the NZ Justice system and Queue Etiquette

Thursday morning I took my 25 y/o son to the court to have his bail conditions changed (yes he’s coming to stay at Mums).

We get there 2 minutes before the court house opens (8.58am).

The doors are opened, as we have no idea what to do we jump in the ‘general queue’.  At this time there are 2 people ahead of us in the queue.

There are a total of 6 counters for enquiries, 1 for general enquiry, 2 for fines, 3 for family.  There are 3 staff manning these counters, 1 at general, 1 at fines and 1 at family.

By the time I had taken this lot in there were 7 other (groups of) people behind us in the general queue, 15 minutes had passed and the first person in the general enquiry queue was waiting patiently for the customer service rep to return to the counter (bathroom break or morning tea anyone?).

Meanwhile the customer service rep at fines was eating plain cracker biscuits for breakfast (yes I could hear her crunching) – it must have been a blessing for her and her tummy that there was no-one in her queue.  Fortunately for those of us waiting the customer service rep from family was entertaining us by giving an outstanding impersonation of a marble statue sitting in a chair staring, unblinkingly, at the people in the general enquiry queue.  She actually managed to make eye contact with me several times while not showing any expression on her face, very clever and I wouldn’t like to come across her in a game of polka.

9.25am the general enquiry customer service rep returns to the counter and within minutes the first customer is taken care of.  Onto customer number 2.  (yes, I’m getting excited, nearly my turn!)

9.30 am the second customer service rep for family turns up.  I have to say he did a great job of shuffling papers.

Around 9.35 am the second customer service rep for fines turns up.  Now his counter is right next to the general enquiry counter.  Now I like to believe that he actually noticed the general enquiry queue had doubled back on itself rather than spill out of the front doors and onto the street and that he started to help by taking people from the END OF THE QUEUE!  Oh wait… no he thought they were waiting to see him!

So if your interested in how this ended, well we got to speak to the general enquiries customer service rep just after 10 am, it took less than 3 minutes to answer our questions, we filled in a form, waited another 5 mins in the queue and then left after being assured that was all that was required.  I was feeling ecstatic as we walked out of the court house at 10.20am as I had expected an all-dayer of bureaucracy and frustration.  Little did I know that I’d get a phone call 2 hours later asking us to go back to the court house (30km away) to sign a piece of paper…. and yes that meant waiting in the queue again.





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