20 Comments

  1. I never really got the disdain for the DMV workers. A few times I’ve gone and had to deal with long lines, but it never seemed to be the fault of the DMV workers – they always were going at a good clip, there were just a lot of people for them to process.

    This comic makes even less sense, because it uses the disdain for the speed at the DMV, as an excuse to slam DMV workers for things that, AFAIK, they don’t really have a reputation for. “Crushing dreams”? “Terrorizing masses”? They process some paperwork and give you your driver’s license.

  2. Right. This plays to the stereotype.

    Not DMV, but in other bureaucracies, I’ve gotten excellent service by treating people as people. It’s the bureaucracy that’s the enemy, and often of both me and the employee.

  3. Also, Godzilla is not evil. He is a force of nature.Can a hurricane be evil? Also, Godzilla started as a strong anti-nuclear statement, coming as it did shortly after the Occupation ended and during the age of pell mell atomic testing. https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/6648-godzilla-s-conscience-the-monstrous-humanism-of-ishiro-honda

    If you really want to explore Godzilla, from serious to silly and enjoy great supplemental features, this looks an amazing set:
    https://www.criterion.com/boxsets/2648-godzilla-the-showa-era-films-1954-1975

  4. Arthur, my advice for dealing with a little person in a bureaucracy is to be nice. If you’re entitled to something, you’ll get it, since you’re entitled to it. No point being a jerk. If it’s something you’re not entitled to but is in their discretion, you’re not going to get it if you’re not nice. That was the way I dealt with clients. And, as you pointed out, no matter how much you think you hate my employer, I hate them much, much more. Give me the inclination and the opportunity for even the tiniest victory over them and I’ll gladly take it.

    I’m glad those days are behind me.

  5. I haven’t needed to go the License Office (not DMV in Missouri) for a while, as driver’s license renewals are six years now, and I can renew plates online if I don’t dawdle too much. I do have the problem of a non-Real-ID-compliant license, but I’m not that worried about it. If I need to fly before it expires I’ll get one then.I haven’t flown in over ten years. I don’t like airplanes (not afraid, just don’t like them).

  6. Now that Reptar on Ice has finished, Reptar needs to find a new profession.

  7. @Dan Sachs: yes, the letters should be reversed. Also, the DMV is a government agency, and I believe in most states hires based on exam scores, not reading a CV.

    And I have had zero bad experiences with DVM personnel in over 40 years of having a driver’s license. They can be busy sometimes, but so what? So can a toy store at Christmas–that doesn’t mean I hate retail clerks.

  8. The error in the lettering is the least of this cartoonist’s problems. This seems to be a pretty cheap example of DMV bashing, and Godzilla’s characteristics don’t really fit to the problems that people usually have with typical DMV personnel. The one characteristic that Godzilla actually has that would really fit to the people I met during my last DMV (actually “MVA”) visit would be unusable in a family newspaper: Godzilla is Japanese (or rather “of foreign extraction”). Writing something so blatantly racist would be unlikely to get past any newspaper comics editor, but the fact remains: most of the employees working the front line windows at the office I visited spoke English with a noticeable accent (although none of them were Japanese, as far as I could tell).

  9. Sounds like we have it easy in the UK. Driving licences are renewed every ten years and you can do it online if you have a current passport*; or failing that in a post office geared up for that (not every village post office can); and if you are changing your name or title, for instance, you must do apply by post. https://www.gov.uk/renew-driving-licence

    Car number (registration) plates just belong to the car and don’t ever need to be “renewed”, if I understand that term correctly.

    We do have to take the car in for an annual MOT test (Ministry of Transport) at an approved garage. This requirement kicks in once the car is over three years old but, oddly, once it gets to be 40 years old it no longer needs an MOT test (“However, each time you tax your historic vehicle (even if you don’t pay a fee), you’ll have to declare it meets the rules for not needing an MOT” – and you have to keep it roadworthy).

    * The passport and driving licence use the same photo, until one or the other need updating. So my passport needed renewing last year, with a new photo. When my driving licence needs renewing in 2022 I’ll apply online and the authorities will hoick my passport photo off the database and apply it to my driving licence.

  10. It’s almost never the employee. But a bad system can mean that the employee deals with angry people all day, and after a bit, the employee also gets a bit surly.

    In my old town, they changed the system at the DMV. There’s no slow-moving long line, and you sit while you wait instead of standing on line. And the result is that EVERYbody is nicer.

    The fish stinks from the head.

  11. In the past few years, my state’s DMV/Drivers License Office (colloquially called the DPS Office, as they were run by the Department of Public Safety for many years) has taken to creating new offices in long-empty big box stores in major metro areas (the one nearest to me was a Super K Mart that closed in the early 2000s) and hiring enough folks to fill that space. This has reduced wait time dramatically. Whereas I once arrived an hour before the office open to find a line wrapping around much of the building, I can now reserve a place in line online and show up at the time they tell me they will be available to help me… which is something I don’t even do because that time has never been more than 10 minutes when I have needed to go and I live more than 10 minutes away.

  12. Well, I’m glad to report that my DMV strives to live up to the negative stereotype in every way, from the top down to the individual employee: there are not enough of them, nor are they open long enough at convenient times, leading to long lines and the need to take a day off work. Once there, the employees can’t seem to grasp the concept that while they do the arbitrary tasks and hoops of their procedure every day, the average person they are snarling at for being an idiot for not hopping on one foot and then patting their head while rubbing their stomach only come to the DMV on average of once every six years or so, and the silly rituals they insist on have most assuredly changed in that time, even if you do happen to remember them from last time. But surliness is not enough, they also strive to be incompetent — they will invariably give you incomplete or incorrect information about what forms of ID you need. Conveniently, they have an entirely separate person to check and tell you the ID requirements, so that you can go home, get the proper ID, come back, stand in the REALLY long line now (OK, you have a number and can sit, big whoop, when your number is 11 and they are currently serving 37…), only to get to the head of the line and be told you are missing some vital piece of ID. (This happened to both me and my wife, and it was over a year between our visits, and the piece of ID they failed to tell you was missing was different (I happened to be able to pull something from my wallet, but my wife had to return home for hers)!)
    They have to keep a cop in the place, he directs the initial inquiry into what line you need to join, I don’t know if that’s an official capacity, or just something he does to keep from going stark raving mad from the boredom — imagine having to hang out at the DMV every day! — but either way, I don’t remember ever seeing a cop at the DMV in my old state where the DMV was in a rural town, you could see fields out the window, there was never a line, and it was so low stress they made a point of hiring disabled people to run it (real actual people with disabilities, not a snarky reference to the types who work at my current DMV). I kept my old license for as long as I could, long after there was any doubt that I was really living in my new state; driving 2 hours to my old DMV was still an efficient use of my time compared to the DMV 5 minutes from home….

  13. I probably shouldn’t share this, as it’s my secret to success at the DMV, but a worker there told me that the best days to come were when it was raining or very cold. She said there were usually no lines on those days.

  14. When I got my RealID license, the DMV website very clearly said what types of ID I had to bring. I made an appointment, got in a few minutes early, and was out with my new license all ready to go 15 minutes after the appointment time.
    Far more efficient and friendly than most department stores I’ve been at.
    But if you don’t bother to check what ID you need and don’t bother to make an appointment I could see it might be a pain.

  15. License Offices in Missouri are odd. They are a combination of government facility and small business (at least the fee offices). Some person or entity has the franchise and collects various fees attached to the transactions. The franchises used to be patronage plums, so a new governor (especially party change) could result in an office getting a new “owner”. Nowadays they bid them out.

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