Saturday, 29 December 2012

Ten commandments for bureaucrat bashing

The Sad but Mad one has republished something that needs a wider circulation - it is from Patrick Moore’s book “Bureaucrats: How To Annoy Them”, and was written after he had been in correspondence with a bureaucrat of the name of Whitmarsh from a gas company (even though his house only used oil).  I think I've come across some similar types.

Anyway, here are the rules:
  1. Never say anything clearly. When writing to jobsworths and timeservers, word your letter so that it could mean almost anything…or nothing. 
  2. Don’t be legible. Always write letters by hand, and make your verbose scrawl as impenetrable as possible. 
  3. Garble your opponent’s name. Misread the signature. If the correspondence is signed ‘M. Harris’, address your reply to ‘N. Hayes’ or ‘W. Hardy’. Don’t get too flippant though — the penpushers might lack a sense of humour, but if you write to ‘M. Hedgehog’, they will sense a legpull. 
  4. Give fake references. If you have a letter from the tax office, ref: EH/4/PNG/H8, mark your reply with some other code in the same format, such as DC/5/IMH/R9. This should ensure that the taxman wastes minutes, or hopefully hours, rooting for a file that doesn’t exist. 
  5. The same goes for dates. Get them slightly wrong, every time. 
  6. Follow up your fakes. Write to request a reply to letters that you haven’t sent, and include bogus reference numbers. This is a surefire timewaster and might even, if your Twitmarsh is of a sensitive disposition, reduce him to tears. 
  7. Never pay the right amount. Include a discrepancy in every envelope — never too much, but always more than a few pence. A sum between £1.20 and £2.80 is recommended. Then you can start an interminable correspondence to reclaim the overpayment (or dispute the underpayment). 
  8. When enclosing a cheque, staple it to the letter. With two staples. Or three. Right in the middle of the cheque. At the least, you’ll waste someone’s time — at best, you might wreck their computer. 
  9. As a point of honour, never give up on a correspondence before at least six pointless letters have been exchanged. Think big and aim for double figures. 
  10. If a postage-paid envelope is not supplied by your Twitmarsh, send off your reply without a stamp. The bureaucrats will have to pay much more at the other end. 
© Patrick Moore


  1. This is great fun. I am in regular correspondence with various bureautwats and I shall try to make it more entertaining (to myself) having read this!

  2. Thanks for spreading the message.

  3. You have also gone "international", I will heve to translate the ideas into German....We just LOVE "bureaucrats" ..... :-))

    They find it confusing ANY way to deal with someone who spent many years in Scotland. THIS should be the icing on the cake!

  4. Very amusing. It is justifiable revenge.

    I had a long 'discussion' with BT before Christmas as I had asked them to reconnect a telephone line and then they wanted me to pay a £99 penalty charge for changing the contract to another's name. The terms did not change. I had clearly asked BT about this beforehand and explained that the line was not for me in an online chat when I asked them to reconnect.

    For me to make an internal complaint, even before Ofcom even got involved, I would have had to make a request in writing to a long winded address to be sent a copy of this online chat. Then I would have had to draft the complaint. Without the chat I did not have sufficient evidence. The girl I was talking clearly had a copy of it.

    They made the whole procedure so unnecessarily complicated. Btw I didn't pay the cancellation charge. I suspect that was because I was so utterly polite throughout and firmly stood my ground for a good fifty minutes. I knew I was in the right. Some might call me stubborn ...but never wrong. ;-)