Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Rule of Three

Circumvention of life’s Puckish (yes that is with a P) inevitability to become F*ckish (yes that is with an F) --would appear to be one of the more important skills to acquire.  


An additional bit of irony; the day I was working on this post (also the day I ended up having to get a new phone number which happens to contain several threes) the three key, finding it the most inconvenient time possible, fell off of my keyboard and refused to reattach.  All subsequent need for the numerical three have been cut and pasted from other locations or have been circumvented by using the word three.


The Rule of Three applies when you need to get something: product, service, information that is under any kind of regulation.  It is a way to determine if “Ma’am, I assure you, it is State policy to take a three-hour siesta midday and then refuse to provide you with a copy of your court case after you have stood in line during those three hours.” is actually state policy OR just the clerks refusal to walk all the way to the files and boot up the copy machine.


Call the entity that is responsible for what you want (the State Court System) and ask about the parameters for getting what you want (a copy of your court case.)   Get an answer, “Why yes Ma’am, we are able to provide you with a copy but only from 4:42 to 5:28 on the first Wednesday of months that start with a “J”.



Call the agency a little later and ask your question again. (Granted, if you are under a time constraint this is not the say to go)  “Why yes Ma’am, we can provide a copy during regular business hours but just between you and me, the clerks are more likely to do it in the morning but not on Monday.”


No match and clearly one rational response and one I’ve been in civil service way too long response.  You see were I’m going with this.


Depending on your feel for the extent of company PIA-dom or POS-dom, and the complexity of the issue, you may need to go for additional matches.  For work, I end up making dozens of call a day to state and federal and any other ridiculously bloated, top heavy agencies and I’m finding three calls is usually what it takes. 


Rule of Three, special circumstances.


Let us say you need to verify something with a specialist or a small office. That situation has some limitations because specialists tend to remember the crazy OCD ladies. (They really don’t like it if you ask them the same thing three times in a row. Trust me.)


Duration and onus is the key.  Try to space out the questions as far as possible, and the reason you are asking again is all on you. For example, “I don’t remember if I asked you at the last semimonthly gathering, but what was the policy for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy exposure?”   (Of course we remember what the other guy said at the last semimonthly gathering, we are just looking for confirmation, because if I’m risking Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy exposure I want to make damn sure I’ve got the routine down.) 


So before you do battle with the local HOA, verify via rule of three that you are required to be at the General Assembly Hall, off of 12th St, with the green door, not blue, on Wednesday at 3:15, and you will need to bring 184 copies of a professional 8.34 by 5.21 rendering of proposed balcony construction, a power point presentation lasting 3.6 minutes and adequate bribery funds for 12 committee members.

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