When was the last time you dealt with any government entity in a way that didn’t make your ulcer act up or have you ripping your hair out in bunches as you attempt to not scream at underpaid, under-educated government employees?
Do you ever look forward to going to the Department of Motor Vehicles (or Motor Vehicle Division in my state) to get anything done? Or do you put if off until the last second for as long as you can?*
I avoid dealing with the government as much as possible, up to the point where I would rather get my teeth pulled without anesthetic and without insurance, rather than get the government involved in my medical care.
And I remembered exactly why on Friday of last week.
The long weekend was coming up and I was going camping. The only problem was that, unbeknownst to me, my family needed to renew the tags on their camping trailer. It’s a trailer that we’ve owned for longer than I’ve been alive and we’d had it tagged in Arkansas for many years (a state which required no renewal of tags on trailers of that size, nor did they issue titles for them). We, naively, assumed that this would be straightforward and easy to accomplish, so Friday morning we took it to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get an Arizona tag.
Nearly an hour after arriving, our number was called. At the window they looked at our papers and said that the trailer would need to be “inspected”. This inspection was carried out, magically I suppose, since they didn’t ask for the keys to the trailer (which we had brought with us) nor did they ask us to show them that the lights on the trailer were working as required by law.
Whatever I thought, fine.
Then we’re told that, surprise surprise, something is wrong. We don’t have a title for the trailer (remember, Arkansas didn’t issue them and we had bought it from a garage sale 20+ years before) so we would need to leave and take the trailer to get a bond for it, from an insurance company.
At this point we are probably going to be spending more than the trailer is worth to get it registered.
2 hours, 2 insurance offices, and 1 faulty printer later, we finally got the bond and got back to the DMV office.
We sat…again. If this was medical care, I would be dead by now.
We finally got called up to the front and the woman looked at our paperwork and made an “oops” noise.
Never a good sign.
She left for 10 minutes with no explanation and finally returned to drop a bombshell of epic incompetence on us. Somehow, during the first inspection, our trailer had been assigned an identification number that was already registered to someone else. We’d have to get a new one. “Oh and by the way, sorry, but you’ll have to go get a new bond for this vehicle, since the first one was registered to that incorrect ID number.”
By this time we were about to scream and I had to go back out to the car to stop myself from destroying government property with extreme prejudice.
$1 later (yes, they charged us for their incompetence and for doing absolutely no job worth mentioning) we were issued a temporary tag for the trailer so that we could at least use it for the weekend.
At the end of the day (and it was the end of the day, we had to put off our trip until the next morning) we’d spent all day running around and nothing at all had been accomplished, except receiving a stern reminder that government bureaucracy is no one’s friend and we definitely don’t need that in charge of our medical care or insurance.
So next time you think that nationalized healthcare might not be so bad, remember that frustrated feeling of anger you get at the DMV and realize that the extra stress from government red tape will probably just cut 10 years off your life anyway.
*Or, like me, refuse to get a driver’s license because it would mean having to voluntarily go in to the DMV for something? Update: I had to go get a driver’s license. Balls.