Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Losing that Hellish Flavor

In the late, lamented show "Reaper", the Department of Motor Vehicles was one of those places in which you could connect easily to Hell.

Not too surprising. Most folks who have been to a DMV office probably thought they were already in Hell.

I have to give the California DMV full props for turning some of that around.

Last time I renewed my driver's license, I took a good look at my photograph in it and realized I no longer even remotely resembled that photo. A change in (ahem) hairstyle, the disappearance of a beard, a transition from eyeglasses to contacts. All of that kinda made it awkward for those rare occasions when someone needed to match my photo ID against my actual face.

In the interests of keeping my life simple, I made arrangements to get a new photo taken. I even navigated the dreaded pages of the DMV and made an appointment.

See, that. That right there. That is the key to having a positive California DMV experience.

There's two lines at the DMV:
  • The line for the people who make appointments.
  • The line for the people who really need to get a clue.
The day of my appointment, the line was going out the door of the DMV and we into the parking lot. I quickly determined that was the line for walk-ins. The folks with appointments went to a different line.

The appointments line did not quite have a velvet rope, a concierge, and fresh coffee but the feel was infinitely more civilized and easy-going. There were maybe two people ahead of me. A few minutes later, I was chilling in a lobby chair and waiting to see my number come up on the board. A few minutes after that, I was chatting with a friendly and helpful DMV employee.

Yes, that's right. I said "friendly and helpful". I was as shocked as anyone.

A few minutes after that, I was leaving the DMV with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

I'd taken a half-day from work for something that took me fifteen minutes, all-told. I treated myself to a tasty, beer-heavy lunch that day in celebration.

A couple of weeks later, I had a shiny new license with a photograph that looked more like me.

That was also an impressive deal. I recall the DMV taking many weeks (read: months - plural) to mail stuff. These guys had it to me in about ten days, all told.

So, as I mentioned, I recently paid off my car. The bank holding the loan was typically-glacial in processing the paperwork to get the title transferred to me. I bugged them last week to find out what was going on with the pink slip.

I wanted ownership of my Precioussssss settled. Mostly 'cause I was nervous about the paperwork vanishing in the mail.

They assured me the paperwork had gone to the DMV. So I politely thanked the helpful rep and added another month to my wait.

Less than a week later, I got the pink slip in the mail from the DMV.

Bravo, California DMV! I honestly sing your praises now. You are no longer a gateway to hell, in my book.

Though perhaps it's my Pastafarian association that gains me special favor? It might simply be that they give preferrential treatment to the ministry? Hard to say.

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