Adventures at the DMV {we’re officially NC drivers!}

Aw, don’t we all love visiting the DMV? In Texas, every location seemed like the last I visited. Long lines… unhappy employees… interesting cast of characters… Evidently, it’s the same in North Carolina.

Maybe they all go to an annual convention and brush up on their job skills at break out sessions like “Apathy 101”, “How to Conceal Your Personality”, or, my personal favorite, “How to Make Simple Tasks More Complicated.”

Going to the DMV is something we all must endure at some point and moving is one of those times. I would have probably driven around with my Texas license until an occasion arose that required a NC one but Jason was fairly adament we get them done in a timely manner {and there actually is a law stating you have to apply for one within 60 days}. He’s a rule follower, that handsome hubby of mine, which is one of the reason’s why I married him. He’s so much of a rule follower (and he knows his wife VERY well) that he drug my rear out of bed WAY too early one morning last week so we could go together before work.

Here’s how it went down:

DMV opens at 8am. We get there at 8:15 and there is already a crowd.

Checked in with the very nice (really!) lady at the counter who made sure we had all the right documents and gave us each a number (Fabric store style). A screen at the front of the waiting room flashed the numbers that were next.

We notice a sign that says they accept cash or check only. We have neither. She says we’ll be called quickly so just wait.

I’ve now convinced myself that we’ll be out of here quickly and I’ll have time to stop at Starbucks for a beverage before going into the office.  No cell phone use allowed so I stare intently at the number screen, willing it to change to my number.

10 minutes go by, it doesn’t change.

15 minutes go by, no change.

The employees in the back are just all chillaxing at their desks.

Somebody finally wises up and figures out “Oh wait! I bet something is wrong with the ticket system!”

They try rebooting the computer system. It doesn’t work.

They reboot again. Still doesn’t work.

{each time they reboot, the Windows “system on” sound comes blaring over the speaker system for us to all hear}

Another 10 minutes down and now they have a line of people waiting for a number.

The security guard begins to help process people and he tries to figure out where we left off on numbers. The front desk attendant – GET THIS! – is completely dumbfounded over how to handle the growing line since the number system is down so she asks them to just stand in a line. Literally, a line through the lobby.  The poor guy at the front has already been standing for 40 minutes or so.

The line gets too long so the guard makes the rest of them go outside and stand along the building. This leads to drama because people walking in don’t know why those people are out there so they come in and join the short line inside (thus cutting in front of the 20+ people outside). I won’t lie: watching those people get confronted was entertaining. Hey, I was counting ceiling tiles at this point!

In the meantime, the system keeps getting rebooted and those waiting for the golden ticket a number continue to have to stand. Some guy outside got smart and retrieved a camping chair from his car and is setting up camp iPhone 5 style on the sidewalk. In the meantime, the waiting area is finally cleaning out and we are getting close.

At this point, I’m angry for those poor souls stuck standing for an hour+ while a room full of chairs – in the air conditioning – is available. Can the employees really not grasp the idea of a WAITING LIST. You know, with NAMES on it? I mean, really. Doctors offices don’t have a number system. They make it work! Yet not a soul waiting questioned the employees or asked if they could put their name on a list and sit down.

It’s hilarious to me how willing Americans are to wait in a line. At Disney World, people will line up behind other people just because they think it’s a line for something – not because it actually is. They see a group of people who appear to be in a line and they jump behind them.

My number was finally up so I wobbled my way back and sat down at one of the desks. I would have sworn I had gotten an “employee in training” because of how slow she worked. She studied her screen, hunt and pecked at the keyboard, and seemed confused over what she was there for. She was pleasant, however, so I wasn’t about to get frustrated. Jason was called about 5 minutes later and sat next to me. He had, what I would call, the model employee. Pleasant + Efficient + Competant. My employee in training turned to chit chat with a former colleague that stopped by, discussed lunch plans, and fiddled around while Jason’s zipped through his info and finished with him way before me.

In NC, you have to take a written driving test to apply for a license. I knew this in the back of my mind since Jason had mentioned it but neither one of us Googled, looked through the NC driving laws, or checked out what might be on the test. We both just winged it.

After getting all your info, they assign you a computer for the test. I didn’t realize NC had a points system (TX doesn’t) so I just guessed on any of those questions and easily passed. Jason also easily passed.

When you pass the test, you go wait in another area for the same employee who assigned you the computer to have you come back, sign some stuff, and take your money. Course we didn’t have our money. We should have gone to the ATM in the very beginning of our wait but the front desk lady said we would be called “soon” so we didn’t. They had Jason run to the ATM then and I just waited for him. Thankfully, no biggie.

After paying, you get to choose what background you want on your license (I totally went for the airplane) and then you wait in yet another area for your photo which didn’t take long at all.

All in all, we were there 2 hours start to finish.

But it’s finished!!

And yes, there was still a line outside on the sidewalk when we left.

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2 thoughts on “Adventures at the DMV {we’re officially NC drivers!}

  1. 2 hours? You were lucky! I think Saturday Night Live should do a whole series on this! One of my daughters went to the Arrowwood office (not sure if it is still open), and flunked her test 4 times! She knew all the answers, too. Someone told her to go to the one down Independence in Monroe. They were “nicer.” She did. Passed first try! So, when I had to renew, I went there. Took me less than 20 minutes. That is where I go now, ALWAYS, when I have to go to the DMV! Sorry for your mess. Even sorrier for those who came after you and didn’t have a ticket when the whole thing went boom! ;->

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