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Friday, August 7, 2015

The DMV Nazi

The Department of Motor Vehicles Nazi
No soup for you; 10 days!
 I want to preface this post by saying the people at the NJ Motor Vehicle station are very nice and competent.  I had to renew my car registration today in person as I forgot to mail it in.  I was in line for maybe twenty minutes and left with my registration five minutes after I reached the front of the line.


My experience was prejudiced by MV experiences in past years when the process was run by state workers and not privatized as it is today.

Standing in line, I was reminded of the famous Jerry Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” episode.  If you do not own a TV or only watch PBS, this episode involves a small Manhattan kitchen that served the best soup in the city.  There was always a  long line and if you were not ready with your order, did not have the exact change in hand, did not move quickly to the left or were in any way a disturbance; the proprietor (The Soup Nazi) would snap and refuse to serve you yelling “NO SOUP FOR YOU! Come back, 10 days!” It is a very funny episode.

Waiting in the MV line felt like those waiting for soup.  I had my registration form filled out, but I checked and rechecked it several times for errors or missing information.  I had my check filled out and ready with my phone number and driver’s license numbers on the check.  I had my driver’s license ready and just in case I had my old registration and my proof of insurance at the ready.

During one of my line waiting rechecks, I noticed I made the check out to NJ Motor Vechicle Commission instead of Vehicle.  Panic set in.  I was prepared for “No registration for you; come back, 10 days!” I decided to have cash ready in case she would not accept the imperfectly prepared check.  The cost was $64.50; I only had $65.  Would she tell me “Exact change only, NO registration for you! Come back, 10 days!”

When my turn came I took two carefully monitored steps toward the MV lady.  I remained expressionless and carefully pushed my form and check toward her.  She asked for my driver’s license and I was ready.  I pushed the driver’s license toward her, careful not to make any sudden movement.

She accepted my check, went about her business, printed out my new registration and handed it over to me.  She then took my receipt, crumbled it up and started to throw it away.

“Oh look at me; I almost threw away your receipt.  I’m sorry it is all crumbled up, I don’t know where my mind is.”

“That’s all right, I’ll take it crumpled.  Look, I can flatten it out.  When I get home I’ll iron it; it will be fine.  Just don’t say “NO REGISTRATION FOR YOU!”

“What is wrong with you?...NEXT!”

Sometimes I get lost in my imagination.


  1. Yes, the BMV is much like the Soup Nazi.

    Wow on the privatization!

  2. If I had time, I'd tell you the recent story of my daughter's 3 attempts to get passports for herself, her husband, and 4 kids. With an out-of-state driver's license and one "temporary permit." And a line that forms an hour early outside an office open 9-noon on Saturday that flat out tells you, "No passport for you!" if you show up at, say, 10-ish! Thank God a family of 4 ahead of them (their fourth try) was (again) missing a component. Mine greedily stepped up to snatch that turn before the door slammed shut on the next in line!

  3. We all make mistakes but as a dedicated and courteous public servant, in spite of the undertone of criticism, she kept on about her business and carried on....:)

  4. i renewed mine yesterday. easy peasy sweet country town. :)

  5. If you have four hours to sit and observe, the DMV is almost a comedy around here. Lots of interesting characters.

  6. Last time I renewed my license, our streets had just been renamed, (change of address); I'd had cataract surgery (no glasses needed now), and married women suddenly had to show our birth certificate and marriage license! My legs shook the whole time I stood in line; it all worked out, though. Whew!! Thanks, America, for terrorizing your citizens...

  7. You imagination is a wonderful place to be. I visit your imagination every post you write. This one made me smile.

    Have a fabulous day Cranky. ☺

  8. I may be weird, but I love going to the DMV; great opportunity for people watching :)


  9. I think our privatized DMV changed hands a few years ago. The line used to be out the door; now I step in, step up to the counter, transact my business and leave.

  10. At my age (80 & 11/12) I will probably expire before my license does!!

  11. We know that we will wait, it's a given. The question becomes, do you want to wait for one hour by showing up at 7am to be one of the first in line and thus getting service very early, or do you want to wait two hours or more by showing up later?

    The best part of showing up early is the show the preacher puts on, standing exactly 20 steps away from the building as the law demands, and when you leave, getting to buy a home-made praline from the nice guy who supplements his retirement by making them at home the night before and selling them there every morning. He also stands the required number of feet from the exit door, people go to find him.

    Nobody, that i've ever seen, goes to find the preacher. Poor guy.

  12. I was in Europe when the Soup Nazi episode aired and Mrs. C. told me about it when I returned, claiming it was hysterical. I waited months for it to repeat and when it did I laughed so hard I almost choked. It was worth the wait.

  13. You can't be too careful around those people, although my last several trips have been nearly effortless.

  14. Our local office is almost always empty. Three or four people at most. That's because everybody has to go back home multiple times for documents they have not brought and were never informed to bring until stepping up to the counter. It's a rural area. So most DMV patrons are on the road to or from at any given moment of the business day.


  15. Never had to deal with a demon DMV. The blessing of small town living. You walk in and are waited on immediately.
    I did love the soup Nazi episodes.

  16. Ha - great way to end my week...with a loud laugh reading your soup Nazi analogy. In this family, we loved the soup Nazi episode so much, we still yell at each other "No soup for you!" when somebody messes up or does something wrong.

  17. The soup nazi is one of my favorite episodes. It was a scream. So I was there with you in line :)

  18. That episode of Seinfeld is one of my favorites. And yeah, the DMV can be like that. LOL

  19. I guess your faith in human nature has been restored, at least where the DMV is concerned... smiles.