So Wrong: Putting the “Crazy” in “Bureaucracy”!

This morning my calendar dutifully reminded me I needed to renew the registration on my car. I figured it should be fairly easy to renew it either in person or online.

Apparently, I figured wrong. Why? Because the government’s involved.

Phone: [Computer Voice]

“Welcome to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Our office hours are Monday through Friday [etc.]….Our offices are located in [list of cities and towns]…Please select from the following options [from a huge list of options]…”

Me: [After listening for 30 seconds, pressed the option for Vehicle Registrations]

Phone: [Computer Voice]

“Our offices are open by appointment only. To obtain, change, or renew a vehicle registration please visit our website at [name of website]. Press zero to return to the main menu, or hang up.”


  • Visited the motor vehicle department’s website, where I learned appointments can be made to obtain, cancel, or change a registration but not to renew one, which must be done online.

  • At the Registration Renewal Page, entered my Name, Address, Date of Birth, and Driver’s License Number.

  • Computer reports I cannot renew my registration because of an outstanding property tax on the vehicle.

  • Called my local City Hall.

Phone: [Computer Voice]

“Welcome to the [City Name] City Hall. Our office hours are Monday through Friday….Please select the following options [from a large list of options]…”

Me: [After listening for 15 seconds, pressed the option for the Dept. of Tax Collection]

Tax Collector: “How may I help you?”

Me: “I tried to renew my car registration but the motor vehicle department says I have an outstanding tax payment on my car.”

Tax Collector: “Ok, I’ll look that up. Please give me your Name & Address.” (which I did) My records show you are fully paid up on your tax assessments for all your vehicles.”

Me: “That’s what I thought. When was the tax bill due on my vehicles?”

Tax Collector: “Hold on please…it was due December 31st, 2020″

Me: “And when was the tax bill paid?”

Tax Collector: “It was paid December 22nd, 2020, by personal check.”

Me: “And the check cleared?”

Tax Collector: “Yes, it cleared on the January 8th, 2021.”

Me: “And when did you inform the motor vehicle department that the bill was paid?”

Tax Collector: “Well sir, since the bill was paid by personal check we don’t inform the motor vehicle department until you contact us to check the status of payment.

Me: [Incredulous] “You’re kidding, right?”

Tax Collector: “No sir, that’s procedure. We’ll update our system and it should appear in the motor vehicle department’s computers by Monday morning. Thank you for calling the [City Name] City Hall and have a nice day.”


Thanks for Reading! (and, pass the aspirin!)

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