Here in Minnesota we’re required to renew our driver’s license every four years. What should, at most, involve submitting a simple online form requires one to physically go to a licensing center, wait in line, fill out a form, and receive an absurdly large piece of paper that you have to carry around for the next month until your new license arrives by snail mail. What makes this process even more miserable is that the only criteria that seems to be on a licensing center’s application is “Are you a miserable fuck who will take out your misery on our customers?”
I had to visit two licensing centers. The first one I visited is a licensing center I had visiting a few years ago to get a passport. While its website claimed it did passports when I finally got to talk to an employee, after waiting for half an hour in line, I was told that the center no longer does passports. This time I decided I would ask the information desk before waiting in line. Instead of answering my simple question the lady working the information desk simply kept repeating, “Sir, you’ll have to take a number.” It would have taken no time to say either “Yes” or “No”. But she’s a government employee and has no motivation to provide customer service since I am legally required to do business with her employer. Needless to say I wasn’t going to wait for half an hour to ask a question just so I could wait for another half an hour to get my stupid license so I went elsewhere.
The second licensing center wasn’t a whole lot better. Fortunately the lady working at the information desk wasn’t a total dipshit and handed me a driver’s license renewal form to fill out. Why I have to fill out a physical form when they could simply pull up my information and ask if there are any changes that need to be made is beyond me. But I filled it out and was given a number. From there I proceeded to wait… and wait… and wait. When my number was finally called I had the fun of forking over the renewal fee (licenses only exist to extract wealth from people so there’s always a fee attached), waiting for five minutes while the clerk entered the information I wrote on the form into the computer, doing an absurd vision test, and getting my picture taken all so I could receive my new license in two to four weeks.
Licensing centers are perfect examples of government idiocy. Customer service is nonexistent and their technology is never updated to improve the process. Any sane place would have simply brought up the data that’s already in the database, asked if anything has changed, made any needed changes, and printed out a new license on the spot. Instead you’re subjected to the same process that has been used since driver’s licenses became a thing, which doesn’t scale with population growth. Physical forms have to be filled out, even though your data is already in their database, only so a clerk can reenter that data into their database. Instead of receiving your new license on the spot you have to carry around a giant carbon copy of the form you filled out, complete with your social security number printed on it, for a few weeks while somebody somewhere prints your license and mail it to you. But the worst part is the rude employees who seem to enjoy their tiny bit of power far too much. If you’re lucky you might find a licensing center that employs a decent human being or two. However, since you’re required to do business with them, there’s no motivation by the State to reprimand or fire rude employees so they become the norm.
Licensing centers truly are some of the vilest places on Earth.