DC + DMV = The Suck

When was the last time you heard someone say, “I went to the DMV today. It was awesome! Boy they really know what they’re doing there. What a top notch, professional operation.”

It amazes me that DMV’s across the country can be so consistently bad and the butt of so many jokes. To compound things, DC has only two main offices to choose from, the inspection center in SE or the office in Georgetown. Either way, you can bank on long lines, Soup Nazi style employees (“No registration for you!”), and something going wrong.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs
My task seemed simple enough: I received a letter in the mail saying that I needed to renew my registration however I could not do it online (make a mental note of that). I figured it was because I bought the car one year ago and the car dealer handled the registration then, so maybe they wanted me to come in person this year.

So I left work early Friday and decided to go to the Georgetown office in hopes that the line would be shorter. Boy was I wrong. I had to wait 30 minutes just to be assigned a number so that I could wait in line again for another 45 minutes. I laughed when I read my ticket: “Estimated wait time: 10 minutes.” That’s like the hostess at Matchbox saying you can get a table in 30 minutes.

While I waited, I was fascinated by all of the different walks of life. In one chair was a girl wearing an outfit that probably cost $1,000. In the chair next to her was a girl whose car probably cost $1,000. Regardless of your class, you’re still forced to wait in line and be miserable like everyone else.

Finally, after sitting in a paranoid state for 45 minutes (“Did they call my number? Did I miss it?”), my number was called. I thought to myself, “This should only take 5 minutes. I’ll be home in time to find a parking place and life will be good.”

Then I met the Registration Nazi. After 5 minutes of “tappety-tap-tapping” on her computer she said, “You had a lapse in your insurance.” I asked, “On which car?” “Your 1998 Honda Accord,” the car that I traded in for my current car. I explained to her that the insurance lapse was after I traded it in so it was the dealer’s fault, not mine. Needless to say she wouldn’t renew my registration until I could prove that. “No registration for you! Next!”

As a guy who works in the IT field, I now realized why my letter said that I could not renew online. My name was flagged due to their belief that I had an insurance lapse. Why couldn’t they have said that in the letter?! “You may not renew your registration online due to an insurance lapse on a 1998 Honda Accord.” At least then I could have gone in with some proof. Instead I had to go home and return the following Monday with the sales receipt for my car.

On Monday I was still paranoid that my documented proof may not be good enough for them. After waiting another hour, my trembling hand gave her my paperwork and amazingly…she cleared my record and renewed my registration. I gasped and quickly gave her a sloppy French kiss for not making me come back again. “Thank you! Oh thank you Registration Nazi!”

Overall my DMV experience was a huge pain in the ass, one that could have been minimized if the DMV had an intelligent computer system that could notify their citizens appropriately. Instead we must endure hours of being treated like imbeciles.

And the fun doesn’t end there! With my new registration and parking sticker in hand, it’s time to break out the Goo Gone, a razor blade, and a blowtorch in order to get the old sticker off of my windshield. It’s almost easier to install a new windshield than to fight that battle. And don’t even think about simply laying the sticker on your dash either – they’ll ticket you for that, because having the sticker two inches from where it should be is a horrible offense.

Ah, the joys of city living. It almost makes me miss the suburbs.

Photo by Bill Adler

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Hailing from the Mile High City, Max has also lived in Tinsel Town, the Emerald City, as well as the City of Brotherly Love. Now a District resident, he likes to write about cool photos by local photographers, the DC restaurant and bar scene, or anything else that pops into his mind.

Comments are closed.