A few readers gave me guff earlier this week over a blog I wrote from the Minneapolis airport. It's true: I wasn't in a great mood, having endured my second canceled flight in three weeks, and I just wanted to get home. Sometimes blogging can be cathartic, and clearly this was one of those times.
But if you think my bad attitude would continue after a visit to the DMV yesterday to replace my drivers license, you're wrong. Because, despite the stereotypes, it was one of the quickest and more efficient experiences with any government entity I've ever dealt with.
It was almost, believe it or not, actually pleasant.
What I didn't include in my airport blog is that my driver's license had become so worn down from pulling it out of my wallet, presumably, that the TSA in Minneapolis was actually reluctant to let me through security. With most of the letters in the word "Wisconsin" gone missing, and the lamination almost totally peeled off, it seemed like a great time to replace it -- even though it wasn't set to expire until next spring.
So yesterday, I paid my first visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles at 2701 S. Chase Ave. While I went in with an open mind, I expected the worst, and the line that stretched to the front door didn't bode well.
But the line zipped by, as two clerks quickly and politely processed each request. I barely had enough time to fill out the necessary paperwork before I was called to the counter.
The guy who took my picture and processed my application was friendly and talkative, far from the bureaucratic, zombified civil servant that I expected. And, when he was unable to grant the HAZMAT license request for the gentlemen after me, I listened as he slowly and gently explained the next steps for this driver who clearly spoke little English.
If only all customer service was this polite.
No more than five minutes later, he handed me my new license. There would be no charge, his counterpart told me, because the lamination had peeled off. I put back my checkbook, stunned.
The whole process took just less than 17 minutes.
On the way out, I told the clerk how refreshing this experience was. He thanked me, laughed and said, "Make sure to write a letter to the governor!"
I told him I'd do one better and write this blog. Maybe it's not always such smooth sailing at the Chase Ave. DMV office, but on a random Wednesday afternoon, it was probably the best experience I had all week.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.