Feb 222012

Seems my driver’s license expired. Had to go to the DMV.

I went on a Friday afternoon, because that was when I was most easily able to get time off work.

The DMV was crowded with others who, presumably, were mostly also there at a time they could get off work.

I signed in at the front desk, then sat down to play with my phone while waiting my turn. A young lady sat down next to me and proceeded to have a loud, animated conversation on her phone, right in my ear. There were no other empty chairs. I alternated between browsing Reddit and debating whether I would prefer standing in a quiet spot to sitting next to a noisy one with abrupt hand gestures intruding into my personal space. I tried to move the chair over a few inches, but they had been locked together.

The gentleman at the front desk, becoming aware of the mutinous rumblings in the growing throng, made a little announcement from his podium. He told us that the line hadn’t moved in a while because they were in the middle of a shift change. He also mentioned that Monday and Friday afternoons about this time were always busiest, and if we’d come any other day of the week the place would have been nearly empty.

He said this in a way which implied we were all very silly people for choosing to show up when they were going to be busiest. However, I found myself wondering why, if they knew these were going to be their busiest hours, they didn’t schedule more staff and stagger the shift change more intelligently to avoid the backlog.

Later, after doing the eye exam and filling out the forms, I learned that the DMV does not take credit or debit cards. It’s cash or check only. I never carry my checkbook, and I rarely have cash (I tend to spend it as soon as I get it). The lady who administered the test helpfully told me where the closest ATM was, and I ran out to get some cash, came back, waited another fifteen minutes for her to finish with another applicant, and finally paid for my license renewal.

And all the while I kept thinking: if there had been some kind of notice or sign on the door, or the check-in counter, to let me know they only accepted cash or checks, I could have done this during the hour I was waiting in line and saved us both some time.

So I’ve spent about two and a half hours at the DMV, and I’ve already thought of two ways they could improve their customer intake process. It’s not that hard. My perception is that they aren’t interested in improving their process; they’re determined to hold on to their current process until the damn customers all conform to it.

 Posted by at 9:42 pm  Tagged with:

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.