Dot writes: I was just taking a little break to look at Bad Science, and I came upon this gem from the About page (in which Ben Goldacre rants about giving free talks and then having to keep all his taxi receipts and spend hours on claim-forms or registration-forms to get his expenses):
people give you their time for free, they spend time preparing, they travel to get to you, they pretend they can work on the train but they know most of the journey will be spent changing on tubes and getting tickets and waiting in Euston, they have busy lives, but they want to help you, and you repay them with a form? A form? Everybody knows that a form is the lowest expression of contempt, you use a form to express the fact that you don’t have time for someone, that your time is more important than theirs, and that’s often true, I’ll fill out a form to get a grant, or a job, or a blood test, but right now, just now, when I’m doing a talk for you, and I was doing it in good spirit, and it was going to be a nice fun thing, right now, you need to fill out my form. I’m writing it now, it will be online soon, and you will be tested on the contents of this paragraph.
I keep being sent the same form to fill in every couple of months, giving details of my employment to confirm I’m entitled to child benefit. It’s an infuriating waste of time – my time filling it in, the payroll staff’s time completing and stamping it, even the benefit office people’s time registering its return. It is purely a device to try to stop people claiming the benefit they are entitled to – and to remind them that they are lowly and should be grateful. Grrr.