The DMV Isn’t as Bad as You Think

Department of Motor Vehicles is a place often referred to as the dungeon of all evil. The lines are always obnoxiously long; it smells like misery and desperation, not to mention sweat and dirty laundry; everyone is rude and hateful, and you’re almost always bound to be stuck there for several hours. I used to hate going to the DMV for those very reasons, and I know for a fact I’m not the only one.

However, having been to the DMV twice in a matter of the last 4 months, I’m here to report that it’s not always them; sometimes it’s you. I mean sure, they seem have stepped up their game a little over the years in terms of organization and execution but at the end of the day it’s mostly up to you to make your experience there if not a positive one then at least less terrible.

Follow these easy steps and you won’t believe how non-evil DMV can be:

  1. BE PREPARED – How many times have you stood in line for hours just to find out that your paperwork can’t be processed because you’re missing a document or something? How many times were you taken aback by the fact that they don’t accept credit cards and you didn’t bring any cash? And what happens when these obstacles get in your way? You get all mad because now you have to come back and do the whole process over again seeing as how no one is going to hold your place in line. Now your day is ruined and you blame the DMV for it when in fact you should be blaming yourself because you should have done your research. Their website is full of helpful information; you just have to spend a few minutes on finding it. And if you’re too lazy to do the reading, there’s always a phone number to call where they’ll be able to assist you with your specific needs and questions. You don’t even have to sit and wait on hold; with today’s technology you can go on about your day and they call you back when it’s your place in line.
  1. BE NICE – It’s no wonder everyone that works at the DMV looks angry and isn’t generally very pleasant to deal with; look at the people around them! If your job entailed sitting behind the desk for 8 hours, trying to help people that not only make matters worse by not having their shit together but are also rude about it, you’d be angry too. So why not take the first step and just be nice? Take the scowl off your face and acknowledge that they too are human beings who are probably just as annoyed as you are if not more; say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and most importantly, smile. Even if you’re not immediately treated with kindness, simply being nice in return goes a long way. Maybe it’s because they’re not used to that kind of behavior over there but in my personal experience, continuing to be nice has done nothing but help me.
  1. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT – You should always try and make an appointment before you go to the DMV. I used to think that it’s pointless because either way, you come in and stand in line with the rest of those who also have an ‘appointment’. However, if you just show up without one, you’re bound to stand in a much longer, less organized line; so between the two I think it’s safe to say that it’s always best to think ahead. If possible, it’s also highly advised to make the earliest appointment available because that’s when they’re at their cleanest of slates; all the upcoming imbeciles have yet to screw up their work flow so you have a chance to catch them at their most accommodating.

Today, I had the pleasure of waking up much earlier than I normally do. With one eye open, not having had my coffee I dragged my ass to the DMV to pick up my license plates and adjust my registration. My appointment was at 8, but I got there 10 minutes early just in case. From the time I got out of my car, unscrewed my license plates, saw the line wrapping around the building, talked to one of the gentlemen that works there, stood in the line I belonged in, got all my stuff taken care of to the time I was happily heading home, exactly 23 minutes passed. I’m not kidding or exaggerating. It’s all about coming prepared and having a positive attitude.



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