Thursday, June 11, 2009

welfare WIN! 

There's a lot to bitch about in New York. Everyone who lives in or has visited knows how much the subway sucks. Dirty, loud, unpredictable and generally oppressive. The post offices too leave a lot to be desired. They vary with the neighborhood, but mine is dirty, too small, inefficient, and all around annoying. I've heard tell from friends who are public school teachers that the schools are not much better.

But social services, damn! After getting laid off I applied for unemployment, online. As soon as I was eligible they put a check in my bank account, direct deposit. No lines, no hassle. Sweet.

Then yesterday I go to my local social services branch to get some food stamps and it was...amazing. Clean, no, spotless, well staffed, well signed so it was easy to figure out where to go, computer terminals available for figuring out benefits and eligibility, a crisp digital sign that posted your number when it came up and told you where to go, and unarmed security guards every ten feet. At first I was a bit rankled by all the security, but they acted more as ushers than controllers, and they did seem to be necessary. One woman lost it completely and was yelling and screaming and they were very quiet and gentle with her, asking her to calm down and finally escorting her out politely. So they do serve a legitimate purpose. The shit is stressful and people blow up now and again.

Anyway, in my neighborhood at least, the shit was not only functional, but impressive, comfortable and efficient. So whoever is responsible for that, well done you.


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