Saturday, February 21, 2009

The DMV is really the Portal to Hell...

There is a TV show that I used to watch. I'd still be watching it except it's on the CW channel which I don't get and, also, it hasn't been on for a while. The show is Reaper. It was about a young man name Sam whose parents had made a deal with Satan and, on his 21st birthday, Sam's soul suddenly belonged to Satan. It's a funny show. Sam's work for Satan is that he has to capture demons who've escaped from hell. However, the best part of the show is that when he captured the demon, the dropoff point was the DMV because it was the gateway to hell.

I am here to tell you that I firmly belive that, perhaps, the DMV is the portal to hell. Every time I have to go, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, to try to be nice so that they will be nice in return. Unfortunately, trying to be pleasant at the DMV is a virtual impossibility. They might as well leave a sign above the door that says "Abandon all Hope, Ye who Enter Here."

You see, today, I had to go to the DMV. You'll probably remember from my earlier post this week that I've been waiting for my vehicle title to arrive in Ohio so I can register my car here. Well, the good news was my title had arrived from California. So, upon my discovery that the DMV is open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on a Saturday, I was overjoyed to think that perhaps I would no longer have to worry about getting pulled over or even arrested for driving with expired plates.

This was not to be. I got up early, navigated through freezing rain and slick roads to go to the DMV. Last night, I had pulled up the list of what I needed. I made sure I had way more than the required documents, just in case. The primary form of ID that the DMV needs to register you is a driver's license. Then, the secondary form has to be something that verifies your social security number. So, they list things such as: Employer ID, Health Insurance Card, Credit Card and Tax Form. So, I took all of those things along with my green card and my passport.

So, imagine my dismay when the extremely rude lady at the desk tells me that none of those will work because the social security number is NOT printed on any of my ID cards. I pulled out my tax form. "No," she says, "That's not from the government." So I show her the fact that it's a 1040 form, it has my social security number on it, that I actually was smart enough to bring forms from several years and from both Ohio and California. No, still not enough. Apparently, the tax form to which they're referring is that old-fashioned paper booklet that they mail to you with a label on it.

Now, in case you haven't noticed, we're in an economic crisis. We are all encouraged to do our part for the environment thus we're encouraged to do everything online, especially our taxes. I have e-filed for at least the past five years as have the majority of the working world, I would venture to guess. While there are people who still sit down with their cheap-paper booklet and a pencil, gathering their W-2's, I don't think there are too many. I did my taxes with H&R Block, the only form I have is the one I took to the DMV. It's the one that was filed, the one that the government approved to give me my refund so why isn't that good enough?

I argue this with the lady for several minutes. She talks to her co-employees who all adamently say no, that will not work, it MUST be the paper form that I'm mailed. So I show her all of the cards I have. None of them will help because they don't have my SSN on them. So I say, still somewhat politely, that nowadays, identity theft is so rampant that it's not really a good idea to print the SSN on identifying documents. She shrugged. She said I could use a credit card but it had to have my SSN on it. WHO IN THE WORLD HAS A CREDIT CARD WITH A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON IT??????

So, then I try another method. I show her the credit application and the subsequent approval that allowed me to buy my car in the first place, it, too, has my SSN on it. Nope, not one of the listed documents.

By this point, I was angry and upset. The website does not say anywhere the the SSN must be displayed, only that I had to bring documents that would show my identity. You may wonder why I didn't just show my Social Security Card. Sadly, I don't have it. I know I need to replace it but I haven't had chance because, you see, my plates have expired on my car and I have seriously been trying for two months to fix that.

So, I ask the lady if there's anything I can do to make it legal to drive my car. I was told I can get a temporary 30-day plate. Nope, for this, I have to have my social security number. By this point, I was livid and trying very hard not to pull a Christian Bale on her. So I said, "'re telling me I should drive illegally, even though I'm doing everything I can to be a good citizen." She blinks and said, 'Sorry. You could borrow a car." If I hadn't been so upset and thinking quickly, I should have asked to borrow hers. Of course, that would be illegal since I wouldn't be insured but I get the feeling she wouldn't care.

So, by this time, I was upset and just plain infuriated. I understand that people have to do their job. I understand there are always rules to follow. I understand that there are policies and procedures. Yet, sometimes, people are helpful anyway. Take, for example, the employees of airlines who have to man the desks during bad times at airports. They deal with angry, delayed customers. With these employees, I always remind myself that it's not their fault the planes are delayed or cancelled and though it would be easy to yell at them, there's no point. Being nice to them always works to my benefit because they're just doing their jobs.

The DMV is different. I seriously do think the employees there are trained to be as vague and rude as possible. Even when I pointed out that neither the list I had nor the list on their website said that an out-of-state driver's license was worthless as far as using it for a primary identification purpose. Their list does not state that I had to have a booklet from the government in order to use my taxes as ID, it does not say the credit card has to have an SSN on it. Even when I pointed out that nobody uses them as an ID number anymore, that did nothing. The horrid lady even suggested I bring in medical records. Great idea! Because I want the DMV people to have that kind of information about my life! Also, they all use MEDICAL RECORD NUMBERS now, not SSNs!

Obviously, I am angry. I am also still driving illegally. Apparently, if I get a copy of my school transcripts (official, of course), I can use those. I have them somewhere in a box in my apartment. I've also been told to go get a new Social Security card. Um, yes, I will...once I can drive the distance without being paranoid about getting pulled over. It's a catch-22.

So, after my experiences today, I can safely say that Reaper was onto something. The DMV is, perhaps a portal to hell.

The DMV has wondered why their reputation is so bad. It's because the attitudes and helpfulness of the employees are awful. Seriously, at the moment, you'd think they'd be happy they have a job when so many of the people they deal with aren't that fortunate. But, alas, I don't think this is the case. If I were being my normal, non-angry self, I'd say that maybe the employee helping me was just having a bad day. However, I don't think that was the case. I know they have a job to do, I know they have procedures but when their procedures are so fuzzy anyway and they won't bend an inch.

And so, I will try again on Monday, Official School Transcripts in hand. I know they have my SSN on them because that used to be our student ID numbers. Wish me luck...

Happy Saturday...

2 comments: said...

We just got that law in Oregon too and I hate it. It should be against the law for anyone who is not paying you to get your SSN number.

Anyways, I thought I'd tell you Reaper returns on March 3rd, and if you can't watch the episodes live, you can get them at the CW's website, but you can also get them here at youtube. I've also got the promos listed too, there have been 4 so far for the new season.

Thanks! Hope your next visit goes better.

Samantha Elliott said...

That is truly distressing, but at least you got a fantastic blog post out of the experience?

Seriously, though, I worked on a military base as a civilian...don't even get me started about hoop-jumping.