Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Facts vs. Spin

Here are the facts:

Either I lost in the move, or the post office lost during my forwarded mail fiasco, my car registration and year sticker. In order to get a replacement, I scheduled a DMV appointment online. My appointment was for 3:30 today.

I arrived at the DMV at about 3:25 today. There were two lines: a longer one, for walk-ins, and a shorter one, for those with appointments (or disabilities). I was seen by the lady at the counter at 3:32. I explained what I was there for and she gave me a number; when my number appeared on one of the several monitors around the room, I would be told which available window to go to.

At approximately 3:56 I was called to Window #2. I explained my situation to the lady there, gave her the forms I had filled out, and she typed some information into the computer and gave me a temporary registration card and a new sticker. I walked out the door at 4:00.

Spin #1: What an inefficient bureaucratic nightmare! I scheduled an appointment for 3:30; I didn't realize that all that did was let me into the short line, where I got a number and had to wait again! And wait I did, for another 24 minutes! Calling that an "appointment" is really a misnomer. Two waits! DMV has been in operation for decades; is this the best they can do?

Spin #2: Considering the dozens of walk-ins that were in line, getting an appointment and getting in the shorter line, with only a few people ahead of me, was really a smart idea. And when I was assigned my number and waiting, I didn't see any DMV employees lounging about--they appeared quite busy. How could they not, with at least 100 people waiting for help? And both of the ladies who helped me were extremely courteous and friendly, not at all like the stereotypical government employee you hear so much about. And the best news? I didn't even have to pay to replace my lost registration or sticker!

See how two very different reactions can be drawn from the same situation?


The Smack said...

My Driver's License is going to expire soon, posing a challenge to someone trying to renew from out of state. It would be awfully difficult for me to head home for the privilege of waiting in two lines. But the DMV surprised me, I was forwarded a piece of mail in which I was told I could renew online. So sitting here looking at Eagle's Peak I sent them my $25 and it was done. I was thoroughly impressed by how quick and easy the whole process was. It is popular to rag on the DMV, but I have to disagree from my experiences thus far.

Darren said...

With my 7+ years out of California in the military, I never once had a problem renewing my driver's license, reregistering my pickup, or voting. And those were the days before the internet!