back to article Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience

I've got myself stuck in a ring. Yes, again. Medical assistance may be required. What I need is a Doctor of Logic because I am frequently trapped into closed loops of nonsensical barmpottery as I tiptoe between the narrow electrified fences that define the path of hot coals risibly referred to as "customer experience". Here's …

  1. TonyJ Silver badge

    This requirement for paper bills/statements...

    ...is also becoming ever more challenging.

    "We need a paper bill from <insert utility/bank>"

    "But it's all online now and to save paper they don't send printed copies unless I pay for the privilege...and it'll take days, if not weeks"

    "We need a paper bill..."

    <sigh>

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      's funny.

      I moved house on August 23rd. And though there's been lots of hassle, things that need expensive fixing, etc, I only recollect the 'proof of address' red tape featuring once[1]: Royal Mail needed proof of the old address to set up redirection.

      My main problem with the usual proof of address nonsense is that with electronic billing I don't have the bits of paper they want.

      [1] That is, once since the move. Various people like my solicitor needed it before the move.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Ah, but you aren't moving to a new address in France. Everyone wants proof of address, and woe betide you if the electricity bill is in the name of "Phil", and your official ID says "Philip", clearly not the same person...

        1. Graham Newton

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          I got that here in the UK. My house is called The White House, 'cos it's white. However further proof of address was required from my bank because on the bill it said The Whitehouse which was different. The other three lines including the house number were identical.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            IIRC, if you have a number the house name is not the official address in the Royal Mail DB (or so I was told a long time ago)

            1. Graham Newton

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              That may be so but I find if I leave the house name off stuff gets delivered to the mansion house round the corner that has been converted to flats.

              1. JetSetJim Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                I always wondered what was at 1598 Pennsylvania Av..

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              "the official address in the Royal Mail DB"

              When we moved into what had been my parents' house we'd get stuff addressed with a name that only had 50% agreement with the name that had been carved in 6" high stone letters beside the gate for the last 30 years or so. It turned out that PAF had always had this incorrect variation. I wondered what the procedure was for getting it corrected. No problem, just call them up, no checks or anything. That was nearly 20 years ago so things are probably a bit different now although I suppose I could always refer them to the Streetview image.

              At one time the house across the road had a nameplate on the gate and one on the house with different spellings.

              1. Chronos Silver badge

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                Try it in Welsh. A few miles down the road from here is a village. It's Ffynnongroyw at one end and Ffynnongroew at the other. Now I'm wondering where the demarcation line is for the two and if the people in the middle get locked up for identity theft just because one letter doesn't match on their bills.

                Isn't modern life just wonderful?

                1. drawoC esuomynonA

                  Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                  I'm down the road from there myself, have been passing it for years but never noticed that before!!

                  Unfortunately this little fact may now be the cause of an accident as I crane my neck around trying to read the signs as I drive past!

              2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                There is a district of Bangkok that is labeled Kae Lay at one end and Kae Rai at the other, with the same difference in Thai. Admittedly, R and L sound very close in spoken Thai.

          2. Michael Maxwell

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            I once lived at the address 320 Sugar Hill Drive. Or was it 320 Sugarhill Drive? I never knew, because the street sign at one end said the one, and the street sign at the other end said the other.

            But the bills still came to our mailbox.

            1. JetSetJim Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              The road I currently live in has both variants of its name at both ends of the road (one on each side of the entrance to the road), so the council has covered all bets.

              The Land Registry price paid data database only lists mine with a space, though, so I guess that's my definitive answer

        2. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          Neither are you, having seen your posts on El Reg, please no, I'd like to keep a english channel's width away from you at minimum.

          To op, In France you just need a edf bill, and everyone else accepts that. Edf will take money from anyone when they issue the account on proof of house ownership or proof you are renting the property and you won't get electricity without a edf connection. That's fact, not ranting from a fake news provider.

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Absolutely true, so i don't understand the down-votes. I worked for EDF and we did not check or care who was on the bill, as long as the bills got paid. It is not proof that the person named on the bill is at that address.

            1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              Of course, any body can settle any bill it is true everywhere.

              But unless you have a bill with your name on it, for a given address, how can you prove that you live at that address? And paying for a bill will not get your name automatically set to the next bill.

              1. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                You ring EDF up, tell them the meter supply number on the tag and tell them you moved in, then they send you some forms to fill in and ask for some periphery evidence that you should have, and bingo, the bill arrives in the name of the new account holder. Magic. And if you don't do this, the account ceases and the electrons stop visiting you because the EDF peeps come and pull the main fuse outside the property if your still on bakelite meters and bits of twisted wires for fuses between poles nailed to a piece of wood era French electrics or turn the Linky off if you've been blessed with the snot avocado green box install.

                The only real caveat is that for the bill to be proof of other things, it has to have been issued in the last 3 months, so its even sort of evidence that you still are at that property (or at least they'll know where to find you if they need to).

                Now, if you need a NEW supply where there isn't a existing meter to take over, that's more fun and involves the dreaded consuel inspection. But I've done that too and its really just about making sure the install is safe and got a good ground, and conforms to wiring colours and specs etc.

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          name of "Phil", and your official ID says "Philip"

          It's even worse if you use a shortened version of your middle name and don't use your legal first name at all.

          Fortunately, my employer understands the concept of "preferred name".

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            I don't think banks understand this concept at all - I once tried to pay in a cheque with "Pete Surname" rather than "Peter Surname" and got rejected :(

        4. Stork Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          Portugal is obviously more relaxed. Mind you, we are not sure if all the posties can read,.we now and then get other people's mail. Mainly electrify bills

      2. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        I moved house on Aug 6th, Royal Mail redirection was established online, and didn't need any proofs as I recall (but my memory is particularly shonky).

        Fill in the online change of drivers license / car registration details, wait a week, then use that at all the banks. Not a problem. Then wait for all the redirects to come in and change them as you go.

        The main ball-ache for me was switching utilities as the people who'd been at the place before me have signed up to a really dodgy supplier (Enstroga) who refused to allow the swap unless I gave them my bank details. Reading loads of online reviews for them that said they happily took money from you without issuing bills, I decided against that and sicced the nice folks at the CAB onto them and now I've swapped out.

        More amusing now is I got a call from them asking me for all the details (meter reads and dates) in an attempt to get me to pay over the phone - I'd already emailed them several times with the same information, so told them to go rummage and send me a bill. Not heard a peep in nearly a month now...

        1. Hopalong

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          If I remember correctly, when setting up a post redirect online, the payment card had to be registered to the old address you were redirecting from.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Ah - that might well be the case.

      3. D@v3

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        much like it seems everyone else around here, i moved house in August. Mostly without too much hassle. There have been a couple of 'prove your address' situations, most memorably, signing up to a new GP, who wouldn't accept my newly updated driving license as proof of address because 'lots of people don't bother to update them'. Fortunately, the nice people in local government are pretty quick to get council tax sorted out, and most places will accept one of their letters as a proof of address.

        The thing that really irked me was during the purchase, solicitors asking for 'original copies' of bank statements, which i haven't received for years. And don't get me started on 'certified' ID.....

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          like it seems everyone else around here, i moved house in August

          [Waves]

          I didn't. In fact, we haven't moved since 1997. I like not having a mortgage and have no desire to go back to having one..

          1. Nick Kew
            Flame

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Bah, humbug.

            OK for some of you, who bought property when it was at historic low prices in the mid-1990s.

            (Can you tell I'm bitter at having been out of the country at the time and so missed my generation's chance? My recent move - FTB at age 58).

        2. kmedcalf

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          What the heck is an "original copy"?

          Either it is the original or it is a copy. There is no such thing as an Original Copy, though one could have a copy of the original ...

      4. I Am Spartacus

        I have the opposite problem

        Next door to me, and one letter different in address but a different post code was a care home. Postie was intelligent and knew that post not for Mr and Mrs Spartacus went to the care home.

        I can't get this changed because Land Registry and Post Office have two different post codes, one of which is mine.

        Then the care home shutdown and postie retired. Our mail is now delivered by a man with a van and changes every third day. He has no idea that the letters are not for Castle Spartacus at all. The residents of the care home were there because they couldn't cope with such details things as change of address, so when they moved they just keep the mail coming through to us. The home is barricaded now, so all post comes to us.

        If you think its hard getting your own address changed, imagine how hard it is getting it changed for a care home and 30+ residents.

        The absolute worse was some years ago, when we had a repeated knocking on the door late at night. When the y refused to go away, I went down to see who it was expecting a child who had locked themselves out. I found six men in black suits, black ties and a coffin - "We've come for the body". I almost went full BOFH and gave them one for them to take away.

        1. Nick Kew
          Thumb Up

          Re: I have the opposite problem

          six men in black suits, black ties and a coffin - "We've come for the body"

          Sounds like a brilliant short film!

        2. gerdesj Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: I have the opposite problem

          Your district council will have a Street Name and Numbering department or similar. Get them to decide on your real address. They will then update the Post Office and inform the Land Registry etc.

    2. Filippo

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      Guys, ID cards are not that bad, and they really do fix a lot of practical problems. It's just a bit of paper that's actually designed to solve this kind of issue, unlike an electricity bill. Make them and get rid of this nonsense. I promise you, they don't become evil spying devices when you don't look at them.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        > I promise you, they don't become evil spying devices when you don't look at them.

        The do, however, become evil spying devices when a British politician is put in charge of deciding just what you can/can't/have to do with them. And then says "you must carry your papers at all times". And then says "you must present these papers on request by anyone with a modicum of authority to ensure you are entitled to do what you are trying to do"...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          Because your passport or driving license are much different? Do you really believe that in EU countries with ID cards people are continuously stopped and asked to show them???

          We no longer live in 1086, where most people rarely moved but when forced by starvation or war, and there was little or no need for them to show their identity when moving around, and local administrators knew them all, otherwise you needed to bring a couple of witnesses with you.

          Now people move much more and many services need to know who you are and if you are approved to obtain them even when they have no way to know you otherwise - just like customs or driving. ID cards solve this in a simple way - you are tracked anyway by the government every time you access government services - you just make your life more miserable in situations like this - catch-22 at its best.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Do you really believe that in EU countries with ID cards people are continuously stopped and asked to show them???

            Yes, yes they are. In certain circumstances you may even be required to leave it with a third-party.

            No probable cause or other protections, and everyone from the receptionist to the postman has gotten used to requesting it.

            I carry an expired ID that I use as a minor protest against such jobworths. In 10 years, 2 people noticed.

            1. Da Weezil

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              "I carry an expired ID that I use as a minor protest against such jobworths. In 10 years, 2 people noticed."

              But here in the UK, that would be seen as another nice revenue stream for issuae and obligatory periodic update of such a docuent, and you can be absolutley certain that producing an out of date ID would be an offence with the obligitory fine, probably all overseen by one of the govenrnents favourite contactors - yes they love OUR money.

              When they introduced the photocard driving licence they neglected to tell the populace that it had to be renewed every 10 years and of course an obligitory fee applies whereas the old paper one only needed updating if you changed address (excluding factors such as adding classes of vehicles) it was only the eagle eyed that noticed an rxpiry date on the photocard part - although the licence itself is valid till age 70 the photo ID aspect expires 10 years from issue.

              Its all just a scam - an "Identity tax" .

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                producing an out of date ID would be an offence with the obligitory fine

                For public servants and officers of the law that's fine to a certain extent.

                I rail against the private companies using official documents for purposes other than those for which it was designed.

            2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              ” Do you really believe that in EU countries with ID cards people are continuously stopped and asked to show them???

              Yes, yes they are. In certain circumstances you may even be required to leave it with a third-party“

              As a mainland EU citizen in 4 countries over the last 20 years, this is bollocks.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                Never tried to get onto a client site?

                Never tried to borrow an item of equipment?

                Never tried to book tickets to an event?

                YMMV of course, but that doesn't negate different experiences.

                I once had to scrape around for third-string ID as two forms were already being held by various people.

                1. Trygve Henriksen

                  Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                  This is bollocks.

                  By those companies, not what you wrote.

                  In many countries, you don't own your official ID papers. They're defined as Government Property. And you need government approval to hand them over like that. (Check your country's law on this, you may be surprised)

                  If any company or organisation demands to hold my ID, they can kiss my big, fat arse goodbye because I will turn around and march out of there.

                  To hold a passport, they must generally have a 'relevant use' reason, such as Visa approval work.

                  (The Russian Embassy may hold your passport for up to 4 weeks just for a one day Visa. )

                  Of course, many countries allow you to have a 'spare' passport for situations like that.

                  (In Norway, that passport has a validity of only 2 years. Also handy if you plan to visit both Iran and Israel... )

                  There's generally no 'relevant use' for holding a normal ID card or a Driver's License.

                  And some picture IDs I wouldn't let anyone hold, ever.

                  (My VISA doubles as picture ID. Yup, mugshot on the back of the card )

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                    There's generally no 'relevant use' for holding a normal ID card or a Driver's License.

                    Standard practice in France.

                2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                  Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                  "Never tried to get onto a client site?

                  Never tried to borrow an item of equipment?

                  Never tried to book tickets to an event?"

                  These are all valid reasons for requesting to see your ID - not to keep it. Crucially, they're all events initiated by you; so you're not 'being continuously stopped and asked to show them', as you originally wrote.

                  Additionally your use of the word 'gotten' leads me to believe you're a USAian with an outdated and stereotypical view of the EU based on a book you once read called "Europe: There Be Dragons" rather than any actual personal experience.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                    Lots of wrong stuff.

                    A decade in France in a professional capacity. You want a temporary pass for a site? You give them your ID as a swap, and swap back when you leave.

                    Probably just France that's screwed (heavens knows enough other things are), but that is standard.

                    As I said previously (yes, I'm that AC) I usually give them an expired ID as a minor protest.

                    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                      ” You want a temporary pass for a site? You give them your ID as a swap, and swap back when you leave.“

                      No chance. Unless you’re talking about a company-issued ID (which you’re clearly not), It’s flat-out illegal to do this.

                      And this still doesn’t mean you’re being stopped and asked for it, does it?

                    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                      Interestingly I was in the US last week and there I WAS required to leave a government ID at the front desk - when I went to visit a museum and wanted to go to the gift shop without buying a full ticket.

                      So in the US this is clearly a thing - I guess Europe just has a few more legal safeguards than you guys Stateside.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            "Because your passport or driving license are much different?"

            I don't have a current passport and it's only relatively recently that I had to change the old paper driving licence for a photo card. For decades that paper licence had an address c/o my parents. In fact if I'd held out on changing it for a few years after we moved back to England it would have become current again.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "change the old paper driving licence for a photo card."

              Sure, all we understand Britons thinking "hey, what is this new photo thing? It was just invented in 1839, let's wait for it to become a real thing"... people abroad always laugh at the inability of a lot of things in Britain to keep up with the times...

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: "change the old paper driving licence for a photo card."

                More a case of CBA with the additional faff of getting a suitable photo and paperwork in general.

              2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: "change the old paper driving licence for a photo card."

                ” people abroad always laugh at the inability of a lot of things in Britain to keep up with the times... ”

                Donald Trump, is that you?

                1. CRConrad

                  Donald Trump?

                  No, it's Europe.

              3. Wicked Witch

                Re: "change the old paper driving licence for a photo card."

                If you managed to hang onto an old paper one you didn't need to pay to renew it.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          ensure you are entitled to do what you are trying to do

          This is the primary difference between the British legal system and a lot of the Continental ones (mostly derived from the Napoleonic Code).

          In the British code, anything not specifically made illegal is legal.

          In the Continental Code, unless something is specifically illegal, it can be deemed to be illegal.

          Of course, our current government is trying very hard to change that..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Try to put your nose outside Britain for a while, you'll discover the XIX century is well over on the Continent too... especially after WWII, most European Constitutions protect citizens rights no less than in Britain.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              "most European Constitutions protect citizens rights no less than in Britain."

              Only on paper as referring to Constitution in Court is automatic loss in practise. It's literally dead legislation at all levels of Courts. Thoroughly irrelevant as law.

              At least here in North. Has been several decades now.

          2. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            "In the Continental Code, unless something is specifically illegal, it can be deemed to be illegal."

            Source please!!! I'm getting totally fed up with folk posting that statement here fairly regularly. As I mentioned before I'm not a lawyer but I'm familiar enough with Dutch law (elements of which are based on the Code Napoleon, as in various other countries) to be able to say that this is total flipping codswallop.

            I've asked others claiming the same nonsense here before to provide a source - all of them have failed to do so. So please let me know what you base your statement on.

            PS: Regards & meow to the cats.

          3. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            In the Continental Code, unless something is specifically illegal, it can be deemed to be illegal.

            Do you mean each country in continental Europe has a law allowing walking, sneezing, and so on, and every time someone is charged with an offence, it's the offence of "breaking the law by doing something not on the list of allowed things"?

          4. smudge Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            This is the primary difference between the British legal system and a lot of the Continental ones (mostly derived from the Napoleonic Code).

            In the British code, anything not specifically made illegal is legal.

            There is no such thing as "the British legal system" or "the British code".

            Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England & Wales (together) each have their own legal system - three in all.

            I don't know about NI, but I do know that Scots Law was historically based, in common with many of the legal systems in contentental Europe, on Roman law. England, of course, had to be different, and evolved its own "common law".

            IANAL, but my Mum - who wasn't either, but did work in a legal office in Scotland - once explained to me that court cases in the English system tend to be very adverserial - ie very much one side versus the other - whereas the approach in Scottish courts, although of course having two sides, is more to try to establish the truth, or what happened, and so arrive at a verdict that way.

            Scottish courts also see no one as being above the law, see everything as within their remit, and really do try to see fair play, as evidenced by the two recent cases against the government, one saying "of course they misled the Queen into suspending Parliament", and the other, ongoing, in which they are ready to jump on Johnson if he doesn't write the letter requesting a Brexit extension (if it is required).

            English law and English Courts, in contrast, are a f***ing mess :)

          5. imdatsolak

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Actually, the difference is that on the Continent we have the so-called "Roman System" whereas in UK/USA you have the Anglo-Saxon System.

            The Roman System includes lots of basic laws such as a Written Constitution, on which usually everything is based. Next, you have a Civil Code (which you may call the "Napoleonic Code"), which clarifies a lot of things between the people. So, in Germany, theoretically, if you want to setup a contract between two parties the contract can be as short as 1/2 page because everything else is clarified in the Civil Code to which you can refer.

            Next come the Commercial Code, Criminal Code, and so on.

            The Criminal Code defines what you are NOT allowed to do and what will happen if you do it anyway (e.g. go to jail).

            There is no such thing as things to have to be "allowed" to be not forbidden. The difference between Anglo-Saxon and Roman Legal System is that in the Roman System you have existing Laws that we refer to (and to a lesser extent to precedent), in the Anglo-Saxon System you refer primarily to precedent.

        3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          @ JetSetJim - in the UK, if you are in a vehicle then the cops can require you to prove identity. Not just the driver.

          The UK civil service wanted an ID card. It's a very unpopular concept. So in true Sir Humphrey manner, ID is not required, except for purchasing booze, cigarettes, driving, using public transport, opening a bank account, renting property, get a job etc etc.

          So in practice the UK has ID cards, but not explicitly. In the same way the UK police are armed, but only voluntarily.

          In Belgium you need an ID card to buy booze and fags from vending machines. Which is surprisingly convenient at times :D

          1. Da Weezil

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            "purchasing booze, cigarettes, driving, using public transport, opening a bank account, renting property, get a job etc etc."

            Im not sure where you live but it doesnt seem to be in the same UK as me.

            You are NOT required by any law to carry your licence or indeed any form of ID when driving - and while the Police can ask for passenger ID - this would only usually be the case where there is a strong suspicion that the occupants of the vehicle had been involved in a particular offence, certainly I have not had any issues with roadside checks nor have my passengers.

            Lasty month we purchased train tickets with cash for a weekend trip where I didnt want to drive and have thew hassle of parking, no ID required, and I have never had a bus driver demand "Ausweis Bitte" when paying my fare on on of my infrequent bus journeys so no NOT equired to use public transport.

            Regularly pick up beer for a quiet evening at home and smokes for my disabled sister. No ID demanded and its not like I always go to the same place.

            Landlord has never seen any ID for me and only recently started getting paid by Direct Debit rather than me popping it into his bank. It seems anyone can withdraw on a transfer order - even with the wrong name - but now - no one must ever pay into your account without chapter and verse of thier lives. Shows where thier priorities are all backwards!

            1. Nifty

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              This reminds me of the Munich nudists travelling to the 'Englischer Garten' in the summer. They use the tram. Nowhere to keep an 'Ausweiss'.

          2. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            @ JetSetJim - in the UK, if you are in a vehicle then the cops can require you to prove identity. Not just the driver.

            Cobblers. You may be requested to present ID, but as a passenger I doubt you're under any obligation to comply

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Nice try Jacqui Smith.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Sounds nice, but around here you need a stack of those bits of paper to get one ID card.

        Seriously, you need less documentation to get a US passport or a job than to get a driver's license in Arizona.

      4. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        As its name implies, an ID card is a proof of identity, not of address, as they are not changed when you move houses. Over my life, my ID cards or passports have probably shown my current address less than 50% of the time.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          In Germany, it is a proof of identity and residence.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            "residence" presumably means "resident in Germany", not "resident at 123 Anystrasse".

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

              Full address is on the rear of the card.

              1. imdatsolak

                Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

                And you have about 10 days after moving to update that address. Otherwise they may fine you. But, of course, you can always say: "I just moved in yesterday". It is, AFAIK, about when you actually physically moved in into the new location.

        2. Da Weezil

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          You can be certain that the UK government would insist on current address and charge a fee for updating it if you moved.

      5. big_D Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        I finally got my ID card a few months back, after 18 years of living in Germany. Now I only have to carry around my ID card, not my passport and proof of residence (the benefits of dual nationality).

        The ID card is very useful when collecting parcels or signing up for new contracts, utility changes etc. No fuss, no muss.

      6. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        ID cards are fine in places like France or Spain where I live but in the UK they would rapidly become an abused millstone around the necks of the British people.

        Also when I tried to get my name taken off the deeds to the house I lived in twenty years ago in the UK, it was a nightmare. The courts had failed to log my passing the house over to.my ex at the time of the divorce, in the following twenty years they had also mamnaged to lose one or two other bits and pieces.

        Cue thirteen months of paper based hoop jumping because in Spain everyone has got their act together on bills and identity but nothing any kind of official in the UK would recognise, even I was doubting my identity after a while.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "but in the UK they would rapidly become an abused millstone"

          You mean UK is an inherently authoritarian country led by wannabe dictators? Without a system of check and balances to avoid it? It seems you have far bigger and basic problems than an ID card. Maybe you should fix them - but it looks you're just making them bigger.

      7. batfink Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Until the time comes to change the address on your ID card...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          Usually, go to the city office with your old card, maybe they can ask you a rent contract or a property one, and they will issues a new one, with the new address.

          Anyway most utilities will sell you services even with your old card - the only issue may be if they have different tariffs for resident/not resident, so you may also need a proof of residence, which you can request from the city office as well.

      8. dajames Silver badge

        ID Cards

        I promise you, they don't become evil spying devices when you don't look at them.

        No, obviously, any ID Card worth its salt is quite capable of becoming an evil spying device even if someone is looking at it. In fact that's sort-of the point.

        People tend to trust an ID Card. If you can obtain a plausible looking fake with your photo and someone else's name you will be able to persuade most people that you are that person. They won't think about it -- it's an ID Card, it must be true. This actually makes fraud easier than it is at present because if all you have to present to prove your identity is an electricity bill there is some chance that someone may actually check it, or ask to see another bill as well. If all you have to forge is an ID Card there will be people who can knock off a very plausible fake very easily and the whole system will quickly become worthless.

        ... but the real problem isn't that. The real problem is that the checks in place to ensure that a real ID Card can only be issued to the person it is intended to identify are either insufficiently secure or excessively expensive (depending on the approach taken) ... and will probably require presentation of an electricity bill.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "If you can obtain a plausible looking fake"

          It's far more difficult and expensive than you think. Old paper ones were specially printed on special paper just like banknotes are. The ID number can be checked with government records.

          The new ones with a chip - just like credit cards - are even more difficult to fake.

          While faking some utilities bill is far easier. Identity stealing is mostly unheard of in country with an ID card system - it's far more difficult to impersonate someone else - sure, big criminals with enough resources can attempt if, but the average crook usually can't.

          Also, no way records could be destroyed and people left without a proof they aren't legal citizens, as it happened in UK.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: "If you can obtain a plausible looking fake"

            It's far more difficult and expensive than you think. Old paper ones were specially printed on special paper just like banknotes are. The ID number can be checked with government records.

            The new ones with a chip - just like credit cards - are even more difficult to fake.

            It's difficult to produce a perfect copy that would fool an official who knows what a genuine ID should look like (and what variation there may be in the appearance of genuine cards) and has the reader for the chip, etc.. That doesn't mean that it isn't within the means of a reasonably clued-up crook to make an ID that will pass casual inspection by members of the public.

            In you need the ID Card to (say) demonstrate your identity when buying something (maybe something like alcohol, for which an age limit applies, or something under a hire/rental agreement) the seller wants your money and won't take too much time over checks. It becomes a box-ticking exercise ("Yes, I checked his ID Card. How was I supposed to know it wasn't genuine?").

            Also, no way records could be destroyed and people left without a proof they aren't legal citizens, as it happened in UK.

            If records can be destroyed then records can be destroyed. That has nothing to do with the use (or not) of ID Cards. You might hope that records of ID Card issuance would be kept, but you'd hope that records of residence would have been kept as well.

          2. Trollslayer Silver badge

            Re: "If you can obtain a plausible looking fake"

            But who checks the chip on the card unless you are going into an official building e.g. police station?

            It isn't practical on the street etc.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      Not always. Most companies will usually accept a PDF invoice downloaded from a utility supplier, plus a copy of your passport. I have just had this issue for a holiday rental next year where they wanted proof of UK residence. Unfortunately I use EDF for electricity, so their immediate response was "but this is a French company and I thought you are in England".

    4. englishr
      Mushroom

      Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

      I can highly recommend the classic text adventure Bureaucracy (written by Douglas Adams) where the goal of the game is to have your bank recognise your change of address without having an aneurysm from elevated blood pressure.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureaucracy_(video_game)

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

        Both my banks were trivial: just tell them online and they update my details.

        1. James 139

          Re: Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

          I thought changing my address with my bank was easy.

          Until it turned out they had ballsed things up, for no reason that anyone can explain nor has any rational reason.

          Went into the branch, Lloyds, because doing it online requires you to print out a form and post it off, changed address, got given printed acknowledgement, sorted.

          Wait a bit.

          Get new credit card, due to expiry, and I had gained an extra middle name!

          Some how, some random buffoon had managed to duplicate my existing middle name, so I had it twice!

          This change had proceeded to replicate to one of the other banks in the group, Halifax, incidentally the one that had sent me a new card.

          Couldn't change the details with Halifax because "i wasn't set up for phone banking".

          Went back into Lloyds who fixed it, which was the point I discovered it was duplicated, everything until now just had an initial. Gave up on Halifax and just left the card to expire.

          Some months after it was fixed, Lloyds sent me a replacement card STILL with the extra initial on it.

          Let that one expire too.

          Problem now gone, apparently the credit card departments dont get updates from the banking department except when its to propagate mistakes.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

          I originally thought mine was trivial.

          Did the forms, and my statements started arriving at the right address. Registered for online banking and the secret code generator box arrived.

          A couple of years later when my debit card was due to expire...

          They sent the new one to my old address. Along with the new PIN.

          So I closed the account. HSBC, I'll never use you again for anything.

      2. magickmark
        Thumb Up

        Re: Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

        Bugger beat me to it!!!

        But to add to this you can get a copy here:

        https://www.myabandonware.com/game/bureaucracy-a9

        And on Gethub here:

        https://github.com/historicalsource/bureaucracy

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Bureaucracy: Infocom text adventure

        "The bank finally sent a letter apologising for the inconvenience; naturally, it was sent to his old address."

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      That happens only when there are no ID cards - never ever had to exhibit a paper bill here....

      In countries with ID cards the card with your new address is all you need. And the city office will hand you a new one as soon as you register your new address with them.

      Keep on living as if the Domesday book was published yesterday, Britons...

      1. j.bourne
        FAIL

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        It would be a certainty in the UK that a prerequisite to register your new address for your ID card will be..

        ...

        Can you guess?

        ....

        Yes a Utility statement with your name and new address on it.

        How else do you prove that you are entitled to an ID card with that address?

      2. FeepingCreature

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        German here- when I moved, I just rented the new apartment, then went to the city office with a copy of the rental agreement and got registered as a local resident. Then they gave me a certificate of residence that I could use to prove I was living there.

        Not sure why you'd do it any other way.

        edit: Oh yeah, you don't even really need to keep it - for a nominal €5 fee, you can get a new one at any time.

        edit: And yes, you can do it online and get it mailed to you.

        1. Trollslayer Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          So with a rental agreement you can start a new identity?

          1. FeepingCreature

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            No, they transferred it from the previous place of residence.

      3. Nick Kew

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        And the city office will hand you a new one as soon as you register your new address with them.

        Now that you mention it, registering with the city office (or rather council, as we call it) was one of the more troublesome bits of bureaucracy in my move. Their website didn't work, and going into the office in person I took one look at the queue and walked back out.

        Only returned to the matter when I got a very aggressively-worded tax demand from the ******s.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          I believed Britons liked to spend their life in queues...

          1. Nick Kew

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            That's Post Offices.

            The Post Office is somewhere you go when you leave school, and reach the front of the queue just in time to collect your pension.

      4. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Because, as free-born Englishmen, we don't have to prove our identity to anyone.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          No, you just have to prove your residence to all and sundry time and time again.

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          Until we do.

        3. Trollslayer Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          So Englishwomen don't?

      5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        "And the city office will hand you a new one as soon as you register your new address with them."

        Apart from the fact that I don't live in a city it would be this registering my address with them that I would object to.

        They want to know who pays the council tax on a given property but that's a different matter - it doesn't even need to be the occupier. Even f they have an occupier named as the council tax payer they don't have to have the name of any other occupant of the house registered with them. Even voters' lists are optional.

        TL;DR No local govt. official has any right to know who I am or where I live.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Even voters' lists are optional."

          Sure, that helps to deny voting rights to people you don't like. Here it's impossible, once you are registered at an address you are automatically endowed to vote in such district, they will give you also your electoral card asserting that right.

          Anyway "city" in the context meant whatever jurisdiction you live in.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "Even voters' lists are optional."

            There's nothing that denies voting rights. It's simply that there are three separate issues here: voting, paying for local government services and local bureaucracy keeping tabs on everyone. They can be kept separate and we view the third as something not just entirely unnecessary but positively undesirable n a free society.

      6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        "Keep on living as if the Domesday book was published yesterday, Britons."

        You appear to have attempted to make some point about this twice, The only point you've made is that you're familiar with the date and correct spelling of the popular name but have no knowledge of the contents. BTW it was compiled in 1086 but published much later; there's an English translation with a dodgy index published in paperback by Penguin.

        What's quite clear was that in 1086 the great majority of the English (not British) population was not free. Here in the Danelaw things were a little better but not much. One consequence was that most people were not free to move from one manor to another except when, as seems to have happened in some cases, their lord actually moved them between is manors.

        It strikes me that that situation is very much akin to the notion of having to register your presence when you move to a new town. We got rid of that here. We relish that freedom. It's not we who are stuck with medieval practices but it seems that you're so habituated to them that you don't notice you're still subject to them. Just one of life's little ironies.

    6. big_D Silver badge

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      That is one of the things I like about Germany. When you move, you go down to the council offices, with your ID card (or passport for foreigners), a copy of the rental agreement or sale contract and register yourself at the new address.

      You get a piece of paper with your name, new address, an official council stamp and a signature. You ID card will be re-issued with the new address, but until that time, the piece of paper + old ID card are enough evidence for all concerned.

      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        So what guarantee do I have that the address shown on your ID card is still yours? For all I know, all it proves is that one day you were able to convince a city official that you lived there. As proofs of residence go, it's no better than a possibly doctored bill printout.

        It's all just CYA business anyway. Any certified proof of address would at least require a physical, in-situ check, and no one can be bothered with that.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          It is a legal document. If you move, you must register your new address. Failure to do so is a criminal offense.

          1. onemark03

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            No, it's only an administrative offence but it is still fined quite heavily.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          In some countries you may receive a visit from a city official to ensure the address you registered is really a habitable house. You can't register at a warehouse, for example, something that would be easy to do with a utility bill.

          A false declaration can put you in trouble. Anyway, in most countries I know you are not forced to live at that address. It's a "legal" address, nothing more. There could be anyway specific advantages (taxes, tariffs, etc.) for the house registered as the legal address.

          1. onemark03

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            True.

            In Italy and Belgium you get a visit from town hall officials who check that you actually do live where you said when you registered.

      2. onemark03

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Not quite.

        German citizens (who get a German ID card) who move house get an official sticker with their new address stuck over their old one. The ID card is re-issued only when it expires (like a passport). But I did get a certificate with my new address for my records.

        And for what it's worth, I didn't have to provide any documentary proof of my new address (like a bank statement or power bill) when I moved from my old address to my new one here in Germany. Maybe it's because I live in a smaller town (15,000 residents).

    7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      And one place wanted proof of ID so, having established that a driving license was, in fact, a valid proof of ID.

      So I proffered mine. The young thing[1] behind the desk asked for my real drivers license. I only have one and informed her that the bit of paper[2] she was holding was, in fact, my full and valid drivers license.

      "Aha!" she says "where's the picture then?".

      Fortunately there was also present someone born before this millenium that gently informed her that, in the very old days, licenses were just on paper and didn't have a plastic picture card with them.

      [1] In the old days I'd have said that she was on work experience.

      [2] Or, more accurately, the several bits of paper that my license has disintegrated into. That's what happens when it spends a lot of time in a motorbike jacket inside pocket..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

        Were your licenses also written with a quill on parchment?

        Here driving licenses had a photo on them more than 50 years ago already, and that's a country when you also have an ID card with another photo you could show with the license.

        Only problem the driving licenses were never replaced, so most people had a nice image of they late teens/early twenties on them, tens of years later... now the licenses car is replaced at each renewal.

        1. Psmo Bronze badge

          Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

          UK Photocard driving licences have been around for 20 years or so.

          Original driving licenses don't expire. If you haven't moved, you don't need a replacement, so you don't need to have a photocard.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

            Until you get to 70.

      2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At CrazyOldCatMan, re: paper license.

        I had a similar issue with my paper license. I solved it by going to the sporting goods store, buying a sealable plastic pouch normally designed for holding a fishing license. Slip the driver license inside, seal the zip strip, & keep that in your pocket. It kept my license nice & dry, protected from abuse, & most places didn't even need to take it out of the clear plastic pouch.

        Even after my department of motor vehicles forced a plastic card on me with my photo printed on it, the card was kept in the clear plastic pouch in my wallet. Sure it didn't really need the protection, but old habits die hard.

        Plus, if you want to have fun with someone, slip a holographic shim inside with a picture of an alien on it over your photo, so anyone looking through the clear plastic pouch gets to see Jabba the Hutt instead.

        =-)

    8. Blackjack

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      Yeah.

      There is a reason I still pay everything I can offline and with paper bills.

      Because I will inevitably need those paper bills as proof that I am actually paying my bills when a "problem" happens or ya know the service provider just gets greedy and wants me to pay twice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "just gets greedy and wants me to pay twice."

        Which usually means that paying with a system that gives you a receipt beyond the one from the service provider is better. It happened to me that "errors" happened, and I could show the back receipt about the transaction...

        1. Blackjack

          Re: "just gets greedy and wants me to pay twice."

          If you pay online do you get a legally valid receipt?

          1. kmedcalf

            Re: "just gets greedy and wants me to pay twice."

            Of course. The money had to come from somewhere and that somewhere will have a record that they took money from you and sent it to whomever it was sent.

        2. kmedcalf

          Re: "just gets greedy and wants me to pay twice."

          Had that happen to me once too. But we had proof of payment and told the "service provider" that there was a $500 record search fee for providing them with the information that they requested -- it was not our fault that their accounts system was so fucked up that it misplaced the payment. They should solve their own problems on their own. However, should they require a profession, we would be happy to provide services at $1000/hour to assist in sorting the issue. However, since they had no credit rating with us, they would have to pay for a minimum of 40 hours in advance, and work would commence only after we had verified that the payment had cleared the financial institution.

          This was of course accompanied by notification that if they continued to "charge interest" or otherwise took any action that interfered with the commercial contract in force contrary to the terms of that contract, that they could expect to be sued out of existence (and quite possibly have a Criminal complaint for fraud brought against them).

          In the end they had no way to prevent themselves from committing a crime other than to stop billing for about a year while they sorted the issue.

          They would have been better off paying the $500 records retrieval fee than giving a years free service.

    9. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: This requirement for paper bills/statements...

      I needed such a thing for a job interview recently, with HMRC. The best I could do was an unrelated missive from, HMRC telling me I needed to file a self employment tax return despite having earned precisely no funds from this activity. A nice human on the phone told me it was an error and to shred the letter. But I had a better use for it.

      I didn't get the job but I don't think it was because of that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Signed documents

    Had a similar experience like that, but luckily the energy company was eager to start charging as soon as possible and gave me a bill with the new address.

    Some of my university bureaucrats insist that some documents must be signed. No, you can't scribble a digital signature on the PDF you've just filled -- they mean signed with a pen. Yes, you need to print it and then sign on the paper. Then you must scan the document and e-mail it to them.

    I tried to cheat the system some times and digitally sign the PDF and send it, but the Authorities Responsible for Such Endeavors complained because the file was too tidy-looking, therefore wasn't printed-scribbled-scanned.

    Complains to point the utter stupidity of the process were answered by "we're following protocol".

    No one ever checks the signature to see if it is mine or anyone's else. I've signed some documents with different scribbles just to test it.

    I bet that in some places they print the document that was originally a PDF then printed-signed-scanned.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Signed documents

      I've literally signed (unimportant) documents with "Noonewillreadthis" and "Youarealltossers". Never heard a peep.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Signed documents

        I worked with a guy who used to sign all his credit card receipts (remember those) with things like Batman, Superman, Nelson Mandela, etc. He told me that, although it obviously didn't match the cards signature, he never had any rejection.

        Likewise, my brother had text on his card signature placeholder saying "Always ask for ID". He had to regularly remember shop assistants to do it...

        Yay for security, as that was the signature's presence on the card only purpose

        1. Morten_T
          Facepalm

          Re: Signed documents

          I was in the bank once long ago, where the lady tried to check my signature on the paper I had just signed against the signature on my card, to make sure the card was mine. The card was new, and I had forgotten to sign it. She then handed me a pen to sign the card, wherafter she took the card and checked the signature on the paper I had just signed against the signature on the card I had just signed. She was satisfied that they matched and proceeded with the transaction.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Signed documents

      I am in one of those situations, where we are required to collect signatures (and parts of passport numbers as proof-of-presence) and keep the forms for, oh, ten years or so.

      We probably could digitize the forms, but, erm, the relevant national authority has issued guidelines, and those have law enforcement chain-of-custody levels of red tape that might be a bit overkill for "yeah, we recognized that biro squiggle and therefore issued a TLS server certificate and then we scanned the document, with squiggle, and shredded the paper".

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Signed documents

      >> you can't scribble a digital signature on the PDF you've just filled

      I wrote about this a while ago but Adobe itself once rejected one of their NDA forms that I'd digitally signed and sent back to them. They insisted that for legal reasons, I had to print the PDF, complete it with a black pen, sign it and fax it back to them.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Signed documents

        Sign digitally, print, fax. Just because I can.

      2. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

        Re: Signed documents

        This was a legal thing way back. I wrote a LaTEX template once for a large bank in the UK, and it took the values filled in on a webform for a mortage application, and then presented a pre-filled in pdf to print out and sign and fax back.

        I asked and was told that the signature carried different weight in the law because it was a "live signature".

        If you got into home ownership misery from my work. Sorry. I just needed to pay my mortgage that month and works work :D

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Signed documents

        black pen? When I used to work with a university grants office, everything had to be printed in black-and-white and signed in blue ink, of course, that was back in the days before color laser printers.

    4. Filippo

      Re: Signed documents

      I've long ago understood and accepted that signatures never, ever get checked, unless and until somebody actively requires them to be checked. They are not an authentication device; they are an ass-covering device.

      Incidentally, if you think of bureaucracy as "liability engineering", the world suddenly makes a whole lot more sense.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Signed documents

        "I've long ago understood and accepted that signatures never, ever get checked, unless and until somebody actively requires them to be checked. They are not an authentication device; they are an ass-covering device."

        True, this is why I now have fun writing various doodles when the amazon delivery arrives and they want my signature on a 2 by 2 inch piece of slippery plastic.

        To be honest my pepper pig graffiti is probably more identifiable than any signature that I have managed on one of those things

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Signed documents

        Incidentally, if you think of bureaucracy as "liability engineering", the world suddenly makes a whole lot more sense.

        That is the smartest thing I've read all week. Shame I can only up-vote you once.

    5. mj.jam

      Re: Signed documents

      Typically I print just the signature page, sign that, take a photo on my phone, and send it back. Seems to be fine.

      Only one step removed from sending back a whole paper document with you signature on the last page and the freedom to change any of the others at any time.

      Why they think that a digital signature is less secure than this I have no idea.

    6. Moonunit
      Linux

      Re: Signed documents

      That printed-signed-scanned problem? A crucial forgotten document, distance (3500 miles!) and urgency pushed me into, err, creatively enhancing a bill of sale for a classic car that I moved from Canada into the US. I took pains to ensure that it looked like a pukka print of a faxed copy. It worked beautifully simply because it looked utterly genuine. Class job if I may say so myself!

      Now before anyone gets tetchy, the sale/purchase was legitimate ... I was simply dodging a potential seizure and disposal of said car by US customs because a relative of mine had forgotten the original document at home. Thank goodness for GIMP and freely-available noise on Teh Interwebs.

      Point? You can keep the Jobsworths happy if what they see more or less conforms to their worldview and expectations.

      Children, don't ever do this to defraud anyone. Or if your skills are ropey :-D

      Icon 'cos "Just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave!"

      I really, really need that coffee now ...

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Re: Eggmaster

    You might know it as "The Rollie".

    No need to buy one, just watch this product test video by Fafa & Mario (Glove and Boots).

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=TxaSnVVV-QU

    1. brotherelf
      Mushroom

      Re: Eggmaster

      I will forever be grateful to the eggmaster 4000, because it introduced me to the joy that is Uncle Bumblef*ck. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydwaz2oPWY0

      (Hey, there is an icon appropriately titled "eat this". Thank you, maybe not.)

    2. Outski
      Pint

      Re: Eggmaster

      "Thus the modern foodie is trapped in a never-ending loop of buying kitchen gadgets called Something Master that swiftly get stored under the sink with the rest."

      That was the whole point of Rhik's (highly entertaining) series of columns. The comments were a veritable smut- and punfest as well.

      Friday pint for Rhik ----------->

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    admit it

    "And so round and round we go, indefinitely, pointlessly, helplessly, until I take matters into my own hands and knock up a convincing "bill" in Adobe InDesign. If I didn't, I'd be trapped in the loop forever, without water, electricity, internet or a chequebook."

    Please, Dabsy, confess your sins. You moved to France.

    The above is the norm here (I'm in the same country) so you totally cheated the game !

  5. Franco Silver badge

    That egg master genuinely gave me the dry boak. I thought that eggs shaped like an ice hockey puck that McDonalds sell were bad, till I saw a turd shaped egg. On a fucking stick.

  6. Warm Braw Silver badge

    I just moved house..

    I moved house recently, personally without any great trouble, however the buyers of my previous flat became entrapped in money-laundering regulations enforced by their own solicitors as the funds were coming from their suspiciously-foreign parents. The bank statements they initially demanded were routinely provided in two languages (one of them being English), but they then requested official translations lest the language they did not understand failed to exactly match the English text, perhaps containing hidden messages of criminal intent. And then 25 years of statements to prove that the funds had been saved from earned income. No bank provides statements going back 25 years. The solution ultimately was to use a suspiciously-foreign solicitor who took a rather different view of the regulations.

    I now find myself acquiring the freehold to my new house and having to prove where the relatively small amount of money (less than a month's average salary) came from. Not just that I have it, that I might have had it for some time, but that I acquired it legitimately. It could, paradoxically, be easier to borrow the money I don't need and pay it back.

    None of these pointless procedures can achieve their desired effect since they would make it impossible for people to conduct their normal lives and are therefore routinely circumvented. However, it's good to know there's something that will remain a shared experience after Brexit.

    1. Nick Kew
      Pint

      Re: I just moved house..

      my new house ... (less than a month's average salary)

      Got any jobs going?

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: I just moved house..

        Perhaps it was one of those places where they flogged off houses for £1 each, provided you pledged to spend at least £10k doing it up (because it was stripped back to brickwork inside, in general, and had been derelict for years)

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: I just moved house..

        "my new house ... (less than a month's average salary)

        Got any jobs going?"

        Not the price of the house, but the price of the freehold (as distinct from the leasehold which was purchased earlier, probably for many years' average salary). Fairly specific to the UK. (Though in some cities in NL you may come across something similar with ground rent which you can pay off in perpetuity, or you can buy the ground outright.)

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: I just moved house..

        The cost of acquiring the freehold is less than a month's average salary. The prior cost of acquiring the leasehold was rather more significant. A complicating factor in proving the source of funds is I'm technically unemployed ("early retirement" is merely a euphemism)!

  7. RAMstein

    Headline writers:

    It's 'Infinite Loop' if you are going to drag Apple into it for the clicks.

  8. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    illogc

    That's right, much in the same way that in order to unsubscribe from something you'd instinctively click on SUBSCRIBE

    Or to shut down your computer, you click on "Start"

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: illogc

      Yeah, but you're starting to shut it down with that click

  9. jmch Silver badge
    Trollface

    Opposite button labelling

    "t turns out that in order to deregister yourself, you click on a tab labelled REGISTER.

    That's right, much in the same way that in order to unsubscribe from something you'd instinctively click on SUBSCRIBE, or in order to purchase something you'd click on SELL, or if you wanted to sit down you'd click on JUMP."

    Or like if you want to shut down your computer you click START?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Opposite button labelling

      hah, great minds & all that :)

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Opposite button labelling

      "Or like if you want to shut down your computer you click START?"

      No, I click on the little blues square that has a K and 3/4 of a gear wheel on it. Or type in shutdown -h -now.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Opposite button labelling

        missing the boat... the start menu was meant to start programs and applications. I think the shutdown or log off was an after thought, ah, heck just bolt it on the start menu... Kind of like security, it was an afterthought...

      2. alisonken1
        Thumb Up

        Re: Opposite button labelling

        Or - in my case - right-click on the background and the "Leave ->" option pops up, which then changes the screen to the familiar menu that you can find from clicking on the blue 'K' (which for me, is actually a white 'f' on a blue background), followed by selecting the 'Leave ->' icon on the top menu bar, followed by the screen.

        Nice thing to have more than one way to get around.

    3. j.bourne
      Holmes

      Re: Opposite button labelling

      Well that is no surprise. What else does the start button do? You can't see it until the computer is started. Besides, these days it's just 4 not quite squares in a not quite square, and no longer labelled. Maybe time to update to a more modern system?

    4. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Opposite button labelling

      Or turn the car engine off with the ignition key?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Opposite button labelling

        Or turn the key in the lock to open the door.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opposite button labelling

      "Register?" Oh! I'll have to try that. A contracting/job search site has my old address buried deep within its guts somewhere. And it only seems to be accessible to the headhunters who call me about jobs near where I *used to live*. I've tried several times to locate and remove the old information but it seems to be inaccessible to me. On the other hand, the bogus information has resulted in many a pleasant conversation with headhunters regarding the traffic problems around here that are why I would never consider myself a candidate for the roles they're hawking.

  10. Nick Kew
    Holmes

    Turn it off and on again

    I uninstalled garage band (ugh) long ago from the macbook.

    Earlier this week, as I updated some apps, the app store suggested reinstalling it. No thanks. But if for some bizarre reason you want it, why not try the app equivalent of turn it off and on again?

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Turn it off and on again

      garageband on the mac is ...not good. Bizarrely the iOS version is rather good.

  11. Czrly

    Also standards, frameworks and programming languages...

    ... the designers of these never seem to be able to learn or remember the lessons of the past and so round and round we go: build something moderately usable, discover limitations and problems, learn from them, fix them, become common-place, normal, useful and "uncool" for reasons, get replaced by someone "enthusiastic" who only used the version after the fixes and never learned the lessons --> return to square one.

    And systemd. And user interface design. And graphics design. It's all a bloody great, repetitive cycle.

    I've got nothing against having stuff that's sub-optimal, honestly. I just get really angry when it is sub-optimal in ways for which the solution is already well known, tried, tested, proven and was already working in the version n-1.

    Don't even get me started on GitLab's changes to the merge-request user interface and recent "improvements" they've made to it. Or Windows and the start menu.

    Or Rust and Cargo -- two things I love to hate.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Garageband

    Interesting.

    My copy of Garageband has been all 64 bits for months and months. I just checked this on a laptop that hasn't been updated since January 2019. It is so old, it won't run Catalina anyway.

    Plus, no Apple software was listed when looking under 'Legacy Software' in the System Report.

    Not if you had complained about Adobe then I'd be on your side. Their Update Notifier (and other bits) is still 32bit and is dated from Feb 2019. Some 32bit parts of Lightroom are dated Aug 2019.

    We should be really be taking Adobe to task.

  13. Andy Non Silver badge
    FAIL

    Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

    Due to incompetence by solicitors (they mislaid the money for the purchase of our house!) our move was arranged completely at the last minute. Halifax blocked my direct bank transfer to the removals company as suspicious. The transaction had to be done by 5pm or we would lose our removals slot and the chain would collapse or and leave us in a legal mess. Had to speak to their security moron on the phone who didn't believe it was me. Had to drive like a maniac to the rarity of a Halifax branch on the high street with proof of ID etc. Transaction finally went through before 5pm.

    Phoned Halifax house insurance on the day of the move to change address. They claimed it would automatically update our address for our Halifax current account, savings accounts, ISA's etc. Nope spent the next six months battling with Halifax as they kept sending letters and statements to our old address. I ended up having three complaints against the Halifax upheld by the Halifax themselves due to their incompetence. We've now switched bank.

    Sainsbury's bank were as almost as bad. They wouldn't accept a letter as proof of change of address. Fair enough, but they also refused to accept change of address via their secure online message facility. Considering I had full access to drain all our savings this restriction seemed quite daft. Ended up doing just that and moving our savings elsewhere. I imagine Sainsbury's are even now, still sending statements for our balance of £0 to our old address.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

      Wrote about this myself recently. When my car insurance renewed I was sent the documents via post, which were then returned to the insurance company. Instead of calling me or emailing me (which was considered a perfectly valid way of informing me that the insurance had been renewed) they wrote to me, accusing me of moving house without telling them and so invalidating the policy, and SENT IT TO THE ADDRESS THEY THOUGHT I DIDN'T LIVE AT ANYMORE.

      I was required to provide proof of address to stop them cancelling my policy (which I would happily have done for their incompetence, but this has to be disclosed and puts premiums up) and then they went in another huff when I sent them back the insurance schedule that they re-sent to me as proof of address. Apparently the fact that I received it at the second attempt didn't count as proof thet I lived there....

    2. cosymart
      Flame

      Re: Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

      Halifax seems to have a preference for employing the odd wa****r My mother suffered from dementia so I took out a power of attorney so that I could look after her finances. The solicitors gave me the original power of attorney and some stamped/authorised copies. The local Halifax branch nominated power of attorney wonk decided that the duly authorised copies weren't good enough for him and demanded to see the original as "it looks and feels different". I asked if I had to use this branch or would any branch be OK? He said that any branch would be able to set up the changes, so with that I told him to get stuffed and went to the next nearest branch and got everything sorted in 10 minutes.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

        I hope you moved the account(s) to that branch as well, most branches hate to loose accounts.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

          "most branches hate to lose accounts."

          There never seems to be any sign of that in their behaviour. We, on the other hand, hate to lose branches.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

      The amazing thing is that financing house moves is the building societies business. You'd thank that getting it right first time every time would be expected of them. Why should this involving changes of address appear to have taken them by surprise.

    4. Trollslayer Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Halifax were a nightmare when we moved.

      I was with Halifax for about thirty years until they turned into a comedy bank.

      Seriously - adverts with old cartoons to catch gullible pensioners?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the "Eggmaster" has a low heat setting I think I can guess how they came up with the idea.

  15. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    It's a Kafkaesque situation.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      You want Kafka? I give you Kafka.

      You move from abroad, to work in the UK. You stay in a hotel for the time being until you find a suitable place to live more permanently. You get your paycheck. To cash your paycheck you need a bank account. To open a bank account you need a UK address. To rent a place you need to pay a deposit. To pay the deposit you need a bank account. To open a bank account....

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: You want Kafka? I give you Kafka.

        You have my sympathy (though couldn't you use a bank account from your home country to bootstrap?).

        It was bad enough returning from my six years in Italy: I didn't exist as far as bureaucracy was concerned. Fortunately I had an existing UK bank account from before I left, and found a lettings agent who was non-jobsworth enough to accept various evidence of my recent time abroad. But getting a 'phone contract was a true nightmare!

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "And so round and round we go, indefinitely, pointlessly, helplessly, until I take matters into my own hands and knock up a convincing "bill" in Adobe InDesign."

    I had a couple of clients in the digital print industry. One dealt with security printing. Base stock (i.e. the stuff with all the logos, security background etc.) was printed on-site and any unused header or trailer securely shredded so no blank base stock ever left site. Visiting the other site I noticed a big paper recycling bin in the corner of the car park with blank base stock trailing out of it. Quite useful amounts of that could easily have gone missing. Not only would it not require faffing about with InDesign, it would have been the genuine article. That site printed bills for for several utilities.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      A company I once worked for had a contract to make the staff uniforms for Midland Bank; the ones with the Griffin logo all over them. Once a month someone from a local market store used to visit and buy rolls ends of fabric to sell on his stall. There was quite a ruckus when a Midland Bank manager discovered genuine Midland bank logoed fabric for sale on a market stall.

  17. EmilPer.

    proof of address and why I love HMRS

    "they demand a proof of your new address. This turns out to be closed loop."

    was caught in this while livingin in London: can't rent officially without a bank account, can't get a bank account without an address, can't get paid without a bank account

    I phoned HMRS and asked them to send my tax details to the new address which they did and this unlocked everything because I could use their letter as a proof of address, so I could make my contract official, get a bank account etc.

    It would have worked as well if the employer had sent a letter to my address with the work contract but the HR person told me they wanted a proof of address too and they only sent it by email, which I printed then was treated like I was a potential criminal by the banks etc. until I got the HMRS letter.

    1. Buzzword
      Facepalm

      Re: proof of address and why I love HMRS

      The Historical Model Railway Society? I'm not sure they could help.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: proof of address and why I love HMRS

        No I think they meant

        The Hierarchical Moped Robbery Society - they definitely don't split opinion when it comes to Customer Experience!

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: proof of address and why I love HMRS

          When I get me moped out on the road

          I'm gonna ride, ride, ride!

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: proof of address and why I love HMRS

            Is that you again Carrot?

  18. Alister Silver badge

    Proof of address

    Had a similar runaround when my ex-wife died. We had been divorced for more that ten years, but as the surviving parent of our children it was up to me to sort out the resulting mess (she was single when she died). However, trying to prove that I had any right to be managing her affairs was a nightmare, the usual proof of address wasn't much help, as I haven't lived at her address for years, and she had reverted to her maiden name.

  19. EastFinchleyite

    Old Spanish Customs

    I had a surreal experience trying to shut down a telephone line account in Spain. My parents no longer lived at the apartment and the fixed line was no longer needed. I phoned the Telefonica service line to shut down the account and they informed that because the account included a rented telephone I had to take said piece of equipment to the nearby Telefonica phone store. The apartment phone line had been taken over from the previous owner and all we had was a boring old Sagem phone. .They gave me the address of the store.

    The phone store I was directed towards had been shut for more than a year. I found that out from the owner of the shop next door who had become used seeing lost souls clutching ancient telephones staring forlornly into the blank spaces behind the window. More importantly he informed me that phone return services were now dealt with by the Telefonica Movil shop on the other side of town.

    I took the landline phone to the mobile phone shop and gave them my account number and eventually someone worked out how to get into the computer system. When they looked at my phone they said it wasn't a Telefonica phone. I had to return a Telefonica phone. I should add here that my spoken Spanish is not that good but I found that Google Translate speak and talk on my smartphone works well as long as you keep to strict grammar. It doesn't do swearing, irony, or sarcasm very well.

    I asked them where I could get a Telefonica phone to give them. They said I had to rent a line and I already had one. Could I buy one? NO. Could I borrow one of theirs for a few minutes, after all I would be giving it back to them that day. NO (as I said, GT doesn't do sarcasm very well). Could they tell me where I could steal a phone to give to them NO! (ditto).

    In the end I chose civil disobedience. I told them I couldn't leave without closing the account so I would take up one of their two customer desks for the rest of the afternoon. Impasse.

    I then asked them what they did with the returned telephones. The answer was that they logged the return on the company computer system, labelled and placed the items on a shelf in the back room for collection which never happened because the old shop address was still "valid" and no one came. When the shelf was filled the earliest packages were binned to make space.

    I then remembered that I am a trained engineer and previously a physicist so I chose the Schroedinger's Telephone solution. I placed my phone in a large envelope and labelled it "Telefonica Phone" and used the shop stapler to seal the package. By this time I was dealing with the shop manager who wanted to close this epic as much as I did. After all, commissions are based on sales and they weren't selling me anything. Quite the contrary. I told the Manager that the envelope contained a Telefonica Phone but, if the envelope was opened it could get damaged and take on the appearance of an old Sagem phone. Best not to open the envelope, just put it on the shelf.

    This worked. I got my account closed and an invoice to prove it. I even received a refund for the rental on the line AND THE PHONE.

    BTW, if anyone is interested where this shop is located, it is the Seventh Circle of Hell, Tenerife, Spain.

    1. EVP

      Re: Old Spanish Customs

      I was slightly irritated because my nocturnal reposing stage was terminated prematurely by unsolicited aural stimulus, i.e children making a hullabaloo woke me up*. After reading your clever story, my mood is quite the opposite now. You made my day, thanks!

      Schrödinger’s Telephone... xD

      *Why can’t they sleep late when it’s the weekend, but you literally have to drag them out of the bed school mornings?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Old Spanish Customs

        "Why can’t they sleep late when it’s the weekend"

        Don't worry, they'll be teenagers soon enough.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TV Licence

    In the UK, everyone will take a TV Licence as proof of address, and you can get one online and print it out in a matter of minutes. You don't need anything other than the address to get going.... Just £150 towards a good cause.

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: TV Licence

      My good cause is a regular chuckle at the silly letters from Crapita, against whom I have a minor vendetta on the grounds of the horror that is (or rather, was) Capita Registrars.

      Hmmm. Since they disposed of the registrars, maybe I might re-evaluate, and see if their system to tell them I have no telly works sensibly enough to use it?

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: TV Licence

        It doesn't. I bought a license a few months back to cover some temporary telly watching and I've been trying to get a refund on the remainder and cancel it since April. The form to cancel it tells me that it is the wrong form for what I want to do and to contact customer service. Customer service tells me to use the form.

        I bought it on a cc so it won't automatically renew. I'm expecting an accusatory visit when it runs out.

  21. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    More proof of address

    A few years back I was stood in the queue in the Post Office in Aldershot [1] and the woman in front of me had her Army ID card rejected as a form of identification by the counter clerk. D'oh.

    [1] Officially known as "The Home of the British Army" for non-UKers

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: More proof of address

      Yep, I've come across that as well, Army ID is not on the official list of approved methods of identification.

      Nor is a police warrant card, annoyingly.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Devil

        Re: More proof of address

        Nor is a police warrant card, annoyingly.

        How about a police warrant card and a taser?

        Pepper spray, baton or H&K MP5 optional alternatives...

    2. Outski
      Facepalm

      Re: More proof of address

      Sainsburys, by policy, won't accept a biometric residence permit (BRP) as proof of age or ID when trying to purchase alcohol. The BRP, which does state date of birth, is issued by the Home Office as your official ID for everything - right to work/study, to rent, open a bank account, etc - which you collect having arrived after successfully navigating the UK visa system.

      But it's not good enough for Sainburys.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: More proof of address

        I went into a bar in Bloominigton Indiana once, where the door staff queried my UK passport and asked if I had any other proof of age. Apparently you can get into the country with it, but drinking is serious! I said the only other ID I had was credit cards and they let me in. But my friend's fiancee (night before their wedding) failed the test, as she only had her driving license - and so left again rather rapidly.

        Fortunately someone else let us all in. It's not like we looked like a raucous crowd, as we had both sets of parents with us as well as a few freinds.

        I nearly disgraced myself later with an incident involving mistaking a large piece of wasabi for a large piece of sashimi - and downing most of a flask of saki to make the pain stop - but other than that it was a peaceful evening.

        1. Ken Shabby Bronze badge
          Pint

          Re: More proof of address

          A while back went to a NFL game at Foxborough, decided to buy some expensive coloured water with bubbles strangely labelled as beer.

          "Do you have proof of ID?"

          Proffered pink piece of paper, generally known as a drivers licence on the other side of the pond.

          "That's not a drivers licence, do you have a passport?

          "No", says I, as I am not accustomed to taking my passport to a football game.

          "I don't care if you look like Abraham Lincoln you don't get a beer with proof of ID"

          Walks away, kind US gentleman behind me in the queue, bought an extra beer and gave it to me.

  22. Spanners Silver badge
    Flame

    I have received ethnic discrimination about my name.

    It seems to be pretty close to a law down here that you must be known by your first forename (if you have more than one anyway).

    Not being from down here, I am not. I have the same names as my father but use the second one that he didn't. My bank told me that this raised red flags that I might be a money launderer or something. They keep sending stuff with my late fathers name on them and I have been told off for not using the "correct" form of my name in my signature.

    They have been known to refuse cheques made out to me because it is not made out to my "proper" name. I say racial discrimination but it doesn't count.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have received ethnic discrimination about my name.

      Don't get yourself pulled over at night in Suwanee then. They'll ask your name, you'll tell them the name that you are go by, they'll look you up in their mobile Atari and arrest you for giving false information to the police.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: I have received ethnic discrimination about my name.

      In the UK your "legal" name is simply the name that you are known as. You can have an official name change away from that on the birth certificate ("deed poll") or you can announce a new name in the local paper. But you don't need to In theory . In reality, however, the official and business bureaucracy make changing which name you use as near as impossible as makes no difference. The only name they'll accept for me is "Terence". A name I loath. I've been called "Terry" for about 50 years. Legally that should be my accepted name. In reality I can't escape being called "Terence" by officialdom. And I don't even think about trying to get people to use my middle name any more, I wanted to, but gave up on that while I was still in my 20s.

  23. cosymart
    WTF?

    Apple Click Bait

    "I have a vision of a conference room at Apple HQ in which top executives decide what new features to put into the Apple Watch, with the single proviso that they must have nothing to do with showing the time."

    The same applies to any mobile phone. Is there any mention anywhere of how good or bad the item is to make a call with? Needs to be renamed as Camera/Communication device with optional phone function.

  24. chivo243 Silver badge
    Alert

    It's called layers of deniability

    I once missed a dentist appointment due to a real emergency, I called the dentist office, they couldn't do anything about the bill. I called the billing company, and they insisted that they only follow the direction of the Dentist office. Dispute the bill, and it gets turned over to a collection agency... ad infinitum

    1. Aussie Doc
      Pint

      Re: It's called layers of deniability

      Yeah - it's like pulling teeth. Have an anaesthetic on the house--->

  25. BGatez Bronze badge
  26. Gnoitall
    Devil

    The phrase "User Experience" is misleading

    People expect it to mean "Good, desirable, enjoyable User Experience."

    None of those qualifiers are actually present. Only in the heads of the unenlightened and irrationally optimistic.

    Bad User Experience? Still "User Experience".

    "Hellish, Kafkaesque, want-to-slit-my-wrists User Experience?" Yup, still counts.

    So yes, it's all well-designed User Experience. After all, if it puts you off from bothering Customer Service, the costs of Customer Service goes down. Mission Accomplished. The best Customer Service department is the one that costs absolutely nothing to operate because no one can figure out how to Experience it as a User. It's just more subtle than "Go Away And Stop Bothering Us" User Experience.

    Working as designed.

    1. Count Ludwig

      Re: The phrase "User Experience" is misleading

      Self-assessment tax return time is coming round again - and it reminds me that I had a hand in coding part of that wonderful website. We knew we had nailed it when, during UX testing, a member of the public actually burst into tears crying "I don't know what to do - this is so confusing" - in the testing suite in Central London.

      Shouts of "Yes!" and fist-bumps from the product managers of the project.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: The phrase "User Experience" is misleading

        Presumably that was when you realised that you'd captured the legal requirements exactly.

      2. Inkey
        Facepalm

        Re: The phrase "User Experience" is misleading

        Presumably this is why I'll often get the "We value your feedback" pop up the moment I land on a page

        And since I have not used any services or browsed the site.... There is no feedback to offer other than the irritation of dismissing the message

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hate to break this to you Dabbsy but...

    ...it's not really like that for most people. It's just you and the Madame. Because we, i.e. the British IT crowd who are still on the sinking ship, hate you for having bailed. Yes, We hate you so much we went back in time and have been bombarding you with this nonsense since long before anyone even thought about the referendum.

    I'll get my coat.

  28. irrelevant

    Electricity

    Ah, yes. I found myself in the dreaded run around when I moved into a new flat, some 20 years ago now. The existing electricity supplier wanted some four hundred quid deposit off me before they would let me take over the account or they would disconnect the flat. My preferred supplier didn't need a deposit but could, apparently, only take over the supply from an existing account, not actually give me a new supply. After some backwards and forwards, it transpired they really only needed some meter reference numbers off the last bill, which of course I didn't have. So I asked the existing supplier to sign me up, but send me an immediate bill, which they queried, since there was only about a weeks usage on it, but they did, and I managed to get the supply transferred before I was cut off due not paying the deposit!

  29. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Try losing a 2-factor authenticator key.

    My telephone was destroyed recently. Water damage. Blizzard, Steam, Rockstar, Discord, Ubisoft all the 2-factor keys were there.

    I forgot most of my gaming passwords, because I used the authenticator.

    Login ---> authenticator required

    Forgot password --> authenticator required.

    Change password --> authenticator required.

    Call e-mail support --> authenticator required

    Remove authenticator ---> type in your authenticator code to cancel your authenticator. -->Open e-mail ticket for support. --> but you can't open a ticket without logging in.

    Aaaand close loop.

    - Discord was pretty blunt, your account was LOST FOREVER if you lost the authenticator backup codes. No e-mail reset feature, no sms message. Fuck you Discord.

    - Steam allowed SMS messages. My number chip was not destroyed, so shove that in a new phone.

    - Rockstar allowed cross-site authentication that had my password stored on PSN. Yay. Easy. The e-mail is still your master key to the account. Steam and rockstar were mixed for me. I don't remember which is which.

    - Blizzard makes you go around the loop some 2 or 3 times until a link appears stating exactly "lost 2-factor generator". So they ask a real-life ID with your picture on it. You can't view your tickets because... they are inside the 2-factor login side, only the no-reply e-mail comes back to you. If they don't grant you access, open another ticket, and around you go.

    - Ubisoft also puts you on the fritz like Blizzard, but they allow a ticket with an e-mail without login. I think.

    It was a shitshow.

    If you got the time, remove all the 2-factor keys from everything that matters to you. SPECIALLY DISCORD.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Try losing a 2-factor authenticator key.

      Use FreeOTP+ which allows you to back up 2FA keys to json files or back up everything into the loving arms of Google with Google Authenticator if you must.

      Dedicated apps like Steam can be backed up with your favourite apk backup app.

    2. thomasallan80

      Re: Try losing a 2-factor authenticator key.

      That's because your doing it wrong. The QR code that gets generated can be scanned by multiple devices, assuming your doing this from a non-mobile device, and works fine (done that with paypal, etc and both phones unlock the account).

      So you can have a current phone as primary and whatever you used as a previous phone as a backup authenticator will work fine. Each device will generate it's own unique code (i.e. two phones with the same source key from the website will each generate a totally different 6 digit code) so the website can say device 1 was used to authenticate on day 1 and device 2 was used on day 2 if they really wanted to go that far.

      Battle net (and other independent apps that have some stupid built in authenticators) you can't do jack about since it's an independent app and ages ago when I tried it didn't let me add a second app to the account. But the one time I did 'reset' my mobile I think they sent a code to the accounts email address to unlock it way back when.

  30. noisy_typist

    New builds

    Try moving to a new build - for the first few months nobody’s computer systems recognise your address - it is either not in the Royal Mail database or they haven’t applied the latest updates, so in many cases you can’t change it online. Often, call centre staff can’t change it either.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: New builds

      "Often, call centre staff can’t change it either."

      I had an issue with Netflix the other day, signed up via the Virgin Media STB. I went around the loop of Netflix/VM/Netflix/VM about four times, each saying they could do nothing, call the other. Eventually I got a tad annoyed and on speaking to yet another VM 1st liner and reciting the sorry story all over again I said I was getting so annoyed I was tempted just cancel the entire account. Next thing I know I'm on hold for 30 seconds and then speaking to a nice lady in Scotland who sorted it all out for me.

      She was in the retentions department. The very mention of cancellation triggered a whole new process which resulted in a shitty "user experience" suddenly ending with a decent resolution.

    2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: New builds

      First few months? Lucky you, I still (ok, now rarely) get "this postcode doesn't exist" several years after moving in!

  31. EVP

    “It turns out that in order to deregister yourself, you click on a tab labelled REGISTER.”

    Obviously, the tab should have been labelled THEREGISTER.

    Yes yes, I’ll see myself out righ....

  32. DougS Silver badge

    If you have a new house

    You would either have a mortgage document or rental document with your name and the new address on it, which should do fine as proof of address...

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: If you have a new house

      I think you may have missed quite a few cases there. From the mortgage-free homeowner to the more informal sharer.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: If you have a new house

        If you don't have a mortgage you still have title documents to show you are the owner. The "sharer" who lives somewhere without a lease doesn't need to sign up for water or electricity. It would be stupid to put your name on a utility account for a house you could be locked out of without any recourse.

        1. Juan Inamillion

          Re: If you have a new house

          So if the 'sharer' can't/doesn't have any bills in their name/address, how do they verify ID?

          You've just created the closed loop that everyone here has complained of!

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: If you have a new house

          "you still have title documents to show you are the owner"

          They're kept safe elsewhere and aren't going to be dragged out to show every jobsworth. And those "sharers" include other family members.

  33. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    ‘Twas on a Monday morning that the gasman came to call ...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where can I buy an Egg Master

    Asking for a friend ...

  35. Barry Rueger

    Capital One

    New credit card. Attempt to setup on-line access by clicking through from the email telling me to set up on-line access.

    They have a form asking for:

    Last Name*

    Birth date

    Phone number

    Postal code.

    Didn't work.

    Twenty minutes with a phone drone with English as a fourth or fifth language eventually determined that the problem was that when applying on-line I had entered my cel phone number into the box marked "home phone." AKA landline.

    Which, like many, I don't have.

    After asking me for information (like my phone number!) to confirm my identity they assured me that my record now showed my mobile number.

    And that I should try logging in again after 24 to 72 hours!

    * At one point I checked out the FAQ in case I had missed something obvious.. It instructed me to:

    Enter your full name as shown on your card in the box labelled " Last Name."

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OAP

    At about the same time as I retired and hit pension age I sold up my flat and moved in with my girl-friend who has her own house. At the same time I got the 'Freedom Pass' (what a terrific idea!) for which I had to prove I lived in London. I had no utility bills or *cough* council tax bills and the only document I had was from the Dept of Work and Pensions outlining my pension. Trouble is it was 9 months old and I needed one under 3 months old...

    Hello Photoshop....

    Also reminds me of a few years back dealing with HMRC (Inland Revenue) who wouldn't (and couldn't) accept an email with digitally signed forms. It had to be a FAX. I asked why and they said 'it's for security'. I didn't argue I simply found an online free fax service and 'faxed' the PDF form. Job done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OAP

      Having rented out my own house, I was staying with a friend temporarily until quitting my job to go travelling. One thing I needed to do was to get some travel injections for various things. I'd been de-registered at the GP surgery I was using whilst living at my now rented house and had long since changed my address to my parents' house about 20-30 minutes away by car. The GP surgery that served the area where I was temporarily staying was only a few minutes away, so I went to register there, only to be told I needed proof of address. I had no tenancy agreement, no bills and no post sent to the friend's house to provide this. I had no utility bills from my parents' place either to register with a doctor near them, of course, so what to do?

      Like you, but in my case with The Gimp, I simply changed the address of a recent letter from HMRC sent to my parents' address, printed it out and used it as proof of address for the friend's house. It worked. Job done!

  37. Updraft102 Silver badge

    You think that's bad...

    ...try dealing with this when you live in a place that does not have mail delivery. I live in a place in the US like that, where the entire zip code (a fairly typical densely developed residential area with the usual niceties like paved roads, low crime, and no problems with T. rex's or land sharks or other dangerous wildlife) is not served by the US Postal Service, if service means delivering to your residence. We all have to go to the "Post Office" (which itself is run by the highest bidder, on private property, not by the Postal Service) to get our mail, and the street address cannot be used in lieu of the PO Box number on any mail sent to anyone in this zip code. Any mail sent to the street address gets returned to sender immediately, so the intended recipient never knows that the mail he was waiting for was within feet of his PO Box for a short bit of time, before being sent possibly across the country or globe, back to its sender.

    It's not possible to set up a forwarding address from the physical address to the mailing address, as the US Postal Service won't accept the physical address in the "from" field, since it's not in the database of deliverable addresses. They also sell this database to other shippers and online merchants, so sometimes I am left arguing with an e-tailer about whether I actually know the address at which I live. I've had a number of orders automatically cancelled because I put in the "wrong" address (which also happened to be the correct one). I love being told to put in another address, as if my residence has a whole bunch of them from which I can choose.

    When you add in that much of the US population apparently took the "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" thing seriously, so they do not believe that there are sizable chunks of the US that the postal service simply refuses to deliver to, for no other reason than it can, that makes it even more fun. Some places refuse to accept a PO Box as the mailing address, even if it is the only mailing address that exists. Many online stores don't tell you whether the shipping method will be USPS or another shipper prior to actually shipping the item, so I don't know which address to give them, if they will even accept the PO Box one. Sometimes they refuse the PO Box and then send it US Mail anyway, which means I never receive the item. I've tried using conditional branching in the "notes to shipper" section, and it is universally ignored.

    The US Government's Internal Revenue Service required "at least three of" the typical things one time to prove my address, and I was not about to send a forged document to the US government. There can never be a utility bill with my street address as the mailing address, at least not that I could ever get my hands upon. I could change the address to my physical address, but the bill would never get to me. The service address shown on the bill woulds be my actual physical address, but I asked, and it was not good enough for the IRS. It had to be the mailing address.

    The woman on the IRS hotline became irate at my claims of not being able to receive mail sent to my physical address and snarked that I must not be living in the US, then (which I am reasonably sure I am). It's the IRS; I can't exactly take my business elsewhere.

    Unlike Mr. Dabbs issue, this one doesn't get resolved once you get over the hump and actually get established. It's an ongoing thing for every person who lives in an area the US Postal Service decides to ignore. Where I live is a lovely place otherwise, but this one thing (which I was not even aware of when I signed on the dotted line to buy my house here) is a real aggravation.

  38. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    There seems to be one common thing in all this: systems designed by organisations where either:

    a) Questions such as "what happens when...?" or "What if...?" never get asked

    b) They are asked but stamped on by manglement as "being negative" or the like

    c) They are asked and get through but due to being Agile get postponed to a later iteration that hasn't happened yet and probably never will

    d) Have no means or incentive for people at the sharp end to pass "This isn't working" messages back up the line.

    Organisations all that have been racing to the bottom and got there.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Organisations all that have been racing to the bottom and got there.

      And the reason they're not any deeper yet is that the purchase request for the manually operated pedal-force augmented soil transfer and reshaping implement has been denied due to the requester not being authorised to submit it.

      There's also no-one around who can assign the proper authorisation level to the requester, and neither is anyone able to bypass the authorisation workflow.

    2. herman Silver badge

      Ayup - reminds me of the Boeing design review and quality improvement process.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        That created a new low with a hole in the ground.

  39. AbortRetryFail
    Happy

    Citogenesis

    "You can see the closed loop in fake news, whereby unsupported airheadedness pilched from Wikipedia is supported by corroborating evidence that turns out to be someone else quoting from the very same Wikipedia page."

    Ah, that'll be Citogenesis. https://xkcd.com/978/

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Citogenesis

      Wikipedia is not needed for this. Archaeological dating worked like this prior to carbon dating being introduced. You could even have rival long and short chronologies both supported by such circularity.

  40. Number6

    Fortunately, it appears that a lot of places that want a paper bill seem to accept one I've downloaded and printed myself. Even when someone wanted a notarised copy of a bill, I just took two copies to the notary, got him to agree they were the same and stamp one appropriately, then sent that off and it was accepted.

    Most on-line billing systems seem to let you download PDF copies of the bill.

  41. jcitron

    I love National Grid!

    Your lights go out in your neighborhood. Simple POOF! while you're in the middle of something so you're kind and call the electric company to let them know that the lights are out. In the olden days, one could call the electric company and tell them the power is out. Okay, no problem and the truck would go around and find a tree branch down or bouncing on the wires.

    Well it don't work that way anymore! In order to get the power restored, you need to enter in your address and your account number, which of course you can't see because it's dark and you've faffed around for candles, but they're only stubs. If you can see it, it's about the size of ants and can barely see it enough anyway in the dark. Even if you have your address, it doesn't matter. They want your account number as well.

    Finally after stumbling around for an hour, you then call and wait, and wait, and wait... and wait with them telling you that you can check the online app for status and to report outages there too, but wait you can't do that either cuz you need to be able to see the account number, the one the size of ants, in order to enter on the mobile app.

    One day with the power going out in the afternoon, we tried their mobile app. It's pure crap. The interface sucks and it's awkward making me wonder if it must've been cobbled together by the CEO's son while at programmer's boot camp or something. The app works sort of... and you need that bloody account number for that too.

    What's wrong with KISS? Power's out, call, get it fixed.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    France double zip code

    In France, some towns have multiple zip codes and I happen to live in one that has 2 zip codes from different departments, and also different regions.

    Still today, in 2019, you have civil servants that insist your zip code determines your department. Actually, they don't, every town lives in a single department, and the zip code is just a postal number that determines how you mail is delivered.

    So we have the regular "you're in department X ! We're not in charge of you !" and we are like "yes you are cos we're not in X but in Y, which you're serving".

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