Monday, December 7, 2009

Lunch Break: Part 3

Sorry for the delay.

16. I get to the county tax office, walk into the building, and it is complete and total mayhem. If you saw last week's episode of Parks and Recreation, its just like the 4th floor of their building. People waiting in line to pay traffic tickets, coming in and out of the court room, screaming babies, prostitutes everywhere, people selling "clean" urine, vending machines, vct floors that always look dirty no matter how many times they've been cleaned, and lots of tattoos and facial/body hair everywhere on everyone. Is it a federal law that in all government building restrooms: urinals have to hang off the wall with a slow trickle of water coming from the pipes (not enough to merit being fixed of course, just enough to cover the floor of the bathroom in a thin layer of plumbing water and 2-ply), the bathrooms have to be scented with human filth, the stall doors have not be non-existent or hanging half-off the hinges, soap and towel dispensers are always empty, and the sink countertops always have unidentifiable stains on them? No, I'm not describing the Velvet Melvin, its your local government office. But don't worry, I'm sure when government takes over health care those offices and clinics will be run much better than all of the other government offices.

17. So I find the department I need and of course there is a line. If there is one thing you can always count on at a government office, its a line. So I take my place in the long line of despair and hopelessness that is the change of title and registration line. As a side note, every other country calls this a que and they have them everywhere for everything. Call it a que, call it a line, but standing in front of and behind a bunch of other smelly people in a maze of velvet ropes is inhuman and horrible. So once again, in true government office style, let me describe the awesome system they have at this office:

a. 20 check out counters, only 10 are manned (or womaned). All of them are behind glass windows probably to protect them from people like me who they know are going to snap one day. (perhaps they should have saved the money from building 10 extra empty counters/windows and put some more money into their restroom rennovations)

b. 1 person is standing in the lobby directing traffic (even though there is only 1 maze, I mean line, I mean que.). If you remember, the post office use to have a traffic direction person in their lobbies, that was until they got to the point of bankrupty due to....oh what was it, what was the reason the post office sucks, oh yeah now I remember, because they are government run and inefficient. Don't worry, health care will be better.

c. I soon realize why this person is directing traffic. Apparently this department handles registration renewals and title changes. And they have arbitrarily allotted 6 of the windows to registration and 4 to title changes, but keep in mind that the work area, people, and computers are all continuous, there is no separation and each of the employees can do either service. So every 5 minutes or so, this lady undoes the maze/line/que rope and tells whoever is there for registration renewal to go to one of the 6 windows - kind of like a 10 items or less express lane. Whereas they are making the rest of us saps wait in this other line with less employees.

d. You might be thinking, well that doesn't sound like such a bad idea. It works out pretty well at the grocery store. Well here is the kicker. When all of the people in line that were there for registration are done checking out, they don't open up the other 6 windows to the change of title customers, they just sit there with empty windows and blank stares. And at one point, someone else in line had the nerve to ask the traffic direction lady if he could use that window and she says "Do you need to renew your registration?" and he says "no, I have a title change" and she replies with "sir....ahrgedudfydsabvg (sighs loudly)....I'm trying to keep this side clear for registration customers" At this point the 20 or so people in line all look around at each other and at the empty room, a little confused because we are the only customers in the room and there are no other registration customers. About that time, I look up and notice that all 4 sides of this room are covered with their latest ad campaign "Save time, renew online!" So someone please explain to me why they dedicate an express lane to people who haven't figured out how to renew their registration online? I was renewing my vehicle registration online before the internet was even invented! How do they expect to encourage people to do that if they give them express service by coming in person? Not to mention, I did not have the option of a title change online, I had to come in person so shouldn't they give people like me priority?

18. Another side note, have you ever noticed that people who work at government offices always have a huge giaganticmongo thermos of water on their desk? Government office work must be one of the top 5 most dehydrating jobs in the world.

19. So I get closer to the front of the line and overhear part of the conversation between check out lady 3 and customer 18.
C18: "I need registration/title on 3 vehicles, here is the first one"
CO3: "sir, this is for a motorcycle, but you don't have a motorcycle license"
C18: "oh ok, right, well I'm not planning on riding it"
CO3: "sorry sir, I can't give it to you without a motorcycle license"
C18: "oh ok, right, well ok here you go, here is the second one"
CO3: "sir, this is also for a motorcycle"
C18: "you can't do this one either? ok fine, here is the third one"
CO3: "sir, I cannot do it for any motorcycles until you have a license, go get your license and then you can come back"

You can see why this maze was taking me so long.

20. I get even closer and this is what I hear
CO2: "Ok sir, that will be $87.54"
C19: "Here you go"
CO2: "No sir, we don't take credit card, cash or checks only"
C19: "Oh man, I don't have cash or check"
CO2: "Sir, there is an ATM in the lobby, I'll wait" (just to the left of the guy selling urine)

At this point I'm thinking, what an idiot! There are signs up everywhere that say cash or check only and while I think its stupid and they should accept credit card, there are clearly posted signs on every check out window. And now this guy is holding up the entire maze while he runs to the ATM, what a jerk. He finally comes back, pays, and is gone. Finally!!! my turn!!!

21. I'm ready, I have my insurance, my DL, the title, the application for new title, the title transfer form, and the $10 cash gift tax fee. I get to the window, hand her my stuff, and think to myself "I can't believe how long this took, I'm going to be out of here in no time and show all the rest of these people how ridiculous and slow they are!"
CO1: "Ok, sir, that will be $53.92."
Me: "Uhhhh.....but the form says $10??" (at this point, I sighed, but it may or may not have sounded like a wimper)
Co1: "taxes, fees, service charge, urine tax, etc....."
Me: And of course, what are the next words that come out of my mouth? "Do you accept credit card?" hahahaha - I'm such a idiot
CO1: "Sir, there is an ATM in the lobby, I'll wait" (just to the left of the guy selling urine)

22. Moral(s) of the story:

a. I'm too judgemental, I'm no better than anyone else.
b. Even though every government office that I have ever been to is completely disgusting, inefficient, and frustrating, government-run healthcare is going to iron out all of those wrinkles and be really awesome. This way to the express line for all customers needing blood work or your blood pressure checked, we have 250 doctors/nurses ready to help you. This way to the normal line for anyone with cancer, diabetes, or any other serious disease, we have 1 person ready to assist you, assuming you ever make it to the front of the line. By the way, cash or check only.
c. Its fun to call lines, mazes. But stupid to call them ques.


  1. yeah, this ain't france, Bubba. y'all stop callin' them thangs ques.

  2. What is up with those 84 oz water cups, I mean that so they can take a pee break every 10 mins. Oh, and the thing I hate about paying they claim it is cheaper and more efficient for the state...but they also feel that they need to tack on a $2 just because I want to bleed the cash out of you fee.

  3. I'll pay the extra fee everytime if it saves me from going in person. As a matter of fact I wish it was required that you do everything online, everything. And I think they should do away with cash. Debit/Credit only, everywhere.

    I wish you could set up an online account with a grocery store and then when you check out it links through your grocery store discount card and just automatically bills the card you have on file. I'm glad that most tollways are getting rid of the booths, EZ pay lanes only! All of the utility and cable companies should just stop taking checks. Auto-pay or online payment only. No more bills, no more checks, paper-less everything. Save the planet.

    Man, this could be a whole separate blog topic on its own.

    Find your own material Hambone, this one is mine!

  4. Ok so I watched the DMV Parks and Recreation episode which made me appreciate your dilemma even more, especially the guy selling urine. But you have to let go of your Tina Fey thing and watch 30 Rock - so funny! Thanks for the amazingly and sometimes disturbingly descriptive lunch story!