August 27, 2008

Fun with Cambridge Licensing


This is where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately, Cambridge City Hall. Actually, the building I’m usually visiting is next door, and not as grand.

Today I was running between MIT, having met with Richard Berlin, head of dining services, to confirm my spot, and city hall to get my application for food truck license submitted. At 1:45pm I arrived at the licensing office with my final package. And a guy called Chris O’Neil told me I was 2 hours late and that my hearing (which I was hoping would be 23rd September) would be postponed until November. Of course I thought he was joking. I knew I had to get it in by the 27th. But he said that’s NOON on the 27th. Here was our conversation:

me: OK. But I really didn’t know. The person helping me just said 27th. Can we make an exception?
Chris: No.
me: Please

Chris: There’s nothing I can do, they’ve already been shipped. We have strict deadlines

me: Shipped? Shipped where?

Chris: They’ve been shipped

me (slight panic): Can I hand deliver them somewhere

Chris: That wouldn’t work

me (gaining some composure): So explain this to me. What happens after they are handed in? Where are they shipped?

Chris: To the newspaper

me: Which newspaper?

Chris: Cambridge Chronicle. They have deadlines that are even more strict than ours

So I say I’ll call them and see if they can help out. He says “you can’t make the call in here.” So I go outside, call the newspaper (owned by GateHouse Media who own both the Cambridge Tab and Cambridge Chronicle apparently). And a very very nice lady named Debbie helps me out. She says she hasn’t gotten the email yet from the city, and that she has no problem waiting until tomorrow. I say thanks 30 times, give her my info, and run back in to talk to Chris. Here’s the punchline:

Chris says: “Yeah… well I’m not sure I’ll be able to get to it this afternoon.” Me, losing composure again: “Please. Please. Please. This means a lot to me. More than you can know. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Please. Please. Please.”

Chris: “I just don’t know whether I’ll be able to get to it.”

Me: “What’s your name? It would really mean a lot to me if you could help out here.”

So there we left it. Of course, I returned 1 hour later, asked how it was going, and sat around until everything was complete. I’ll check with Debbie in Legal at Cambridge Chronicle tomorrow morning to make sure everything went through. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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