Scenes from yesterday’s visit to the Randolph branch of the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Hi. I’m here to renew my driver’s license.”
A brief pause while the DMV woman at the welcome desk scowls.
Six points of identification, ma’am.
“Well, I received this form in the mail, so I have it all filled out plus my current license.”
That’s only two points of identification, ma’am. You need six.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what the points of identification are.”
They’re the same points as when you originally got your license, ma’am.
A brief pause while I try to recall the year 2005.
“I’m sorry, but I failed to memorize the six points of identification the last time I was here. Would you remind me what they are?”
A brief pause while the DMV woman juts out her hip and neck simultaneously, in a display of her intellectual superiority.
Ten minutes in line and four additional points of identification later, a new DMV worker at a new desk.
“Hi. I’m here to renew my driver’s license. These are my six points of identification, and here is the form I received, all filled out and signed.”
You have the wrong Social Security number on your form, ma’am.
“No, that’s my correct Social Security number. I’ve had it for 37 years now.”
Well, it disagrees with the number in my computer. It’s only off by one digit. Can you tell me which digit is wrong?
A brief pause while I attempt to channel Carnac the Great.
Ma’am, if you can’t tell me the Social Security number that is in my computer, we cannot renew your driver’s license.
“Well, it’s not my fault that someone at the DMV made a data entry typo. I have my six points of identification, and I have given you the correct Social Security number. I have signed the form that states the information is correct under penalty of law. I suggest you change the incorrect number in your computer.”
I can only do that if you show me your Social Security card, ma’am. Do you have your card?
Where is your Social Security card, ma’am?
“I don’t think I currently possess a Social Security card.”
You’ve never had a Social Security card, ma’am?
“I’m sure I had one at some point in life, but I don’t have one now.”
A brief pause while the DMV woman mentally judges me an illegal alien.
Here are the directions to the Social Security office, ma’am. Come back when you have a Social Security card to add to your points of identification.
Two hours, incorrect directions, and a drive in the rain to Parsippany later…
“Hi, me again. Still trying to renew my driver’s license. Here is my form, still filled out with the correct Social Security number. Here are my six points of identification. And here are two signed, authorized letters from the Social Security Administration that they say will allow you to correct the typo in your Department of Motor Vehicles computer.”
A brief pause while the DMV woman violently shakes her heavily sprayed mane, as if trying to land a role in a Whitesnake video. She sighs with disgust.
Ma’am, I told you, you need the actual Social Security card. Let me speak to my supervisor.
A brief pause while the DMV woman walks away from her desk, leaving me to contemplate setting it afire.
We’re going to make an exception in your case, ma’am. You have to see the supervisor directly. Just stand in that line right there. The current wait time is about 45 minutes…
For further information, please see the Mission Statement of the NJ Department of Motor Vehicles, whose vision is “to be the model for excellence in motor vehicle services.”