Bureaucracy

Recently, I went to the DMV in order to renew my car registration, as well as renew my driver’s license. Now, if this were a very tired comedy shtick, I would proceed to complain about how this experience wasted an entire day of mine and destroyed my soul.

Instead, because I try to give things a fair shake, I’ll report the truth. Namely, that the DMV experience (at least in California) is not a soul-destroying experience at all, and is actually much closer to the ideal DMV experience than comedy hacks would have you believe. In the 8 years that I’ve lived in this state, my DMV visits have typically been pretty efficient and without complication, never having to endure more than a 15 minute waiting time.

Part of that is preparation on my part — the California DMV has a "wait time estimator" for each office, and I consult that to choose a time to go over there, minimizing my waiting time. Even taking that into account, though, I don’t feel like my time is wasted at the DMV. The signs in the office are very clear, and the "take-a-number" system keeps things moving smoothly. The employees keep up a steady pace, and I have never had to get into a long discussion or argument about a form, payment, or other issue. Granted, my transactions there have always been pretty straightforward. Yet, I have dealt with many other organizations (which deal with many fewer transactions) that prove to be far more troublesome, so I don’t feel that my praise is unjustified.

All in all, it’s a pretty streamlined bureaucracy now. So, to all comics out there who are starved of material: making fun of the DMV was low-hanging fruit back in the 1990’s. (And yes, that ridicule is certainly a reason why improvements were made.) But it’s probably time to find a new whipping boy…

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