Recently I had to fill out an online form on a federal government website. It was supposed to be no big deal. In retrospect, I should have simply printed out the PDF version, filled it out by hand, and mailed it in. I was TRYING to save time and paper.

It took me half an hour just to find the online form to begin with. I found all kinds of answers about how to fill out the form and why the form was necessary and who received the form and what happened to the form after it was received. I had to call a 1-800 number, and I looked at 3 different websites. When I finally found it and began, I discovered that the online version of the form was not the same as the PDF version (which I had saved to my desktop in case I couldn't find the “faster” version). It skipped all over and asked several questions more than once. Later, it asked me the same question 4 times in a row until I simply exited out. In trying to answer a series of “check off all the following boxes that apply” I didn't understand some of the phrases they were using.

By the end, I had spent 2 hours trying to do what should have taken me only 20 minutes to do.

I am not trying to take a political stance here (hence the absence of which department it was). I just want to voice my frustration at the inefficiencies of bureaucracy. It gets so ingrown with its own lingo and sub-forms that it becomes difficult to navigate. What's tragic is that larger companies also end up with the same problem.

I'd complain about it to someone, but I don't have the blue version of form 56-R39Y7 or the yellow copy of T69-M3.