Tuesday, January 17

DMV, Harbingers of Doom

Okay, so in Maryland it's MVA. I refuse to capitulate. And however you abbreviate it, DMV be damned.

My father gifted us a vehicle. He sent us the title, we filled out the appropriate form, I had the car inspected. Dotted i's, crossed t's, stood in line at the DMV with the omnipresent toddler. When I reached the Document Inspection booth, the nice lady looked over everything I had, then informed me that Maryland does not recognize out-of-state gifts. The registration fee is 5% of the sale price of the car; if the car is gifted, not sold, 5% of the Blue Book value of the car is due. In this case, that's $500. Um, no.

Went home, called Dad requesting notarized bill of sale selling us the car for the princely sum of $1 (and the intention of paying the 5% registration fee in pennies.) One of my sisters became very sick, and during her hospitalization other things understandably fell by the wayside. Several weeks later, the bill of sale arrived, my dad's signature notarized.

Hopped in the car, stood in the 45-minute-long line. Document Inspector Lady #2 reviewed my documents, approved them, and had me stand in yet another line. When I reached the head of that line, the employee examined the bill of sale and informed me that my husband and I also needed to sign the document and have it notarized. (Now, if I am presenting the bill of sale as authentic on my behalf, and it's notarized by the seller, why the hell must I sign it too? Smile and nod.) It would've been nice if Lady #2 had picked up on this minor detail, before sending me to stand in another line. And it would be nice if I were the type of person who could order a burger without some major snafu (like getting chicken nuggets and a drive-thru order-taker arguing with me about what I had ordered. I digress.) As is painfully clear at this point in my life, I am not that type of person. And now I have plans to pay the 5-cent registration fee with my credit card, thus costing them a transaction fee in excess of $1. Mwahahaha.

I go home. Hubby and I rustle up a notary. I return to the DMV today, where I stand in another 45 minute line. Document Lady #3 examines my documents . . . and points to the White-Out on the title. I wrote the zip code in the wrong box, I inform her, and whited it out. White-Out constitutes alteration of the title, she informs me, and voids it. I will need to order a new title from the People's Republic of California.

My jaw drops. Several thoughts are spinning in my head, and the first one that comes out is, "It's just correction tape. It can be scratched right off."

Oh no, she tells me. That's alteration of the document, and it's already null and void.

"Even if it comes right off?" I ask. "What if I take the title, scratch it off, and come back through this line?"

I have offended the morality of the DMV, apparently. No, I can't do that. She would still know. I roll my eyes. "What's your day off?" I ask. She is most decidedly unamused.

The second document inspector at the booth overhears and joins the fun. "You can take it up with the governor," she snaps.

My jaw drops lower. "Excuse me," I say. "I'm not trying to be smarmy. I am frustrated, at this point, because I have now been here several times, and none of the previous three individuals who have checked my documents ever pointed this out. If this were the first time anybody checked and told me this, it would be understandable. But now I have to come back a fourth time-- each time somebody notices something new with the papers and sends me on a fool's errand."

"Quit hollering at me," she says. My jaw goes lower, at this point rivaling a python unhingeing its jaw to enjoy a tasty giraffe. "Ma'am, I'm not hollering, I'm not even raising my voice!" (It was true. I swear.) She waves her hand at me in an unspoken whatever.

"Look, I'm asking you to understand my frustration with your fellow employees, who have now cost me at least 3 extra trips here with a toddler."

"I'm not going to speculate on what may have happened in the past," she responds irritably. So much for any iota of sympathy.

"Fine. I'll just come back a fourth time. Have a wonderful day." I take back my documents and step aside to make room for the next person. As I'm putting away my license, the first lady says, "Let me see your title again."

Thinking maybe she is going to cut me some slack, I hand it back to her, then turn to put my wallet away. She hands me the title again, wordlessly, and I realize I'm S.O.L. I scoop up the kid and head to the car. (On the way out, I am accosted by some individuals with a petition for a certain political cause. So NOT in the mood. I inform them I am on The Other Side and head to my car.)

Once the kid is buckled in, I reach for the title. May as well see just how cleanly that White-Out tape scratches off, just in case I can actually avoid the bureaucratic nightmare that ordering a replacement title from California entails. (I had to order a copy of my birth certificate awhile back-- and that was excruciating enough!)

That's when I realize what the employee had done when she asked to see the title "again." She had circled the "altered" portions in thick red marker, making it impossible even to attempt removal of the White-Out. $*%&!


At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Alicia said...

I can't believe the evil employee did that!
Talk about RUDE!
Hope the next trip goes better.

Sympathetic in the South,


At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! I would be sooo angry.
It is amazing how horrible people can be. Good luck and I hope the next trip is the last :)

At 8:12 PM, Blogger 4HisChurch said...

As a former Marylander, I totally sympathize with you. I would avoid Glen Burnie, DMV (Or MVA or whatever) if I could. Much better to go to the satelllite places if you can!

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows you are not to use whiteout on an official document.
What's wrong with you? I loved your story, all have had a similiar experience. Misery loves company.

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous MarcP said...

Hahahahahh! This was a crackup!

Sorry you had to go through it, but at least it made my Sunday that much more funny! Hheheehheh!

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous val said...

i'd be so frustrated too! i've been through the dmv ringer in wi after i moved here from pa. and in much the same fashion had to make repeated trips before i ended up walking in there with every imaginable form of documentation they could possibly want and told them to "pick whatever in the world they wanted for proof of residency". ;) not to mention each time i've gone the wait was approximately 2 hours long! one time i walked back out after being hit in my 8 month pregnant belly by some people who couldn't speak english trying to cut to the front of the line. (and don't get me started on trying to prove residency and sitting there listening to people who couldn't even utter one word in english somehow managing to get their licensing issues taken care of!)

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My God.

This is the reason why normally fine folks shoot up government buildings.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former Marylander, I totally sympathize with you. I would avoid Glen Burnie, DMV (Or MVA or whatever) if I could. Much better to go to the satelllite places if you can!

I made that mistake! Took me 6 hours and five trips to do exactly what she described- gifted vehicle and all! To top it off, after I got everything sorted out, I realized she hadn't given me my card back. While I was in Hanover. 20 minutes before they closed. I will never deal with that MVA again.


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