One thing that almost every company has in common is the top-to-bottom incompetence and unprofessionalism of its Human Resources department. It starts at the top with the phony VP who manages to survive (and even thrive) only because she knows how to manipulate the CEO, all the way down to the lowly HR staff who consistently fucks up even the most mindless of tasks. But despite this astounding incompentence (and the company's tolerance of it), employees outside of HR need to work with and get information from HR. Not maintaining a professional attitude yourself, despite the unprofessionalism of the HR hacks you have to deal with, could have negative consequences on your ability to get your job done.
So my question is this: How do you maintain a functioning working/professional relationship with HR to get the information you need and not cause yourself any harm? Also, do you have any interesting HR incompetence stories to share?