this is not a post to deride the attitudes of the typically rude and careless employees that we have all encountered while visiting the dmv. on the contrary...the people at the affton dmv were very nice.
no, this is a knock at the system. it's confusing, contradictory, and downright paralyzing at times.
who can name the exact forms and documents you need to get your license plates? if you can, you have been to the dmv recently. that's because it is a constantly changing mix of items. not long ago, you needed:
1. form that was mailed to you from the state concerning renewal
2. personal property tax receipt
3. auto inspection
4. auto emissions test
5. proof of insurance
6. cash or check
things changed over the years. since you can get two years of renewal on a given year, you need the past TWO pp tax receipts. the emissions tests became a nightmare, because they were taken away from the place that does the mechanical inspection and given to a network of emissions testing stations, themselves a nightmare. that meant two trips to have the car inspected in different ways. and somewhere along the line, a few of the dmv's (but not all) were taking discover cards. discover? of all credit cards to take, why take that one??
now, the emissions testing has been given back to the local repair shops and can be done while you have the mechanical inspection. but, if your car is less than 5 model years old, you don't need a mechanical inspection. and, remember to bring cash or checks, because they don't take no stinkin' cards anymore.
think that's confusing? get your driver's license renewed. before today, i would have believed that all one needed to renew the license was the old license and twenty bucks. nope. i think we can thank the department of homeland security, or some other completely invasive entity, for making us have to bring our birth certificate, too.
lucky for me, the affton dmv is only a mile and a half from my house. after squeaking by with all of my paperwork (i couldn't find my insurance card, which was craftily hidden right in front of my face in the car), i still had to jam home and search for my original 1967 birth certificate.
$24 for emissions inspection, left the car at repair shop while i rode. (no mechanical needed)
$63 for two year license plate renewal.
$20 for driver's license renewal.
lots of headaches getting paperwork together.
nice. all this work to get the car and person legally driving, yet hardly any real preparation for actually driving, and no retesting as a person gets older. unbelievable.