Friday Guest Mock: Buying license plates in Iowa

2010 February 5
by mockers

A few posts ago a guy from Iowa (me) talked about his recent trip through the south. I had no idea, but according to Caveboy it appears that there are assholes in Iowa too. Of course I’m kidding the place is filthy with them – I’m almost sure that he’s talking about the license station on Sixth Avenue in Des Moines. But still, I kinda miss the place…Anyway, here’s Caveboy:

Growing up in the South, especially the rural South, you take a lot of things for granted. Like snow that melts in less than a day. No deposit on beer cans. The lady at the place where you buy your license plates knows you, your mama and daddy and she never gives you any grief when you don’t exactly have all the correct paperwork. She just leans over her desk, pats you on the back of the hand, and says “Honey don’t worry about this, we’ll get it figured out”. This is not the case all over this great land of ours.

Some years ago when I lived in Iowa I traded vehicles. That transaction in of itself was relatively painless (if you don’t count the severe ass reaming I took on the price, but my wife wanted to trade, so whata ya do). At the time of purchase we traded our existing vehicle, a minivan, on the newer vehicle, also a minivan. As is custom with most automobile purchases the cost of transferring tags, sales taxes and all the gubbmitt stuff is handled by the dealer and our transaction was no different. We took the plates from the traded vehicle signed the paperwork and off we went.

We owed a few hundred dollars on the trade in, so we made the necessary payments to the bank holding the note and forgot about it. Well the car dealer where we traded started calling about the title for the traded vehicle. After much hassle and numerous phone calls we obtained the original title for the traded vehicle. Many of you may know, I damn sure didn’t, that you can’t trade vehicles in the state of Iowa with an out of state title. You must transfer the title to the state of Iowa for a nominal fee of $15.00. They type up a new title right there on the spot and hand it to you.

So I proceeded to the clerk’s office to transfer the title from Tennessee to Iowa and informed the lady behind the counter of my intentions. She asked for the Tennessee title, which I produced. She then typed up the Iowa title, handed me the Iowa title and asked me for $15.00 transfer fee. I said “I already paid this fee when I bought the car, plus I ain’t got $15.00. I didn’t really, but I wouldn’t have paid it even if I had had it, I don’t like to pay for things twice. Well she got a really pissed look on her face tore the Iowa title up and said “Come back when you get this straightened out!” So I left.

Luckily the car dealer where I had made the trade that was just across the street from the courthouse and by the time I had explained the situation to them and they had offered to give the $15.00 the courthouse was closed. So I agreed to return the next day, a little earlier at that to allow for any additional governmental, and I stress the mental, scenarios.

Day two of operation Title Change began as any other. I got up and went to work and made arrangements with a friend of mine to get to the courthouse. So at about 3 p.m. I goes into the clerks office again. Knowing that I had left the previous day on less than cordial terms I thought the best approach on this day would be the old “hat in the hand” tactic, wrong. I approached the counter and began to apologize profusely for the misunderstanding of the previous day. It was a different government employee than the original foray into this ordeal. A middle aged woman that I guessed to be about five feet tall, as her rather large breasticles rested precisely on the counter that I estimated to be about 40 inches high. I’m sorry for the wandering, but large boobs always get my attention no matter what they’re attached to. Any way, once I had made my apologies and professed my ignorance in all things pertaining to buying a license plate in Iowa, and I did pour it on. The lady turned around and yelled toward the back of the office “That guy from Tennessee is back, what should I do?” and from somewhere out of the maze of cubicles came “He got a damn break yesterday, he ain’t getting one today!” “This is not going to end well” I thinks to me self. So she pulls out this list of things that I need to complete this mission. First, the old Tennessee title, check. Now the $15.00, gotcha. Ok Mr.“I ain’t got $15.00 where’s the registration from the old vehicle, why right here ma’am. I’m being as polite as I possibly can, as it appears that I might just pull this off. Now the next request just stripped the hair right off my scrotum. “I need $40.00” the large chested paper jockey demands. “For what?” I reply trying to keep my emotions in check. “The tags on the old vehicle have been expired for a month, and you have to bring the tags current before you can transfer the title, the $40.00 is for the one month” She comes back. Now I think most of you out there in Munchkin land have already guessed my snappy comeback, but I’ll give it to you anyway, “I ain’t got $40.00!” “Well then we have a problem” says ole Big Boobs. Hoping to ease the tension and get out of paying the extra forty dollars I banter back “No I’m the one with the problem” and laugh. Man them Iowa dames is tough, damn tough. She didn’t even crack a smile when she said “You’re right you’re the one with the problem”. So out the door I goes, back to the car dealer. I really didn’t have $40.00 and would have to wait till payday to come up with it. The good folks at the car lot inform me that it was the last day of the month and if I didn’t take care of it today that I would have to pay a fine of something like $175.00, something that the Nazi Hag at the courthouse forgot to mention. I thought about calling my wife to see if she had any money squirreled away, but is was less than 20 minutes till the clerks office closed. So I asked the folks at the car lot if I could borrow the 40 bucks, and I promised I would pay it back (yeah right). The 40 bucks was secured and I was off to the courthouse yet again.

Luckily when I returned there was no one at the desk so I could pick up where I left off. Having the 40 bucks and feeling not much else could go wrong I decided to obtain a little clarification of this whole ordeal. I asked the lady “I gotta buy plates for a vehicle I haven’t owned in over three months?’ Her compassionate response “That’s right”. Still not having the title in my paws I dialed it back a notch and handed over the forty dollars and to this day what happened next absolutely floored me. This gal walks over to rack where the new license plates were stored picked up a matching pair (another thing why does Iowa make you use two license plates, when most cars don’t have holder on the front, I got a story about that too, but it’ll have to wait) opens the plastic wrapper, takes out one of the plates, puts the little sticker in one corner, puts it back into the plastic bag, then walks over to another table pulls out this big honkin manila envelope, puts the license plates into the big honkin envelope, puts on some sort of mailing label, walks back to counter where I’m waiting, and hands me, what had taken me two days and $55.00 to get, the golden title. Then she picks up the big honkin envelope, slides the plates out, picks up some kind of form and writes the number from the plate on the form, puts the plates back in the envelope, seals the envelope, turns around, hands me the form and says “Finish filling out this form, and mail it to the address in the upper right hand corner, and you’ll get your forty dollars back’. I lost it. “You’re kiddin me, right?” “I made two trips in here put up with all this guff and I get the forty dollars back!” “I had to buy license plates for a vehicle I haven’t owned in over three months, just so you could put some plates in an envelope?” “Why not just give me the $40.00 back tear up all this paper work and save the state about $200.00 that’ll it cost to process all this crap!” “That’s not how it works” was all she could muster.

And as I exited the twilight zone I thought to myself “Self what the hell just happened?” Then it came to me, a line from one of favorite movies “Field of Dreams”, “Is this heaven?”, “No it’s Iowa.”

One of these days I’ll tell you about the time I sat out more than my allowed limit of garbage for pick up.

Remember nuthins free, so send money. Caveboy out

We’ve got a few mocks in the bank (including a couple from Zazu) but we could always use more…especially if you haven’t written one in a while.  You know the drill – no manifestos or racial slurs – otherwise fire them off the mockable (at) gmail and we’ll throw it up here on Friday morning or some other day when metten drank too much the night before (which is most nights).  Thanks! We really appreciate it.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 February 5

    Holy crap, what a nightmare.
    Children of the corn indeed!

  2. 2010 February 5
    Fat Secretary permalink

    I have a very similar story regarding license plates in TN, only mine revolved around what county I lived in-two counties couldn’t agree…sigh. It took 3 months and a platte of my lot to get the damn things.

  3. 2010 February 11
    tilly permalink

    this is the best case EVER not to have government run healthcare. I cannot even imagine having to deal with the same shennanagins to see a Dr.


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