I noticed yesterday that the temporary plates on my new Ford Edge were going to expire at midnight, so I called the dealership to find out what was going on. I was told that the state had just rejected my paperwork (despite having had it for two months) because the name on my driver's license, Kelly McNulty Valenzuela, did not match the dealership paperwork, Kelly M. Valenzuela. Really, Colorado?
The dealership said the quickest way to get my plates would be to take the paperwork to the DMV myself. They FedEx'd me all the forms (including a one and the same signature form), I requested and received time off work and took everything to the DMV earlier today.
Upon arrival, the place was bursting at the seams. I drew number 103 and they were serving number 68. Fortunately, Santiago wasn't busy this morning, so I'd scooped him up on my way over to keep me company. He'd wisely packed us a lunch, which we sat outside and ate.
After lunch, I noticed the back parking lot (where we were waiting) wasn't nearly as crowded, so I moved my car around, cracked the windows and put up the sun shade. No sooner had I gotten out of the car, than the old lady running the barber shop next to the DMV comes out and starts complaining to me about parking in front of her store. There were no signs indicating that I couldn't park where I was, and I was there to shell out a bunch of money to the state, so I sure as hell didn't feel guilty for parking right up front in a mostly-empty back lot. Plus, the lady was less than friendly to me, so I told her I wasn't moving again. She muttered something about the fact that I'll be in there for hours and shuffled back into her shop.
Santiago came back from getting coffee just as the scene was ending, so I told him what happened. He said he didn't mind moving the car, so he moved it, literally 20 feet to another spot.
Later, the old lady came out again and explained that she's been there 40 years and the DMV has been a constant headache since they moved in. She said they lock the hallway doors at 4:30 which is not only an inconvenience to her customers, but is a fire hazard (which she reported and now the doors are unlocked), and some days they do take up all the parking for hours and her customers, many of which are elderly, have to walk quite far. She also explained that building management won't allow her to put up two signs marking the two spots in front of her shop.
Now this I can sympathize with! Had she been polite to me in the first place, I would've moved my vehicle, but I can certainly sympathize with her frustration at the state (for running its shoddy operation) and with her building management for not allowing her to have two lousy parking spots after 40 years! The whole thing is ridiculous and I felt her frustration. Basically, we apologized to each other, complained mutually about the DMV for a moment and she went back inside.
Just when I was thinking things couldn't get more frustrating, they did. They were displaying numbers in the upper 90s now, so Santiago and I decided to go inside and keep an eye out for number 103. I found myself getting excited as the numbers got higher and higher, then I became disgusted. How sick is it that I'm feeling happy and excited that it's almost my turn to give the government a bunch of my hard-earned money, after having already waited nearly two hours?!
Finally, it was my turn. I went to the counter, gave the man the papers from the dealership and told him what happened. He started processing all the forms, asked to see my insurance and driver's license, then asked for a check in the amount of $660. $660?! What for?!
Before now, I'd only purchased new vehicles in Texas. In Texas, a new car registration is less than $100 (I think around $65-80 or so.) It's all part of the new car paperwork and the dealership calls you once your plates are in, you go over, they take off the temporary plates, install your new ones, thank you for your business and you drive away.
The man at the window tells me it's otherwise in Colorado. He tells me that had the paperwork been processed, I would've received a post card in the mail telling me my plates were ready to be picked up at the DMV. The dealership included a check for my sales tax, but no registration fee had been paid, so I now owe them $660 or I don't get my plates. Furious, I wrote the check for $660 as another sickening thought entered my head.
When I first moved to Colorado with my one year-old Ford Explorer, it cost me $585 to get Colorado plates. The next year, it went down a little to $535, and it went down a little each year until 2009 when the governor (in the middle of the economic downturn) increased the registration rates. Gee, thanks. So my 2009 registration was about the same as my 2008. Each year, as the value of your car decreases, so does your registration, usually.
After buying this car, my husband and I speculated the registration fees could be upward of $800-$900 since this car is worth a bit more than my Explorer and is newer. We knew we wouldn't have to worry about this until next summer though. Or so we thought.
Anyway, as I was writing the check for $660, it occurred to me how that amount was less than we were anticipating, so I guess that's good news!? How sick is that?!
So after writing the check and getting my plates, I left in disgust. I told Santiago what happened in the car, then he too was disgusted. Now we're both in a foul mood, much like the barber shop lady.
THIS is precisely why people treat each other with disrespect. THIS is why people can barely make a living when they make what should be plenty of money. THIS is why statism sucks. THIS is why people start to buy into the malevolent universe premise. THIS is unhappiness.
Capitalism creates incentives for people to treat each other with respect. Capitalism creates jobs and allows people to earn enough to not only survive, but thrive and save money for a rainy day, pay for their own health care, retirement, etc. Capitalism means freedom and it encourages the benevolent universe premise. Capitalism is key to men pursuing their own happiness.
After returning to work, my coworker and boss told me they've never had to go pick up or pay for their plates like this. Maybe the law has changed in the two years since they bought their vehicles? I left a message for the dealership to call me back, because I certainly don't want to pay $660 to the damn government twice! Maybe I'll get it back. Who knows? And who could do anything about it if it was a state error? The state is only there to restrict my freedom and steal my money. It's certainly not interested in my well-being, much less justice.