Thursday, 26 August 2010

More Adventures with Saturn and bureaucracy

I needed to buy a mobile phone. After two and a half weeks I realised maybe waiting until another weekend when I would inevitably make plans/forget to purchase one, I hit Saturn after work.

After some time comparing the Handys (mobile phones) on offer, I decided a Samsung on T Mobile looked like the best choice. So I took it to the till (somewhat logically, you might think). However, it had to be registered first. So I took it to a sales assistant in the phones department. I asked them about the tariffs and another salesperson kept trying to tell me about mobile Internet, but I wasn't intreseted.

So I asked if I had to register the phone. I did. The salesperson asked if I had ID. I offered my driving licence. This isn't classed as ID in Germany. I went home.

On the way home I got a little lost in the music I was listening to, and consequently a little lost in Frankfurt. I missed the turning I would usually take so think I added about a kilometre to my journey. Oh dear. But I got to see a different part of the city which is always good.

The next day I went back to Saturn after work. I had my ID and had fortunately packed my Anmeldungsformular (registration form) in my handbag too, so I could prove not only my identity but also my address. I am not sure why mobile phone companies need so much information, perhaps it is to stop people buying mobile phones and using them for evil means, like they always seem to do on CSI. They can never track down those unregistered Pay As You Go mobiles! And that Germans don't seem too fussed by the amount of personal information you have to give to people (ok, Saturn employees) to do anything also seems a little at odds with the recent German fixation on the evil that is Google Street View, and that Google is becoming, basically, the new Stasi.

The cover of this week's stern magazine:

How the Internet company wants to traffic pictures and details of our lives

So my phone was registered, after some initial problems the salesperson had finding 'Großbritannien' on the list of countries, after looking for 'England' and 'Vereinigtes Königreich' beforehand. I took it to the till, got some rubber stamps and took it home. I opened up the packet and found some PIN numbers behind scratchcard-style panels, but didn't need them in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment