Tuesday, I was at the Dept. of Public Safety, Driver’s License office.
Yes, the dreaded DMV.
Normally I never have a long wait. The office is small and out of the mainstream, so it’s usually quiet. The longest I have ever had to wait was maybe 30 minutes. In retrospect, I have never waited long at any DMV office. I hear the agonizing stories from friends near and far, and I wondered why I had such good luck in my experiences with the government entity in charge of your identification.
I wonder no more.
You see, back in the old days, circa 2012, one would go into the office, pick a number, and proceed to wait until their number was called. It was a simple procedure and it was designed to service everyone regardless of reason. If you were there to take a test, you had to take a number, then be called, then they would issue you another number and you would go wait in another area to take your written or driving test. Simple and straightforward.
Yesterday, I went in with Son to get his driver’s permit. I walk in and find a new contraption in the number dispenser’s place.
Well, ok….. Son takes a number and we are instructed to look for our approximate waiting time on the NEW AND IMPROVED BOARD. The new board is divided into four groups: renewals/ replacements, driving test, new DL or ID, and “other”. And we realize that in a room of maybe 16 people, our wait time is almost three hours. At this time my Spock ears started twitching because there was a metric ton of logic missing from that estimate. So I began to converse with those waiting in
Hell line. One lady had been there for two hours already, for a renewal. A young man was the ONLY one in line for a driver’s test, which the board said would be in five minutes, for the last hour. Something was off, but in my experience sugar is always better than vinegar. Unless you are making sauerkraut, I guess. I look around and see a sign for appointments, so I asked one of the DMV workers if they took appointments. And thus clarity began to form.
It turns out that office recently began to take appointments. You call and make an appointment for a certain day and time, and walk in when you are ready. But the website is ALSO taking appointments, without the co-ordination of the actual office workers taking phone appointments. So in the quest to make things easier for people who can’t or wish not to wait, the appointments are lumped in the “first come, first serve” basis even if you aren’t there. So someone that has a 9:00 AM appointment will be ahead of the person who came in and took a ticket at 8:05 AM. Before, if you needed to do anything at the DMV, you had to come in and wait your turn like everyone else. Now, not so much. The young man who was told he would only wait for another five minutes? He left after almost a three hour wait.
I’m not against technology or progress, but I am definitely in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp. This is why I still use stationery and am scouring the flea market for a typewriter and a rotary phone ;)