Too Friendly at the DMV?
It's often interesting when the journalists here on the 13th Floor have occasion to interact as private citizens with the state and local governments we ...
It's often interesting when the journalists here on the 13th Floor have occasion to interact as private citizens with the state and local governments we cover--be it jury duty, school board meetings, or as in my case last week, a trip to the DMV.
I left work at noon to take my 15-year-old son to get his learner's driving permit. I wouldn't have missed his first experience with bureaucracy for anything. He spent much of the 3 1/2 hours that we waited in four different lines shaking his head and saying, "It shouldn't take this long."
Eventually, he took--and passed--the "law test." Then, when his number was called to have his paperwork processed, photo taken and fee collected, something unusual happened: We spent some time chatting with a very pleasant employee at Station 14. Indeed, on the way home I realized that during our entire afternoon, we hadn't encountered any of the surly stereotypes typically associated with DMV employees.
I couldn't help but wonder, though, if congenial service had actually contributed to the slow-moving lines. Indeed, in his 2003 article "Who's Afraid of the DMV?", my colleague Jonathan Walters noted, "It is a constant dilemma for DMVs just how customer friendly they can actually afford to be."
Clearly, striking the right balance between efficiency and affability remains an elusive goal.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Why Water in Schools Is So Susceptible to Lead Poisoning10 hours ago
Outside DNC, Philadelphia Takes Down Mississippi's Flag2 hours ago
Virginia Governor Promises to Circumvent Court Orders to Revoke Felons' Voting Rights3 hours ago
Facing Lawsuit, Texas Eases Birth Certificate Policy for U.S.-Born Children of Immigrants3 hours ago
Alaska's Parent-Notification Abortion Law Ruled Unconstitutional4 hours ago
Denied Medical Care, Sick Prisoners Sue Tennessee Officials4 hours ago