The concierge copyist

The Spanish bureaucracy is defeated with its weapon of choice.

A local friend realises far too late that he has a quite considerable problem with Hacienda, the tax authorities, but he rapidly organises his paperwork anyway and rushes across town and up to the relevant department. As he tears through the door there are 15 minutes left on the clock before they close and his automatic administrative penalty and various other forms of grief kick in.

The desk gollum contemplates him with weary distaste, glances at the file, and whines, “Of course you’ll need photocopies of all this.”
“I’ve made photocopies. Look, there they are.”
Another glance. “You need another set.”
Donning an expression normally guaranteed to extract water from stone, “Look, I honestly didn’t know I had to do this, and now I’m in deep trouble. Could I possibly as a one-off favour (which I will recount to absolutely nobody else) make the copies on that magnificent machine behind you? Please, please, please!”
“Public can’t use office machinery.”
“Then would you be an absolute darling and make the copies for me? You’ll change my life.”
“Not my job.”
“Is there anyone else who can help me?”
“All busy.”

So with the funcionaria regarding him in triumph he rushes back down in the lift and, with tears in his eyes, asks the porter if he knows anywhere. “Not nearby, sir,” says the porter, briefly surveying the foyer, “but I can do them for you if you promise not to let on.”
Five minutes later, he’s upstairs again and handing over the completed file.
“Where did you get the photocopies?! Tell me or your filing won’t be accepted!”

Foreigners tend to assume that this kind of behaviour is evidence of a xenophobic conspiracy, but it’s actually a purely kinship thing.

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  1. Great story! It brings back so many fond memories of Cerdanyola’s Registro Civil, and the way its wonderful staff did everything they could to prevent Gemma and I from getting married. Fun times!

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