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Tuesday, January 14, 2014



Years ago, in New Jersey, if you had to choose between eating glass, setting your genitals on fire, or going to the Department of Motor Vehicles it would have been a tossup.

You could always count on a wait of two to three hours for the simplest of tasks.  No matter what documentation you had, it was never enough or valid.  No matter what line you waited in, it was always the wrong line.  If you asked the wrong question you would be sent to another line with no chance to clarify.  Whenever you finally found the right line, it would close just before you reached the end.

Years ago in New Jersey, you also had to have your car inspected every year.  The inspection lines, especially if you had a job and could only go on a Saturday, were huge.  The wait was at least 90 minutes.  If your car was over four years old you generally failed inspection.  You would fail for headlight alignment, tire inflation, turn indicator, or exhaust emissions.

You could avoid the 90 minute wait by going to a privately licensed mechanic, but that would cost forty bucks.  Years ago, I never had forty bucks.  I had to spend 90 minutes on a Saturday to find out why my car would fail…they always found something, and then spend several hours adjusting my tire pressure or changing a light, and then go back for another 90 minutes to pass inspection.

To save money, several years ago, the State of NJ decided if you have a new car, you don’t have to have it inspected for four years.  Any other car only needs inspection every two years.  I recently had to run my car through this inspection system.  There was no line.  They did not check my lights, or my breaks, or my horn or my windshield wipers.  They only checked my exhaust emission.  This giant facility which used to test about one million cars a day now tests 75 cars a day and they only test exhaust emissions.  With modern technology, I don’t think they fail anyone except an occasional 1974 Chevy, but they do employ lots of people.  I’m not complaining, but do we really need these facilities? Did we ever need them?

Last month Mrs. C had to renew her license.  She had to go to the DMV.  I went with her and braced myself for a two hour visit in hell. 

There were no lines.

A person greeted us and directed us to the correct line.

The person behind the window was polite.

Mrs. C had her renewed license with a new picture in less than 10 minutes.  What the hell happened?  How was this possible?

Oh! Turns out the system has been privatized.  Seems the threat of competition makes the process a little better than when it is run by bureaucrats who's job is guaranteed.

The New Jersey DMV owes me several days of my life that I will never recover, but I must say their changes are better late than never.


  1. Yep, this is so very true. So very true.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  2. i am laughing. so glad things have improved. :)

  3. It took 90 minutes? That's what I call a bureaucrat in flat out high gear! ;)

    In TX new cars don't have to be inspected for the first 2 years, then it's every year after that. It's always been privatized here, but back when it cost just a few dollars, they always found something that needed fixing, but SURPRISE....they could fix it while you wait....for an additional charge.

    Then they raised the inspection fee to $39 and they all just fly through. Go figure.


  4. How about that. I would rather eat glass, and I'm just not sure how long the genitals would have to burn.

  5. I was pleasantly surprised the last time I went to the Oregon DMV. Food for thought; what are your experiences with the IRS? I was contacted by them a few years back because they wanted to inform me I'd OVERPAID on my taxes. They included a check for four hundred dollars. Similarly to my recent experience with the DMV, I was pleasantly surprised.

  6. Simply amazing, isn't it. Same thing happened in Ohio. It used to be like going to the dentist for a full tooth extraction and now it's like going to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned.

  7. I think you should have included the cartoon I send you!!

  8. The threat of competition tends to move things along very nicely in most cases.

  9. Oh, man. You've just reminded me that my license expires in March. I was happy before I came here. Thanks a lot, Joe.

  10. Privatized?! How can we get in on that?

    Okay, I'll give the DMV credit for improving that massacre that existed years ago, but there are still times when the wait is a little long and the people behind the counter are a little, uh, tired maybe?

  11. LOL It is nice that privatization at least is doing the trick. I know what you mean by wanting your time spent back, my hours and days have been ruined not just for me, but for my three kid's and my husband's trips over at NY state DMV. too.

  12. OMG 90 minutes what the hell...we don't have the inspection care thing in CA but we have a bunch of people who just hate their jobs it is torture to go to DMV I do everything possible on line.

  13. Hah - I can top your story. I just renewed my driver's license online. And we don't have inspections in Florida...anybody can drive any ole unsafe heap o' junk on the roads here.

  14. Thank goodness I still have five years left before I have to renew my driver's license with the most hideous picture ever taken of any person in any DMV in any state.

  15. Wow, seriously? People live in Jersey? I thought it was just a land mass folks drove through to get to the shore ....

    We do most of our DMVing online for similar reasons.

  16. LOL @ Xavier.

    Seems the system is 100% better now.

    I don't drive, so I don't care too much about DMVs.

  17. The other day I helped SD's Mum renew her driving licence on line - after being thrown out of the system twice, being told she was already registered (she isn't), not being able to 'remember' the password she's never had, re-registering and then, at the very end of the form being told she needed her passport number (she doesn't have a passport) it said she would need to renew it by post!

    2 hours of my life I'll never get back ...

  18. I liked the inspections getting the junkers with no brakes off the road but failing for tire pressure is a bit much.
    Small town Arkansas DMV is quick and smile filled. Aah.


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