The license saga

I lost a wallet recently and needed to replace my driving license.

I got my temporary license and was told my card would arrive in 2-3 weeks. I called the DMV 4 weeks later. After a long wait, I was told that it had been mailed to an older address. Not clear why. But, as it still had mail forwarding enabled since I’m still within a year of moving, it wasn’t clear why this would be a problem.

The kind person on the phone explained she had no idea what happened. But I could call error processing and ask them to resend it.

I did. After an hour’s wait, I was told that I couldn’t apply for error processing yet as I was on day 24 since the card was mailed. I needed to call them back after day 30.

Could I request them to just send it on day 30? Nope. Process.

I called them back a couple days after day 30. After the customary 1 hour wait (after 2 days of attempts to get on the wait queue), the person on the phone realized I was on a visa. The right department wasn’t error processing, it was legal presence.

So I called legal presence. 1 hour later, I was finally connected to someone who could help. She said she’d processed it. “If all went well”, I’d receive it in 2-3 weeks.

It was a fascinating experience. 4 hours of waiting could easily have been shortened with better instructions and possibly avoided with slightly better process.

But the incentives involved here mean the optimization function isn’t a good user experience.

A good reminder of the primacy of incentives in shaping our experiences. That and the futility of getting annoyed at such experiences.

Focus on what you control.