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Press the button!

Press the button!

My UK visa journey started in Germany, and if history taught us anything, it is that you don’t want to be stuck between these two nations. Yes! History does have a point.

I spotted the immigration office easily by a crowd of people in the middle of the sidewalk with their faces clinging the window, as if they are about to reach heaven. They looked so happy while entering, yet shocked while exiting the place. I was totally cool, thinking that I would have a simple check-and-go meeting. Besides, I was going home in two days, so nothing could kill my mood. However, neither of my predictions came true.

After being checked for knives, I was directed to the lady behind the counter.

Robot1 (Takes my passport, scans and returns my documents): “You will get your passport back in 10 to 15 days”.

Me: “I cannot go home without it!”

Robot1 (in monotone): “Then cancel this appointment, go back, register to Germany, schedule new appointment, come back, see you next month.”

Me: “But next month I also need it!”

Robot1: “You can have your passport back in a week” (Turns out I would have to skip three hills, catch a Pokemon, pay extra money, and come back). I said goodbye to my passport, and brokenhearted went to the next immigration person.

Robot2: “Submit your documents.”

Me: “Can you just check…”

Robot2: “Submit your documents.”

Me: “I know, but should I also…”

Robot2 (grabs the documents): “Press the button.”

Me (looking around): “Which button?!”

Robot2: “Press the button!” Me (still not pressing anything and panicking)

And then I saw them! A sad, indifferent, and a smiley (won’t need it) face button in front of me.

Me (pressing the sad face hard)

Robot2: “Thank you for pressing the button, next!”

Flabbergasted and ready to run away, I see my name on the screen, with “Room 5” text.

Me: “Hi.”

Robot3: “Please sit in the chair.” (There are two chairs)

Me: “In which one?”

Robot3: “Sit in the chair!” Me (sitting down)

Robot3: “In the other one! Look at the camera and say your name” (There are three cameras)

Me (Randomly chose one and said my name)

Robot3: “Give your fingerprints and press the button.” Oh, that poor sad face again.

Robot3: “Thank you for pressing the button, next!”

And, like the rest, I left the building looking shocked and feeling like I just had a glimpse of a horrible robotic future. Few days later, they sent me an email to evaluate my experience. My response was: "Check your goddamn button!”

Irena Boscovic, PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience

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