Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dear Terri Lynn Land

Yesterday I visited one of the offices for which you, as Secretary of State for Michigan, are responsible. Pretty nice. I was annoyed that you required me to go in person to renew my driver’s license, but I figured that after eight or so years of renewing by mail, I needed to prove that I was conversant with the rules of the road. But you didn’t require a written test. In fact, all the time I was there I saw no one take a written test. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I should have read the pamphlet that came with the renewal form and detailed recent traffic law changes on bodily alcohol content (from 0.10 to 0.08) and stopping for blind pedestrians (whatever was the law before that change?)

You did require me to take a vision test and up-date the information to appear on the license. I seem to be an inch shorter and innumerable pounds heavier than the person who last had a license with my name on it. And the hair is considerably more grey. But I am now all set to operate a vehicle and write checks for another eight years.

My only complaint? Your signage. A person walking into the office is confronted by one of those “take a number” machines, like they have in the deli. Then you are confronted by two alternatives. Do you sit in the chairs with a bunch of bored looking folks, or go stand in the short line before the counter. In the absence of a sign telling us otherwise, we all joined the line. Wrong choice. That meant that every five minutes the security guard had to come and make an announcement that those in the line had to sit down until called up in groups of five according to their number. Wouldn’t a sign saying “Take a number and wait until your number is called” have solved the problem once and for all?

Then there was the sign attached to the counter every six or so feet and festooned around the entire office. It read:

To help us serve you better.
Please end your cell phone conversation when you are called to the counter.
Thank you.
That seems to me one “please” and one “thank you” too many.

“Turn off your cell phone” That should do it.

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