Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is It Possible to Have a More Archaic Registration System in 2006?

I went to register Q for an activity class yesterday and had a hard time believing that I live in the heart of Silicon Valley in the 21st century. The education center had set up a folding table with two chairs in the breezeway between two modular buildings. Upon reaching the table, I found a stack of blank registration forms, a list of classes, and a plastic tub with a slot cut in the top.

There were about a dozen moms, squeezing by each other, extracting forms with one hand and holding children with the other. A couple of strollers were abandoned nearby, since they wouldn't fit past the table in the hallway. I was solo, since Nanny J had already arrived to take care of Q, so I slipped through easily and got my paperwork.

I filled out every little box on the form – my name, address, phone number, and Q's name and birthdate. Fair enough questions. Then, they asked for the course #, the name of the class, the teacher's name, the day of the class, the time of the class, the start and end dates of the class, and the target age group. Wouldn't they know all this information from just the class number? I mean, they did put together the schedule, right?

Once the form was complete, I attached the check and stuffed the packet into the plastic tub chained to the table. After two weeks, I'll be able to drive back to the education center and look for a piece of paper stuck to their bulletin board to find out if we got into the class. I am not kidding.

They don't mail confirmations. They don't answer phone requests for whether your child got into the class. You can mail your registration to them in the first place, but those forms are reviewed after the walk-ins are processed, so you have a lower chance of getting in, plus you still have to drive over to check the bulletin board for results.

Can't we do this all online?

Yeah, I know that they probably don't have much of a budget, and a working website would cost money. In contrast, there aren't any costs associated with chaining the plastic tub to the table every other month (for them at any rate. For the parents, that's a different matter.) Q likes to jump on their trampoline and sing silly songs, so there we have it. More registrations to come in the future.

In other news, we had a nice family outing at the mall play place tonight. Q was pretty adventurous, climbing into a toy car and crawling through the log tunnel.


Jenny said...

Wow. So do the post the "who got in list" on a chiseled stone tablet ala the Flintstones?

Mary P. said...

Could be worse. I decided it would be fun to register my three 3-year-olds for a class at our local community centre.

When I arrived at the centre, the line-up came out the door, down the steps, and curled about twenty feet up the sidewalk. I kid you not.

Every so often someone would come out of the building with a sheaf of coloured papers, calling "Junior Soccer? Anyone interested in Jr. Soccer?" (Or 'preschool dance', or 'early-bird aerobics') This to increase efficiency once they got in, you see, because the parents of Jr Soccer kids would be given the form to fill out while standing in line...

I stood in line 45 minutes, and had made it INTO the building. Home free, I thought. Then I discovered that the line snaked through the foyer and UP A FLIGHT OF STAIRS!! (Where I discovered from a friend, there were trestle tables with plastic tubs on them - just like in your place!!) Enough already. Saturday is supposed to be my day off.

The boys did not get into the class... Next time I get this brilliant idea, the PARENTS can register them.

Waya said...

WOW! That is backward alright, and in Silicon Valley?! In our town, I can sign up my sons for the town's activities via a phone and everything. And they'll even send me the receipt.

Suzanne said...

Sheesh, and I thought mailing in the application for my town's programs was a low-tech way to go!

Mrs. Davis said...

That's incredible - especially for your part of the country. My son's soccer program is nearly as bad, but at least they ask for our email address when we register (on paper, mailed in with a check). They just never use it.

Lady M said...

Mary P - Wow, a "fun" idea indeed. How on earth did they get through everyone in line?

I really shouldn't complain so much, as Q has fun in his class and it's not that expensive. But, really, it could be easier!

Occidental Girl said...

That's so archaic, and a hassle! I can imagine it, with the parents lining up and their kids. No fun at all.