I recently visited the nearby Department of Motor Vehicles office to renew my driver’s license.
My oldest memories of visits to the DMV usually involved walking up to the dispenser on the counter and receiving from it a little piece of paper with a preprinted number on it.
It was a small thing, not more than two inches square, with a perforation to facilitate easy tearing off.
This time, I walked up to a table just outside the door to the office, with an employee seated at it. She had an instruction sheet with a QR code. I stood in line while a guy tried to scan the QR code. It apparently wasn’t working for him, so the woman pointed to the instruction sheet and told him to text this code to that number. He looked at his phone and, although I couldn’t hear precisely what happened, the face he turned toward the employee spoke of disappointment. The woman said, “Okay, I’ll go get you a number.” She went into the office and returned with a Post-It® note that she handed to him.
The next woman in line tried to scan the code, and then said, with an apologetic shrug, “I’m sorry – my battery’s going dead.” The employee responded, “Okay, I’ll go get you a number.” Another trip to the office, and a Post-It® note.
I was next. The instruction sheet with the QR code on it was covered in a somewhat rumpled sheet of plastic, so it was giving my camera a weird reflection, and after i had failed to get a good image for maybe twenty seconds or so, the employee pointed to the next part of the instruction sheet and said, “Text this code to that number.” I texted the code, and then it pinged back an error message that said, “Please provide a ten-digit mobile number or enter a valid code.” I read it to the employee. She said, “Okay, I’ll go get you a number.” Off to the office. Post-It® note.
At this point, I was considering making a comment on the process…maybe saying something like, “You know, I saw a cool thing the other day – it was this little dispenser on a counter, and you walked up to it and it had these numbers on paper, and the paper was perforated, so you’d tear one off. And it was sort of like, you know, a Post-It®, but not sticky.”
I thought, though, that the woman at the table probably doesn’t appreciate smart-alecky customers. So I accepted my Post-It® and said “Thank you.”
Got any smart remarks you’ve wanted to make but haven’t?