Take a number, please

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?

28 thoughts on “Take a number, please”

  1. When I am at social gatherings and people find out I am a psychologist, they often joke about my analyzing them. I usually tell them “Only if you pay me”.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. LOL! You’ve gotta wonder why she didn’t just bring a whole stack of post-it notes with her, at this point!

    This is (one of the things) that’s wrong with world today. And I wonder what they would do with those of us who don’t text, or have a smart phone. Well, I guess they’d go and get us a post-it note!

    I hope to remember a smart-alecky comment some time today.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. OT: I finally remembered some cat misbehavior for yesterday’s questions – my first cat, Katten, when I was in high school. My best friend and I would lay out a hand of double solitaire on the living room carpet (not enough room on the dining room table). As soon as it was in place, Katten would get a running start and leap and do a slide worthy of home plate. We usually had to just lock her in the kitchen if we truly wanted to finish a hand.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. One of my pet peeves around town is drivers who don’t comprehend how a 4-way stop works. There’s a commercial (probably for car insurance or something; maybe one of those funny GEICO ads) where two drivers are waving each other through and no one goes, then finally a “little old lady” comes to the intersection, waits, honks her horn at the others, then chugs through at about two mph. That scene could have been filmed in Owatonna.

    I have tons of snide remarks that go unheard to drivers who seem clueless as to the rules of the road. I love to yell inside my car at drivers with gigantic brand-new monster pickup trucks who slow to a crawl to drive over railroad tracks(!!!) so their precious little baby doesn’t get damaged from the vibration. Sheesh! Don’t these yutzes buy these pickup trucks based on the commercials where the truck is LITERALLY climbing a mountain, bouncing over terrain that resembles a bombed-out war zone, or flying through mud and muck at 90 mph just because they can do it??? And they’re worried about a railroad crossing that’s way smoother than some of the potholed roads in town.

    So I say things like, ‘Better slow down even more. You might hurt your truck’s feelings!”

    Or at the 4-way stops: “Let’s all get out, go have some coffee, and discuss the order in which we should proceed through the intersection.”

    Or for the drivers to which 20 mph on a 30 mph street is still dangerously fast: “The cops don’t give you points for good behavior for every mph under the speed limit you go.” Or: “Do you realize you’re contributing to the mental health crisis because everyone driving behind you today is going crazy??”

    And many more unprintable epithets that fog up my windows but let me vent some anger and frustration at every stupid person in the world who has ever annoyed me in even the slightest way during my exemplary, virtually perfect life. 🙂

    Chris in Owatonna (wiping the sarcasm off that last sentence)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Ha! This memory just surfaced, Chris – I was on a double date with a good friend and … who knows who? Wasn’t a pick-up, but the driver of this foursome did exactly what you describe above at the RR Crossing – and Janie piped up: “Why don’t we all get out and carry it across?”

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Driving in Phoenix, AZ would drive you nuts, Chris. 4way stops are really “4 way roll through the intersections.” And on the freeway speeding along at 90 is not unusual. But when they drive that way in the rain they spin out. A rainy traffic day there is like a 12” snowfall at -5 degrees with black ice. There is my snark for the day. Eye roll.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. I love it, Chris! So true! And those huge shiny trucks cost more than my first mortgage! They’re the most unnecessary thing on the planet. A lot of them are parked in driveways here at my condo association in Northfield. They’re used to go to Target a block or two away and they’re almost never dirty. Thanks for the laugh. You aren’t the only one!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A comment about naughty cat behavior–I got back to my friend’s apartment last night after an absolutely trying day that had nothing to do with my friend’s surgery (more on that tomorrow) and I could only find three of her four cats. I was positive that no cat escaped, and searched all over for him. He slithered out from somewhere this morning, so all cats are present and accounted for. My friend worries all the time about the cats escaping the apartment, and I sure didn’t want to lose one of them.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. “Smart” remarks can range from contrary to observational to caustic and I have been guilty of all three and sometimes also withholding them ,even as recently as yesterday. I recognize that there is no clamor for them.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I admire your restraint in not answering back to the lady who got her exercise “running” for post it numbers. But usually we think of clever responses after the event, which probably prevents more damaging consequences. But she did seem oblivious to possible reasons why her system didn’t work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My guess is that she knows that but has her instructions, ineffectual as they have proven to be, and is just putting in her time. Efficiency is above her pay grade.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Just now returned from the DMV. Here in Ohio you check in at a kiosk by entering your cell phone number and touching a screen that lists a variety of reasons why you’ve come. In a matter of seconds you get a text with your wait number.
    “Now serving v188 at window number 1”
    I did a little dance of joy.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I’m happy to report that the vast majority of my smartass remarks remain unspoken. They are not representative of my best self, so I do my best to curtail them. That said, I confess that most of those thoughts are unkind, and would most definitely not improve the situation if spoken out loud.

    I do recall one comment that I made while waiting in line at the post office right before Christmas. Here’s the scenario: There were seven people already in line when I arrived, several of them with multiple packages, and only one of the three “service” stations was open. Several people could be heard chatting and laughing in the back of the post office. After waiting, more or less patiently, for a bout five minutes without any progress in line, I finally piped up: “Do you think it would be possible to request that someone open another “window?” I asked, and added “I can hear there are people in the back who seem to have plenty of time.” “They’re supervisors” came the response from the clerk at the open window. “And that means they’re not supposed to work?” I pressed on. Several people in line turned to look and see who had the audacity to pursue the issue, obviously I was making everyone uncomfortable. To her credit, at that point the clerk pressed a buzzer under the counter, and within a minute or two the two remaining windows were opened. I couldn’t believe it, lunch hour right before Christmas, and the post office management couldn’t figure out that they needed all hands on deck until someone complained about it. As one of the people in front of me left after sending his package, he made a point of nodding to me and say “thanks,” but he wasn’t about to rock the boat himself.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Yes, I might be the world’s worst snark-er, but I usually keep it to myself. The thought is there but I dare not. As PJ said, many snarky comments are unkind and people are unusually sensitive. In some cases highly sensitive, or even overly sensitive.

    I struggle with this mostly at work. I have a lot of experience at my job and I’ve learned the best, safest, most efficient way of getting most tasks done while respecting the needs of the individual I am caring for. I’m frequently told how to do things by people who are far less experienced or who don’t even have a nursing background, such as my supervisor. Or an unlicensed, inexperienced coworker with big ideas. Apparently some of these unspoken snarky comments do make an appearance on my face. I am not allowed to be overly sensitive myself – I’m required to take it from others and be happy. I’m not allowed to let my face give my feelings away because others might be offended. This is possibly the most frustrating and demoralizing aspect of a job which is otherwise very rewarding and which I love.

    If only my face would quit saying what I have not allowed my voice to speak.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I have two plastic buttons that I have taped onto my computer at work. The first one says Panic, it’s red. The second one says PEBCAK. I push it a lot because it stands for “problem exists between chair and keyboard.” But nobody knows what it means except me so even if I’m pushing it while someone is standing there they don’t know. Unfortunately pushing it doesn’t do anything except give me satisfaction, it never makes the problem go away.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. There are some variations on this – some IT people shorthand it as a 10T error – meaning an error due to an ID10T.

      Also called an IBM error, with IBM standing for “idiot behind machine”..

      Another harder to interpret variation is to call it a Layer 8 issue – Layer 8 being the term for the user layer in a certain programming language.

      Liked by 2 people

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