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A little over a month ago I cringed when I got my mail from the mailbox and there was that envelope from the Illinois Secretary of State's office (who are the Department of Motor Vehicles in Illinois). First my blood ran cold, then began to heat up as my mind kicked into overdrive and I began to think about ALL the ways that the DMV was going to make my life miserable. Take a number and get in line below the fold.

My blood pressure began to spike when I thought of the sky-high fee I would have to pay!  In my case, since I drive a pick-up truck (for assorted work, handyman and hobby reasons), I would have to shell out the outrageous fee of $99!!!!   Can you believe it!!!  Ninety-nine dollars to drive my vehicle up and down a network of interconnecting roads designed to carry traffic along at maximum speeds!!!  Another example of how the damned government sucks up my hard earned money!

And what do I get for my $99???   The right to drive my truck on a measly  141,700 miles of roads which I have to share with 10.4 million other Illinois drivers and lord knows how many out-of-staters who come just to tear up MY roads!   And those roads even have holes!!!!  There are bumps everywhere!  All summer long those DOT workers get to be outside in the bright sun and warm air.  And  the worst part is  they keep making me slow down when I passed those lazy workers holding their little sign, taking out the busted up parts, digging and installing new concrete.  More of my precious time wasted just because those workers are scared of a cars and trucks going by at 40 or 50 miles an hour.  Most of the time they are like 3 or 4 feet away!  I bet they even pay those lazy bums are making MORE than minimum wage!  I also bet they make a bundle in overtime every winter when all they have to do is drive around in those stupid snowplows all night in the blizzard pushing a little snow off the road, which by the way they don’t do very good at because there was several times last year I had to drive on snow on the roads because they didn’t get it all.  And they are always in my way, going like 30 miles an hour!  You'd think they would only do that when there aren't cars on the road.  Another example of government inefficiency.  Overpaid lazy workers.

So I start thinking about how I am now going to have to drive 6 whole blocks from my office to the that strip mall where they have one of their “convenient” Secretary of State’s license offices and I get even more mad!  Just think how much of MY time that will take!!!  Think how much inconvenience that will be for ME!  Now I know what you’re thinking.  “Why didn’t you just write a check, put in the return envelope and send it in and wait two weeks for the mailman to bring me my sticker?”  I’ll tell you why!  I am not going to let the government use my money to make money for them!!!  If I sent that in as soon as I received it, they would two months to use my money for free and they could invest it and make almost 1% interest off of me!  No Sir!!!  They aren’t using my money for free!  The thought of the government using MY hard earned money just makes my blood boil.  NO WAY!!  I’ll wait until the last possible minute to give them my money!
I would have waited until the last day of December but we’re going to be out of town, I had to go this past week.  So the other day with a great sense of dread (since we all know how rude and awful all government  employees are, because Bill O’Rilley, and Glen Beck and everyone at Fox News, and the Republican candidates, and the tea party leaders tell me so), I headed off to the SOS office.  The closer I got the angrier I got.  I just knew this was going to be awful!!  I pulled into the parking lot at the strip mall and IT WAS FULL!!  OH MY GOD THIS WAS GOING TO BE TERRIBLE!!  I’d be lucky to get back to work at all!    I found a spot and parked, gathered my paperwork and head down, fell into line shuffling along following the heels of the person in front of me and complained to myself about the inefficiency of government!  

Once through the door, I got into line with everyone else.  This was horrible!  I wonder if I will even get this done today…maybe I’ll have to come back tomorrow!  Oh this is very very bad!!  I was brought backed from my despair when a voice directed at me asked, “Hey dude, can you hand me a 12 pack of Bud behind you there?”  Confused, I quickly looked around and realized that  Ihad inadvertently followed the crowd into the liquor store next door to the SOS office (by the way, they had some very nice deals for the holidays.  Note to self: Stop by and pick up some deals on the way out). I handed him a 12 pack and quickly exited the store.  

I quickly walked next door.  With my hand on the door handle I took a deep breath.  THIS WAS GOING TO BE BAD!   If the liquor store... an actual business was that busy, can you imagine what a inefficient government office was going to be like.  I’d be lucky to be out of here by Friday.  I glanced at my watch:  10:53.  This was going to be bad!  

I walked through the door, stopped and surveyed the situation.  To my right was the counter for vehicle titles, licenses and transfers.  The next numbered tag hanging on the “take a number” board was 8.  This is going to be bad!  I glanced at the electronic  “now serving “ sign.  The number displayed was 7.  

I looked at the counter right in front of me where the driver’s license lines were.  One of those rude incompetent government employees was sitting behind the counter and smiled at me and asked if I needed to renew my license.

“ummm no…..I need my sticker”  I replied.  

The attendant pointed to my left and smiled. “Step right over there and they’ll take care of you!”  he said cheerfully as he signaled  to the person who had just walked up behind me to step to the counter.   DAMN I WAS GETTING THE RUNAROUND!!!  MORE GOVERNMENT INEFFICIENCY AND RUDENESS!!!  Once again my blood began to boil!

I fell into line.  This was going to be bad!  The person ahead of me stepped up to the counter to the attendant on the left.  The attendant on the right smiled and signaled me to step up to the counter.  She greeted me cheerfully and took my renewal form from my hand, slid it into  her machine and hit a couple of keys.  I began to write the check.  As I finished writing “Secretary of State” into the “to” blank, she slide the completed form and sticker across the counter at me and patiently waited.  I finished writing the check and handed it to her.  She said “Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day!”.
I mumbled a thank you and quickly left the building.  

Standing on the sidewalk I glanced at my watch: 10:54:30.  Fuming, I walked to my truck and got in.  Ninety seconds!  Ninety seconds of my life I’ll never get back because of government waste and inefficiency………Ninety seconds?  I thought about the cheerful greetings and politeness from the employees.  But Bill O and Glen and Mitt and Rick and everyone has told me how inefficient and rude  and just plain evil government was.  My blood began to boil again.  How dare they be efficient!!  How dare they be friendly and courteous!   It was surely a trick to throw me off guard!  How can I be outraged at government inefficiency if they aren’t inefficient!  I was outraged!!

Originally posted to Hard to Port on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.


How would you rate your last trip to the DMV

39%31 votes
33%26 votes
3%3 votes
5%4 votes
3%3 votes
8%7 votes
5%4 votes

| 78 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  New Jersey is notoriously bad. (5+ / 0-)

    srsly bad. Better than it used to be back in the agent days, though.

  •  Funny. Here in Maryland I don't have any (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hard to Port, BachFan, dsteffen

    problems with the DMV, which we call the MVA.

    "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

    by Timaeus on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:52:23 AM PST

  •  it's really funny to think of but Cali is or was (5+ / 0-)

    just like your nightmare while Arizona has the quickest and easiest process with friendly agents and no hassles.....

    Liberal state, DMV hell
    Conservative state, smooth and easy operation....

    Now with the current budget nightmares it has become a little slower here as some offices have closed but still better than any time I went in Cali......

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:54:09 AM PST

    •  My son just moved to California. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, BachFan, dsteffen

      He has  a pickup and evidently all pickups are considered commerical vehicles in Cali so he had to have it weighed and several other things.  He described a hellish process also.  I wonder if it has anything to do with things like the emissions inspections, commercial applications, etc, which means more paperwork, which means more hassles, more misunderstandings, frustration etc.  

      Actually, having been there to see people actually yell at the DMV people over stuff that was their own fault, not the DMV, I wonder how they do  it without punching the customers out.

      •  here I do almost everything online anymore (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hard to Port, BachFan, bnasley, dsteffen

        only have to go to the MVD if I bought a new car.....

        Even temp tags and stuff can be done online....regular tags, just send payment via ck or cc and the tag is in the mail......

        The one problem I've ever had here is a almost class 16 Bug that I picked up years ago and need to drag down for an inspection before I can tag it.....I had it inspected but on the wrong form so it needs done again from an abandoned to a bonded title.......

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:12:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hard to Port, dsteffen, buddabelly

      My last session with the ADOT MVD (Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division) only lasted about 15 minutes.

      The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth. - William O. Douglas

      by PSzymeczek on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:18:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cali has made improvements.. (5+ / 0-)

    ... including the ability to do many transactions online, easily.

    This is quite different (and pleasant) compared to many years before when you HAD to go there in person for many things.

    Renewing registration stickers has been a solid profit center for AAA because of how slow/bad the DMV offices were performing this service.

    Online access to these services has helped.

    For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

    by dagnome on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:59:01 AM PST

    •  Good experience with Cal DMV (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hard to Port, dsteffen, JeffW

      I'm old enough to remember the "old" DMV, back in the days before you could do 80% of your transactions on line. You'd always end up in line with 350 people who were just there to pay their annual registrations or some equally routine task. I recently had a fairly positive experience with them:

      I purchased a 1968 BSA that had been sitting under a tarp in someone's back yard for the last 25 years, and I wanted to title it. The only documentation I had was a handwritten bill of sale and an unsigned title (the owner of record had long since disappeared). I knew the DMV would require that the engine and frame numbers be validated by the Highway Patrol, so I had that done first. I got all the forms on line and filled them out. Next -- and I think this is key -- I took advantage of the fact that DMV publishes wait times on line: I found the local office that typically had the shortest wait times. I showed up at that office just as they opened. In spite of my spotty documentation, I was in and out in 25 minutes, and most of that time was spent by the clerk trying to convince the computer that "BSA" was a legitimate brand (they went out of business 39 years ago).

      At least California will let you do sort of thing. Apparently some DMV's back east won't title a vehicle that doesn't have a 13-character VIN, which pretty much excludes any motorcycle built prior to 1974 or therabouts.

  •  Our DMV used to a nightmare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hard to Port, BachFan, dsteffen

    they reorganized the entire system a few years ago and now it's a breeze. Renewing a license used to take hours is now a 30 min affair if I go to the main office, If I go to one of those express places it's even less and yes everyone is very helpful and friendly. I still hate the fees though.

    El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. The people united will never be defeated

    by mint julep on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:59:59 AM PST

  •  Great snark, but you can renew online, too (also). (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Hard to Port, BachFan, dsteffen

    Cyberdrive Illinois

    If you don't mind the $2.25 fee, it's a snap.

  •  I live near the Elston Avenue office... (5+ / 0-)

    ...and can walk there if the weather isn't too bad. YMMV.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:15:41 AM PST

  •  Fun rant (5+ / 0-)

    I had to renew my license; my old one was 6 years ago and 100lbs heavier (Not that I'm sylph-like now or anything).

    They built a new license branch right in my town so I decided to get up to get there right as they opened. Altho the little parking lot seemed full, I came to realize that most of the cars were employee's. So at 8:30am on the nose they opened the door and those of us waiting on the stoop flowed in, got our numbers and went immediately to agents. I was in and out in about 15 minutes and that included taking a new license picture.

    They have a choice in this state of either visiting a license branch, of which there aren't many left, renewing on-line, or renewing with an AAA office, but that's just state-centrally located. I'm happy they built the branch here.

  •  My last trip to the dmv was to replace my license (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hard to Port, BachFan, bnasley, dsteffen

    somehow lost between going through security at an airport and arriving home.

    I made the apppointment online, drove to the office a mile or so from my workplace, went to the window at the appointed moment (minutes after arriving, having no trouble finding a space in the dmv lot), wrote my check, had my fingerprint electronically scanned, received my temporary license, and went back to work.

    The whole business at the dmv probably took 5 minutes.

    And my new license arrived within a very few days.

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:27:44 AM PST

  •  The BMV in Maine I have had great (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hard to Port, dsteffen

    experiences with. Last Winter, I lost my front plate, so I had to go down and order a replacement. I asked the clerk if there was any way I could get a temporary replacement plate so I didn't get stopped by the police. She said "well, we don't normally do that but since you go downtown a lot, I'll do it for you. I wouldn't want to get stopped, either".

    There are very few offices of the BMV in Maine HOWEVER: I can renew my registration and license at my town hall. So, we rarely have to go in except in a few circumstances.

    Capitalism may be our enemy, but it is also our teacher. --V.I. Lenin

    by commonmass on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:37:45 AM PST

  •  I built a tiny trailer from a kit . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb, Hard to Port, dsteffen

    When I got the kit in the mail I took the paperwork to the dmv and asked if I could register my trailer with the paperwork I had in hand , they looked at the papers I had and said I could register it if I put the trailer together .
    I put it all together and went back to the DMV .
    It is so small I can pick it up off the ground by myself .
    I went back and forth with the DMV , they told me it was not ever going to get a plate , that I should return the kit to the place I bought it , that I should get in contact with the people who made the kit , etc etc etc . I had to take pictures and send them in to the main office in the capitol . I had to have the special investigator investigate the trailer . I had to fill out a complaint and sign it so the investigator could investigate . One clerk would say one thing , the next clerk would say the opposite , I spent more time and effort getting a plate for the trailer than the trailer is worth .  

    At the local dmv I had to wait in a long line to get a number and then wait about an hour to get to a clerk . I did that wait many times . A few times when I got to the clerk all the clerk would say is basically "go away".

    I bought a used van , I took all the paperwork to the dmv ,
    I was told by the dmv that they could not register the van , it was impossible . The paperwork I had was all from California , the plates on the van were from California , the seller was from California , I was in California and they told me it was impossible , they had no record of the van in their system . They told me to go away .
    I went back to the guy who sold it to me and told him about the problems , he said he knew someone who worked at a dmv office a few towns away and he would try over there . He got it done by knowing somebody .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:46:49 AM PST

    •  registering home-made and kit vehicles (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dsteffen, JeffW

      can be a challenge depending on the state.  I know several people who made trailers and got them registered.  Not sure what paperwork was involved.

      •  Here in California (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hard to Port, dsteffen

        there are two paths that can be used .
        One path is that the kit comes with a vin number
        another is that the dmv will give it a vin number .

        I started down the path of them giving a vin number ,
        I filled out the forms for that path , they rejected my paperwork and said that I needed to use the number from the manufacture but that the number that was on the trailer from the manufacture was worthless and could not be used .
        I filled out the forms they wanted me to fill out for the path I did not want to go down and then they said it was impossible . We went around and around and around , after many trips back and forth to the dmv I was at the very last step , I was told to take all my paperwork and pay for the plates , when after waiting for my clerk to call my number I got up to the clerk , he asked me what was going on , I told yet another clerk all about the trailer and all it took to get all the paperwork / photos / investigations etc etc etc , he told me I would have to start all over and go down the other path , the path I wanted to go down from the start .
        I explained to him that I wanted to go down that path from the start but that his fellow clerks had told me that the forms he wanted me to use were unacceptable , I told him I still had the filled out forms in my car , I told him that I would go out to the car and get them , he told me to go get them . When I got back from the parking lot I was told I had to get back in line because I had left the building . I had to wait in the first line to get a number so that I could wait for my number to be called . I explained that I needed to go back to the clerk I was just talking to and they said that I needed to go to whatever clerk called my number .
        I finally got back to the last clerk I had been talking to by just waiting until he was free , I just walked up to him uncalled for . I showed him the paperwork that had been rejected at the start , he said he had to talk to his boss , he took all the paperwork to his boss and they went over it . The clerk got the boss to take responsibility for approving the issuing of a plate and vin number for my tiny little trailer . I paid and was told to take my trailer back to the outside inspection area and someone would come out and put the vin number on my trailer . I waited for someone to come out , when someone finally did I was asked all sorts of questions , that clerk spotted the bogus factory vin number and didn't want to put another vin number on a trailer that already had a vin number . So I got to go over the whole story again from the top about the whole tiny trailer registration . When I convinced that clerk that it wasn't a stolen trailer etc etc etc he decided to put the vin number sticker on , but he didn't just put it on , he scrapped off the paint down to bare metal , this is a trailer that I spent some time and effort to put multiple coats of paint on .    

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:54:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My renewal comes in the mail. I put in a check and (3+ / 0-)

    slap on a stamp. Bingo. Done! Also, $78 for two years!

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:40:50 AM PST

  •  I think I told you about... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Calamity Jean, Hard to Port experience with the Cook County Clerk's office in Chicago before.  

    Mrs. d had to have a copy of our marriage license to prove to her retirement system that I was her husband, or something.  We could have done it by mail but we were going to be in Chicago for a conference she was attending, and one of my assignments while she was conferring was to go to the clerk's office a few blocks away and get a copy of the license.  I had dutifully printed off the form from the clerk's website and filled it out in advance.

    I headed to the clerks office first thing in the morning, to allow myself plenty of time to do battle in the belly of the bureaucratic beast.  I walked through the doors.  The guy at the door directed me to a counter where I could fill out the forms, but when I showed him I already had mine filled out, he directed me to another line, with only one ahead of me, who finished up just seconds later.  I stepped up, told the lady what I needed, handed her my form and payment.  She took the form and money and  typed something in to her computer terminal.  

    I was just about to ask her if I should wait or come back later and pick up the copy, when she abruptly turned around and walked to back of her workspace, grabbed a paper off a printer, turned around, came back and plopped it on the counter in front of me with a "Thank you,  Next!", and I was back on the street about two minutes after I walked in.

    Really crushed my preconceived notions of Cook county bureaucratic incompetence.  I've never forgiven them.

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

    by dsteffen on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:25:56 PM PST

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