Before I get too far into this I just wanted to mention that I think bad service is a universal condition when it comes to the DMV. Clearly I'm not alone in this thought process because it's the butt of many jokes. I grew up in LA and you always hated going to the DMV because the service was terrible, the people working there were complete jerks, and they just seemed to enjoy making your life miserable. Since they were government workers, or something along those lines, they had job security and didn't seem to answer to anyone. Because of this fact, they could treat you any way they pleased with impunity, and somehow they relished this role.
Since we moved to New England my experiences with the DMV have improved. They seem a little more cordial, though things can still move at a snail's pace. Then again, what's the big hurry? What's been really nice up here is that mom and I have been able to renew our licenses through the mail, sparing us from having to spend the day at the DMV waiting in lines. I love it. Just recently, however, we had to visit the DMV once again to address some situations with our own children, and were denied. The cycle begins again.
In all fairness we handled the situation poorly, so the fault lay with us. We paid for our ignorance, but like everything in life, the lessons you learn the hard way are the ones you never forget. We (N and I) were to meet mom and A at the DMV after his camp, and then mom would head off to work while we dealt with DMV stuff. They went earlier and the lines were so long that they had about a 2 hour wait, so instead of sitting there wasting time, they went to get lunch and that's where we met up. Mom went to work and I took the kids to the DMV, hoping that the lines were smaller, which they were. Their number was long past so we took a new one and sat and waited. A helpful woman overheard us talking and said that if you were taking the driving exam you didn't need a number but instead needed to stand in the permit line. Sure enough, the said on the wall said as much. Our number was about 30 minutes away, so we thanked her and stood in line.
Interestingly, while there several of A's friends showed up, which makes sense because they are all of that age. After speaking with them it suddenly dawned on us that we might have had to have made an appointment, which we didn't. Oh well, we thought, let's just wing it. Unfortunately, when we got to the front of the line, which for the record was slow, he told us that we did in fact need an appointment, but there was a chance that they could squeeze us in if they had time at the end. We figured we were there so we might as well wait. Meanwhile, our number came up and A had the brilliant idea of using that opportunity to make an appointment in the near future. What a great plan.
Originally mom and A had tried to make an appointment but they couldn't get through, so they figured they'd just come in and deal with it. This, it turns out, was a bad idea, but we didn't learn this until it was too late. I had thought that we should wait and see if they could squeeze us in, but that meant about 1.5 hours of waiting. A's plan was much better: let's take advantage of the fact that we could make an appointment in person, and then get the heck out of there. The guy who was helping us also indicated that there was a slim chance, if any, that we'd get squeezed in. That's all we needed to hear.
So we made an appointment. It was a little tricky because we didn't have our calendar with us to choose the optimal day, and for whatever reason the schedule for the DMV satellite office changes from week to week. How crazy is that? I actually had to call mom to check if certain days would work, and I could see the guy behind the desk just wanted me out of his life. Finally, with an appointment in hand, we got out of there and went home.
All things considered it wasn't as painful as my experiences with the DMV in LA, but it was still an incredibly inefficient process. Unfortunately it's something we all have to deal with so you have to simply live and learn, usually the hard way.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jason Parker for the pic.