Bureaucracy

I had to do it. I had to go. The dreaded place. The one place in the world none of us would want to go. It's dark there. It smells funny. It's hot. It's cramped. They are rude to you. They are mean to you. They make you follow rules that are...well they just seem arbitrary.

You know where I'm talking about... Anyone over the age of 16 knows exactly where I'm talking about.

Today I went to:

The

B

M

V


AAAAAAAAAAAaaaHHHHHHhhhhhhhh!

I know right?

It couldn't be avoided. We need to get a title, registration, plates and such for our new (to us) van.

So this morning, I dropped my lovely wife off at work and went to visit our friends at the BMV. It was 8:40 a.m. For me, on my day off, I call that "o'dark thirty."

I was ready though, I had some Starbucks. I took my iPod. I had my cell phone to text or maybe even tweet.

My first sign of trouble came when I started to walk from my truck to the building. In HUGE RED LETTERS across the front window: "No Food or Drink."

Sigh! Okay, coffee goes back into the truck. I'm pondering the question of why you can eat or drink at the library where there are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of computers and books, but you can do neither at the BMV where you might spill on ... on... What? The floor? The line divider? Maybe the hard wooden bench or card table chairs they have for some to sit on?

Walking in the door, I noted that the line didn't seem very long. Wow! That's different. Okay, let me just check my cell - Oh, look at that big sign. NO CELLPHONE USE WHATSOEVER - Okay, never mind.

Not even gonna risk the iPod with the short line.

Shortly it was my turn. "Next" came the shout from "Corky." Now, I'm not judging, but "Corky" is your baseball coach, or your bartender. Do you really expect Corky to be the lady behind the counter at the BMV?

"Hi," I said, "I bought a van and I need to get a title, plates, the whole nine yards."

"We don't do titles here," Corky explained. "To get a title you have to go to 1970 Broad Street, where they do titles. Unless you want us to do it, but it won't be ready for two weeks." Corky then handed me directions to 1970 Broad Street.

I couldn't help but wonder how it could take two weeks to get my title from 1970 Broad Street to where we were in Hilliard. Is that a covered wagon trip? Bicycle courier with a lot of breaks in between? Pony Express?

"I can wait," I said which led to this little exchange.

Corky: Do you have plates?

Jim: We have plates.

Corky: From another car?

Jim: No, there are plates on the car from our friends who sold us the van.

Corky: Those are no good as soon as you buy the vehicle. We can sell you a temporary tag while you wait for your title though.

Jim: How much is a temporary tag? (All the while considering gas costs for the obviously long trip to 1970 Broad Street.)

Corky: $10.50.

Jim: Okay, what do we do next?

Corky set about entering whatever she needed to enter in her "not visible to me" computer? I'm guessing.

A young man came to the counter to be helped by the lady next to me. He was playing football at Ohio State he explained (I didn't recognize him. He'll probably win a Heisman or something) and he needed to get his license switched from Florida to Ohio. The woman at the counter told him that he would need his social security card. "Where is your social security card?" She asked. "Um, in Florida." Poor kid, bet he had to go to 1970 Broad Street too. I didn't hear the rest of the transaction clearly.

Another young man approached. (Corky was taking her time.) "I need to get my i.d." he said handing what looked like a photocopied birth record of some sort to the lady. "OH," she said, "this is a photocopy." She then went on a long rant about how it was obviously a photocopy from a scrapbook, and she really wasn't concerned about how it was all the young man had and all his mother had to give him, and NO she could not accept that. She could see notebook marks on it even.

Ouch?

"What color is the vehicle?" (Corky was ready for me again.)

"Champagne," I said. Hey, that's what Netter called it.

"Point to the chart." Corky said, clearly irritated.

Sure enough, on the counter there was a chart for vehicle color. Our van is not champagne at all. It is number 15, tan.

Alrighty then.

Corky asked a co-worker to figure out my sales tax, told me to write my check to Northwest Kiwanis, (not the BMV?) and $265 later I have a piece of cardboard / temporary tag, a certificate of registration, and a promise that in two weeks I can come back and buy my real license plates.

Just waiting on the covered wagon I guess.

8 comments:

cycholibrarian said...

When we first moved to Ohio and went to the BMV to get our Ohio licenses Jessica had quite the run-in with the bureaucracy. She had gotten divorced in Pennsylvania, where at the time rather than issue you a new ID for a name change they gave you an "addendum" in the form of a little paper card with the new information on it. We passed our written tests and took the documents to the license agent across the way to get the licenses. They refused to accept Jessica's "addendum" and told her they would have to issue the license with the last name on the license: that of her ex whom she was quite happy to be rid of. Needless to say she freaked. After a long chat with the State Highway Patrol Lieutenant across the way, which involved a call to headquarters to confirm that yes, the little card with the words "this is an official document" printed on it was in fact an official document (which they couldn't confirm, BTW), we finally convinced them to issue the license in the correct name.

Kathy Hennessy said...

LOL - you SO need to come here. We have found the one DMV that moves quickly. When I needed a new license (I was 14 mo. pregnant with Tesia and looked like a watermelon about to explode) I had to wait a whopping 2 minutes to get my license. I had to wait another 4 minutes while everyone at the place rubbed my belly, so it actually took 10 minutes of my life to be in there. We might be backward here, but we have ONE good DMV!

Cat said...

This crap is the worst part about changing vehicles. I totally feel your pain . . . and I wanna move to wherever Kathy Hennessy lives.

Amy said...

I had to go to the DMV in Washington DC to get a new driver's license when I moved from OH. The city of DC notoriously is a nightmare when it comes to anything bureacratic (Marion Barry was not once but twice voted in as our mayor). I walked into the building and immediately encountered a monstrous line and some instantaneous bad attitudes. A DMV worker walked by and said "Good Morning" to the line of folks as she walked by. Because I was raised in the midwest I responded "Good morning" in my best catholic school girlie way. No one else said a word... The DMV lady scolded everyone for having bad manners and pulled me from the end of the line to the front!! That was a good day - of course I didn't have the exact paperwork I needed and had to come back another day, but that's beside the point.

typealibrarian said...

I recently found out that you can renew your tags online each year. It was one of the best days of my life. No lines, no attitude, no snarky rules posted on hand written signs. I usually take a book with me and stand in line and read. Next thing you know, they will be banning that too. In this case, I know you couldn't avoid the visit in person. Maybe you can use the online option next year to renew the tags that are coming to you by way of Aunt Fannie's Barn. If any place could use a lesson in customer service, it's the BMV. Sorry you had a bad experience, but I usually just walked in expecting it to avoid any disappointment.

Jim Brochowski said...

Love how one story brings out so many.

Cycholibrarian - after reading your story, nothing about mine seems very bad at all.

Butch, Wasn't it a little gross to have the BMV strangers rubbing your belly?

Cat - I want to live where Butch lives too. Oh, I'm sorry. Butch meet Cat, Cat meet Butch. She's my cousin, and I love her to pieces.
Good luck with finding a van Cat.

Amy - You go girl. That is a great story. Your right, having to go back - completely beside the point.

typealibrarian - I'm all about the online. We've renewed our tags for our other cars online the last 2, (maybe even 3 years).

If those BMV (or DMV) folks don't watch out the Internet might make them obsolete.

What do you think?

Liz said...

I once saw an "evolution of man" cartoon that had ended at the BMV - in other words, generations are born, raised and die while you wait in line there.

Jim Brochowski said...

Liz,

The lack of line is what most surprised me about the experience. I just know that when I go back to get the plates it will be out the door. Probably especially since I wrote this post and brought bad BMV mojo on myself.

Yikes!