Sunday, February 20, 2011

Right-wing assholes and the DMV

Every time I go in to the DMV, the workers are professional, they're polite, they do their jobs competently, they get me fixed up and out of there without undue fuss and muss. The place is clearly understaffed for the job they do, but everybody I see is making do and getting the job done in a workmanlike manner.

Yet you listen to the right-wing assholes and DMV workers are lazy, rude, spend most of their time standing around gossiping, and treat the customers like crap. But I'll tell ya a secret about why there's such a difference between my experience at the DMV and the experience of right-wing assholes at the DMV. It's real simple. The right-wing assholes are ASSHOLES. And if you treat a DMV employee like shit, like these right-wing assholes do, they'll treat *you* like shit too -- they'll lose your paperwork, require you to leave and go get stuff certified, or simply disappear into a backroom somewhere and leave you standing there while they take a long-overdue coffee break. That's why right-wing assholes are always complaining about the DMV... because DMV workers deal with hundreds of people every day, they're doing a thankless job that has to be done, and they just don't have the time of day for assholes. You go in there with an attitude, you get one back. It's that simple.

But right-wing assholes never get the point that the problem is *them*, not the DMV. You'd think that they'd get a clue, but such a sense of unwarranted entitlement seems to preclude such a clue...

One of the things that I like best about working in private industry now rather than government, aside from the pay (which is five times more than I ever made as a government employee) is that I don't have to deal with assholes. If an asshole starts demanding things of me, I tell him to go fuck himself and get his ass out of my business. A government employee doesn't have that luxury, the whole point of being a public employee is that you gotta serve all the public, unlike a private business where you can refuse service to anybody who's an asshole. But that don't make public employees robots, yo. You treat them like shit, well. What the fuck do you expect anyhow, that they'll just bend over for ya and say "thank you sir, give me more"?!

-- Badtux the Former Government Worker Penguin


  1. You know, my experience with the DMV is similar to yours. Sure, the lines are long, but the people have been polite and have done their jobs well.

    Having to deal with the public is hell. I couldn't do it. But my experience is if you treat a person with respect, they generally treat you with respect also.

  2. The worst experiences I've ever had at the DMV were listening to the asshats yelling and screaming at the person behind the counter. I don't think they would pay me ENOUGH to work at the DMV.

  3. Sorry, Tux, but my experience at DMV is radically opposite to yours, including stints in NY (both city and White Plains, but not Poughkeepsie), Nevada (Reno), Oregon (Portland) and California (Santa Rosa, Berkeley and Pasadena).

    I will say that I'm NEVER less than scrupulously polite, and I have been jerked around in a manner that Kramer would have been excited to see.

    Oh, yes, and and the woman at Santa Rosa DMV who could not read the eye chart on the machine, nor the one behind the counter? She was escorted BEHIND the counter to see the chart up close.

    It's not even close to accurate to characterize the critics of DMV as right wing assholes.

  4. That's interesting, Yogi. My experiences with the DMV are: Houston TX, Lafayette LA, Coushatta LA, Ringgold LA, Wilmington NC, Phoenix AZ, San Jose CA, Santa Clara CA. The only time I ever had issues was when assholes in the Lege passed new requirements I didn't know about, like when I sold a motorcycle in Louisiana, the guy I sold it to didn't bother registering it until months later, and the State dinged me a fine for not having the motorcycle insured (this was right after mandatory insurance requirements came about ... yeppers, a ton of years ago). I had to get that cleared by the State Police before I could get my driver's license renewed. Other than that, not a problem...

    One thing I'll note is that recently there's been far less reason for me to interact with the DMV at all, since most stuff is done via the Internet now. The last time I visited the DMV was when I got my Tuxjeep license plates, and that was mostly done online, with only the final appointment once the plates were manufactured to swap plates at the DMV (and the appointment was also made on the Intenret). My number got called within 5 minutes of the appointment time. Didn't even get to be late to work (I'd scheduled for first thing in the morning). Bummer!

    - Badtux the Drivin' Penguin

  5. What?! No Primus video for this one?

    That aside, I wouldn't say it is just a-holes that get treated like an a-hole. Often times all you have to be is the guy next-in-line behind the jerk...

  6. The only bad experience I've ever had at a DMV office was one that was run so badly that it was chaos. Other than that, the only thing bad was the waiting because they were understaffed. I'm a nice person who is always polite. Assholes are usually treated like assholes. In public or private sector, I generally get service as good as as circumstances allow.

  7. You know what tighty-whitey-righties don't like about the DMV? They have to get in the same line with grubby coloured people. And they can't bribe their way into preferred treatment. So they bitch.

  8. Here in ole Alabam things are still arcane, you go in to renew your drivers license and they do everything but give you the new license. You get a paper copy and they mail you the permanent one.
    You would think they would put the plastic printing machines in every county license office. But noooo, they have to send them to Montgomery.
    Otherwise,they do a good job, even for the lilly white south.

  9. Back in when I was living in Okla., the tag agencies were private enterprises, contracted to the state - and service was *horrible*. Six months pregnant, and they left me standing for almost 20 minutes while they sat and gossiped back and forth, and I was the only customer there! That was the worst of the experiences, but other visits usually weren't much better.

    Up here in Wisconsin, the tag agencies are run by the state, and (with one or two exceptions), the employees at the two locations within 30 miles of us are friendly, helpful and efficient.

  10. Additional note: at drivers licence agencies in Australia and Canada, we were treated politely even though we were new immigrants with licenses from foreign countries, which posed slight bureaucratic problems. Our fellow drivers didn't act the fool, because the cultural norms in those countries value politeness, unlike the rude nation the U.S. has become now. Although I do remember one woman in Melbourne having an epic, tearful meltdown because her husband had killed himself and there was some hangup with her paperwork -- don't remember the details. It was painful to watch, she was so broken up. The counter help was not rude, but they were unfortunately unyielding because their hands were tied by some kinda red tape shackles.

  11. Badtux the kick Penguin! You rock!

  12. I had to get my license renewed in August. And I had to do it on a Saturday -- the worst day of the week to do this sort of thing. But in spite of the insanely long queue, everything went pretty smoothly. I just waited patiently until my number was called, did everything the woman with the camera told me to do, paid the fee, thanked her, and went on my merry way.

    About a week later, I got my new license in the mail. It's odd how that works nowadays -- they give you a piece of paper at the DMV that says you have a valid license. The last time I got it renewed, they were still doing it all on site the same day.

    I don't think I could handle a job like that. We're understaffed and overworked at the place I currently work, but I for one don't have to deal directly with the customers; I just work with the same co-workers each day, and we all get along well. I think I'd rather keep doing what I'm doing...

  13. Said it before, the ugly american has come home to roost.
    In the navy I visited a number of foreign ports and some guys would always complain after liberty that the people were all assholes. I would always ask what country they visited because where I went people were fantastic. People were always friendly, most spoke english (40 yrs ago!) and I thoroughly enjoyed my shore time.
    I have turned around the behind the counter asshole who is at the end of their shift and has been putting up with assholes all day. Be a little self-deprecating and pleasant, don't ask for what you don't truly deserve and respect the other persons humanity and what do you know it works. Been upgraded to first class, put on much earlier planes and the like just by being, well nice.


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