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YOU MAY NOT SIT IN THE BLUE CHAIR

February 8, 2013

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When I arrived the line spilled out into the parking lot where the masses shivered in the cold rain because there wasn’t enough room inside.  A sign posted on the front door said hours were weekdays 9a-3p but effective January 2 it would close Wednesdays at 12n. Once inside, my new friends and I counted 115 people waiting for help.  Crammed into the waiting areas where all of the seats were taken, we stood and waited, and stood some more, and waited even more.  The elderly waited. The young waited. The tired waited. We were not allowed to sit on the floor.  We were not allowed to sit in the empty blue chairs at the 12 service windows, only two of which had humans behind them, 10 had aluminum blinds drawn tightly shut. There were signs taped to the windows that said we were not allowed to sit in those chairs, only the black chairs in the center of the room.  Rather cruel for the elderly and mothers with small children.  I asked the security desk why there were only two windows open and she said because staff were at lunch.  Seriously?  How could anyone eat with the misery outside in the waiting area?  Your office hours are only 9-3p!

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If we sat in a blue chair there was an immediate announcement, “You may not sit in the blue chairs.”  If your child made a peep, there was an immediate announcement, “Parents if you cannot control your children you will have to leave and come another day when it is more convenient for you.” If your child made two peeps you got a visit from the security guard.  One eastern European woman had been there for over three hours with her  toddler son who naturally made a few peeps but hardly anything that was annoying to us.  She received a visit from the security officer.  As we stood, waited and gawked at the scene unfolding in front of us I pulled my phone out.   https://vimeo.com/59266570  The woman sat holding her son and cried.

Welcome to your Social Security office on Edsall Rd friends.  People should be able to sit if there’s an empty chair; staff should be understanding of children as some people don’t have any other option than to bring them along; and you should not be taking lunch breaks if your office hours are so incredibly narrow and your customers are overflowing into the parking lot.  My estimate on wait time today was 7 hours.  As I left getting nothing accompllished, I gave my ticket to a guy coming in the door and wished him luck.

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