“The car won’t be officially mine until I do a title transfer. Ugh. A trip to the DMV is not my idea of fun. I wonder if should just show up early instead of setting an appointment?” I ask my friend.
“Don’t do it,” he says, “It’s better to set an appointment, otherwise you’ll be there until you grow old. Just go to their website and set the appointment. You’ll be glad you did.”
“Ugh. The soonest there’s an opening is two weeks away!” I cry. “Seriously, don’t you think I should just show up?”
“No. Set the appointment. You know the DMV is notorious for long lines. “
So, I took his advice. My appointment was for Thursday, March 14th at 2:30 pm.
I arrived to the DMV at 2:20 to find 20 people in the non-appointment line and 1 person in the appointment line. And there was a little old man, gray hair, bony arms, thick glasses, slow as molasses, responsible for handing out numbers to both lines. To my relief and surprise, called me next.
I figured he’d give me a number and the forms to fill out, but instead, after handing me the forms, told me to come back to the appointment line when I was done. Why he didn’t just give me a number then, I’ll never know. I guess that’s the DMV system. Inefficiency at its best! It took less than 5 minutes for me to fill out the forms, but by the time I got back in line, the appointment line had increased in size to about 5 people in front of me, and the non-appointment line was out the door. It was now 2:30, but I wasn’t worried. I figured he’d alternate between the two lines, calling from the appointment line then the non-appointment line.
When the little old man called, “Next in the appointment line, please,” a man in a rumpled suit started to complain. He was second in the non-appointment line.
“What?! I’ve been standing here for 10 minutes! That’s so unfair! He’s taking the people with appointments first. He’s going to take all of them (he points to us) before you (he says to the guy in front of him). Do you think that’s fair?”
The man in front of him says nothing.
“I think he alternates between the lines,” I say to rumpled-suit man, hoping to calm him down, but his voice continues to get louder with each complaint. He turns to the people behind him and complains. He turns to the woman in front of me and complains. Finally, he bullies the boy at the head of the appointment line to let him go first. Meekly, the boy nods.
“I’m in a hurry,” says rumpled-suit man. “No offense to you,” he says to the man in front of him, “but I’m in a hurry. I thought I’d be out of of here by 3 pm.”
The man in front of him calmly says, “That’s not right. I’m in a hurry, too. We are all in a hurry.”
But rumpled-suit man continues his barrage of complaints. His wife or girlfriend who had been sitting in the waiting room hears his complaints and comes over. The two “discuss” the unfairness, growing louder and louder.
When the little old man calls, “Next in the appointment line please,” rumpled-suit guy tries to get ahead, but is told by the little old man, “No. All people with appointments must be taken care of first.”
You should have seen the look on rumpled-suit guy’s face!
At 2:45, it was my turn. When I got my number, I noticed that he’d given me a non-appointment number, B130. They had just called B120. If I kept that number, I would have to wait for 9 people to be assisted before me. So, I went back to the line and made him aware of the mistake and was given an appointment number A41. The next in line was A40. It took less than 10 minutes for me to get my title changed, the tags paid for, and my address changed. I was out of there by 3 pm.
The moral of the story: Make an appointment next time you need to go to the DMV!