everyone to suck and by not getting me my phone, I was able just to go to my local Bell Alliant and have a phone in about ten minutes.

But why are you still charging me for the phone service for a phone you took off my account after not delivering it? Does this mean I’ll spend another day on the phone with you? I warn you: I don’t know my customer service phone number.




  1. just moved to canada myself and agree on both points – fast bureaucracies but Rogers sucks. Canada is one of the few first world countries where phone service is worse than the US…

    1. Ben—where are you now? I’d also mention that living without ( is a poor mimesis) is a petty inconvenience as well.

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