Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A victory

When I lived in Massachusetts going to the Department of Motor Vehicles was torture. I am convinced no employee was allowed to serve (a loose term) customers until they had mastered growling, frowning and turning their backs.

Over the last three years, Rick and I have gone thru the maze of both Swiss and French bureaucracy. With the exception of getting married, most of it has not been pretty.

My husband Rick was coming up to the one year deadline for getting a Swiss driver's license. Until now he had been using his Texas one.  Going on line there was contrary advice from having to take a first aid course to driving lessons.

We decided the best way to find out was to go into the lion's den and find out what he needed.

It was so long since I got my Geneva permis, I was of little help. My first license was from Neuch√Ętel and when I moved to and without a car and great public transportation it was almost ten years before I went to exchange it.

The man behind the counter, who was Hollywood handsome, looked at it, then at me. "You are a liddle beet late," he said with an accent as adorable as his smile. I resisted saying, "Only nine years."
He gave me the permis.

We headed for the office yesterday.

The first thing we noticed -- no line.

The young man behind the counter was smiling.

We had Rick's old license, the form and a photo.

"The license is less than three years old. We need a history or you will be considered a new driver, which means lessons and higher insurance rates."

We looked confused.

"Don't worry. It is all on line."

We went home, looked it up, printed the information and headed back today.

Another young man, equally smiley took everything. A few taps on the computer and he said, "Go sit over there. It will take about five minutes."

Sure enough in five minutes he had his shiny plastic credit card size permis from a woman who had even a bigger smile than the two young men. Her warmth almost came over the counter. We paid our 150CHF. It is good until he turns 70 when it will still be good if he passes a physical every two years.

None of those employees could ever have worked for the Mass Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

It is also a testimony that bureaucracy can be efficient and pleasant.

What a concept.

Rick is now becoming a real Swiss resident with all the cards for insurance, driving, etc.

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