I've been battling with the French administration system ever since I arrived in France. Their social care cannot be rivaled anywhere else in the world, but getting what you're owed or just simple tasks like asking for a form requires a second life where you have unlimited free time.
I'm currently in logger heads with the CAF (the family allowance service) and they are driving me insane. Hardly a day goes by that they don't ask me for this form or that photocopy, and I'm positive it's just to buy time instead of giving me what I'm owed. It's frustrating as hell itself! This excerpt from one of the Asterix's films sums it up perfectly. You don't need to understand French to understand the nonsense of it all, and although the video is 9 minutes long (an eternity in our high speed world) believe me that is roughly the amount of time you spend in front of the person at the reception desk before them deem to even acknowledge your presence!