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Thursday, September 1, 2011



A trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to change license plates, transfer auto ownership renew a driver permit or take care of anything car, is no fun in any state.  In New Jersey it is pitiful.  Before the NJ DMV operations were privatized, I would have preferred eating glass to going to the DMV.  Privatization has improved things quite a bit.  I would now go to the DMV before I would eat glass.  If the culinary option was worms I would have to think for a moment.
I went to the DMV today to renew a car registration.  Yes I could have just mailed it in, but there were complications due to my recent address change so I decided to play it safe and renew it in person.  As it was the end of the month the office was crowded with people like me who waited until the last minute.   I arrived early, just after the doors opened and stood in a line of about twelve earlier arrivals.  The DMV service and their operational systems are light-years ahead of what they used to be, but the servants behind the counter have not changed.

There has been much talk lately about bullying.  Bullying is a major problem in our society today.  What becomes of the bullied?  Some lose all self-esteem and fail at their every endeavor.  Some cannot take the abuse and commit suicide.  In extreme cases the bullied become workers for the DMV, and they extract retribution!

The line was moving at a snail’s pace when one of the workers left for a coffee break.  A coffee break, mind you, less than a half hour into the working day.  The going on a break process took ten minutes just to pull the cash drawer, count the money, and turn off the computer.  Five minutes later the relief clerk arrived with a new cash drawer.  It took five minutes for him to count out money and set up the cash drawer.  He then proceeded to spray and wipe Lysol on the counter, the money drawer, the computer and his chair all at a pace which reminded one of melting ice in the winter.  He then turned the computer back on.
Fifteen minutes after he arrived Mr. DMV was ready.  “Next,” he called out.  The confused looking senior in front of me walked up to the counter and mumbled something. 

Mr. DMV asked, “Driver’s license please.”  Then he pulled the favorite trick that these once bullied cretins who finally have some power love to pull.  “People….PLEASE HAVE YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE READY BEFORE YOU COME TO THE COUNTER.  Not like this idiot up here!
Mr. DMV asked for some documentation.  The confused old man mumbled something. 


The senior mumbled something.

The old dude mumbled something about being sent here from counter number 8.

“But I was just….I….but…”

I was incensed at how this old man was treated.  Mr. DMV was abrupt, discourteous and had absolutely no respect for this confused senior citizen who clearly needed some extra assistance. 

Fuming, I rushed up to the counter.  I was going to give this jerk a piece of my mind.
But first I gave him my driver’s license, all appropriate documentation, and a check.  He printed out my new registration, I took it and left.

Screw the piece of my mind, I was just ecstatic to be getting outta there!

On my way out I bumped into the old man who was walking in circles and mumbling to himself.  I stopped, grabbed him by the shoulder and pointed him to counter number 8.  “Be sure to have your driver’s license and all documentation ready!” 
I do have some compassion.


  1. You know, I didn't know what DMV was for quite some time. Here in Michigan we go to the Secretary of State office to do all our license/ vehicle chores.

    I despise people that are like the DMV worker you described.... we once had a nurse that was like that and she got quite the piece of my mind (and later apologized).

  2. That poor old guy. Who treats people that way? I think you're right about the bully concept.

    I really like your writing. Got the message about your book and will do!

  3. I could do an entire post on my favorite pet peeve..the DMV Awesome post!!

  4. I had to go to the DMV this year to renew my license. Actually received a letter telling me that was the ONLY way it could be done. I was agitated a month before I even went in because of that letter.

    I went mid morning on a workday, in the hopes of catching that time of day when people are all still at work, too early to take time off to go to the DMV. Before the lunch rush and all that jazz.

    Yeah right. Luckily, the people who worked at the DMV were all very pleasant (and I believe it's still a govt office here in TX). At one point though, a worker went to the front of the waiting area and loudly advised that EVERYONE have everything in hand before approaching the counter. Of course this was for our benefit. My wait time....2 1/2 hours. The time it took to renew my license, take my picture and fix a printer issue? Less than 10 minutes. Not too bad, but I still had to work through a couple of lunches to make up the time.

    Your newest GFC follower from the About a Mom: Wild Wednesday Hop! Looking forward to seeing your wonderful posts! Would love it if you would visit mine :)

  5. Michigan here, too- we go to SOS, which can sometimes be a 3 hour trip, or sometimes be just a 10 minute trip.

    Within the past couple of years, my local one made some changes. When you first enter, you go straight up to a person and 'register'- you tell them why you are there, they make sure you know what you need, then they paper clip everything together. From there, you take a number and wait, but it helps eliminate the confusion of whether or not you have everything before waiting 2 hours to get up to the real people.

    And also, they have a registration tab vending machine. You scan the code on the papers that came in the mail, pay by credit card, and get your tabs, all without getting in any lines.

  6. Seeing all this makes me grateful to live in a very rural county (although I live within 15 minutes of Ft. Worth, I actually live in the county just outside the city). Our DMV rarely takes more than 30 minutes to wait in line and process the entire line and get out and be done with the whole process. I'm not even planning on renewing my license online- I may as well just go to the DMV and have it done! Sad, I'm probably in one of the few places where it's like that! Our DMV probably only has about 15 parking places out front, it's that small. I've never had more than 6 or 7 in front of me in line. Thank you, thank you, thank you, rural county, for being so DMV friendly.


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