(ARCH)ON The Road Again



WARNING, Long involved DMV bureaucratic rant.
Proceed at your own boredom.

After almost 30 years, my ARCHON vanity plates, first acquired here, are back on the road.  The wife and I bought our last car.  It’s actually a rice-burning, Kia Sorento SUV, which sits high enough that the semi-disabled wife and daughter don’t have to fight to get down into, and up out of.  Properly maintained, it should last 10/15 years, perhaps longer than us.  In any case, the next one’s up to son Shimoniac to buy.

This is the first NEW car we’ve owned in almost 50 years of marriage. We purchased two that were less than a year old, taking advantage of the 30% depreciation in value, but were still new enough to be reliable.


For years, we’ve had the wife’s 3 TEASE plates on our cars, because they were registered in her name, and we’d been told by the DMV that that was necessary. It was all a Lie.

I’ve used the term, ‘DMV’ mostly for my American readers. Here in Ontario, we have the oxymoronically named “Service Ontario.”  That’s where you have to go, for aggravation, incompetence, poverty, hunting and fishing licenses, drivers’ licenses, licence plates, birth certificates, and certified ID cards for people like the daughter, LadyRyl, who can’t drive.

After the heart-stopping negotiation of financing this beast, yea, verily, unto the second and third generations, the first problem came when we had the salesman (try to) put my old plates on my new car.

I gave him my old plates, along with the plate ownership form, and the transfer form. The last sticker was applied in 1987.  When we went back the next day to pick the car up, he handed me back my plates (but not the two forms), and said that the licence bureau wouldn’t let him use my plates because they were registered in the wrong name. We had to take generic plates, and arrange to apply the ARCHON plates ourselves.

A couple of weeks later, we were ready to try. The first thing that the user-(un)friendly Service Ontario did, was ensure that the relatively handy, downtown branch, only 4.2 Km away, DIDN’T PROVIDE AUTO-LICENCE SERVICE.  Instead, we got to drive 9.7 Km to a branch on the other side of town.  We chose a quiet Wednesday afternoon, when the lineup was only 45 minutes long.

The first time we went, we exchanged the generic plates for the old ARCHON plates.  Having a brand-new car, the wife wondered, for a niggling fee of $93.20, if I’d like a brand-new set of plates.  It seems a good idea, except….new plates are no longer paint, baked onto steel.  They are now printed plastic, laminated on, and there have been many cases of them delaminating, costing drivers $55 to replace faulty Chinese manufacturing.  We’ll see how these ones last.

Six weeks later, my new set arrived by mail, and off we set once more, to surrender the old set, and validate the new ones. The clerk picked up each set, and found she had to struggle with the old ones.  They weighed twice what the new ones do.  She’d never seen a set that old.  She wondered why we’d gone from generic to vanity, and then to a new set.

The female branch manager was sitting at the next service wicket, and overheard our conversation. Every time I described what happened, or what I was told, she shook her head.  I explained how I was not allowed to put my plates on a car registered to the wife.  ‘No, you can do that.’ (With the proper, paid-for form)

I bitched that I wasn’t allowed to transfer the ownership of the plates to the wife, without surrendering them to the Provincial Government. ‘No, you don’t have to surrender them.  You can transfer them to your wife.’  (With the proper, paid-for form)  My clerk looked up, surprised.  “They’re registered in your wife’s name now.”  Wait, what??!  After telling me that they couldn’t do it, they changed the plate registration – but didn’t tell me they had??  And we paid to buy the wife her own set, and mine languished for decades??!  So that explains the dealer’s problem. I can’t put her plates on my car.  ‘No, no, I told you that they should have done that.  (With the proper, paid-for forms)

So we transferred plate ownership back to me – for $20. Then the clerk wanted to know where the plate ownership and vehicle transfer forms were.  “I gave them to the dealer, and I never got them back.  I assume that the clerk at the office that they use, kept them.”  Manager is shaking her head again.  ‘They should have been returned.  We’ll have to generate new ones.’

The clerk then charged me $20 to use information that’s already on their computer, to print out an ownership form, and another $20 for the same computer information to print a transfer form, for their own paper files.  The plate licence expires on my birthday, late in September.  Should we renew for just one year – or two??  The manager piped up, ‘The yearly fee is increasing from $100/year, to $120/year, starting September 1.  Why don’t you pre-pay for three years and save?’

I begin to understand why Canada has such restrictions on gun ownership. Do any of you have bureaucratic duel stories (shorter than this) that you want to share??   😯

18 thoughts on “(ARCH)ON The Road Again

  1. ladyryl says:

    A trip in itself to get the whole mess sorted out, too bad they can’t provide better scenery while they run you around and then fleece you like a lamb…


  2. cars4usa says:

    Sounds like paperwork and bureaucracy sucks no matter what country you live in.


  3. BrainRants says:

    It really doesn’t matter what you call the place – it’s a grim sub-level of purgatory.


  4. Jim Wheeler says:

    Actually, I can’t recall any bureaucracy stories that can begin to match yours, Archon, but I have one of the opposite kind. The wife was prescribed a handicap parking sign for the car because she has a history of falls and some foot problems. This month it was time for renewal and Missouri sent us a form by snail mail. There were items to be checked, including one that said “over 75”. Apparently, at that age, they figure she hasn’t gotten any better. She checked, signed and mailed it back. About 10 days later the new placard arrived in the mail, good for four more years. So, the system can work well!


    • Archon's Den says:

      This is an example of my previously-mentioned, one-in-a-hundred (or 1 in 1000) drone, who, even unintentionally or accidently, does something efficiently productive. You’ve had yours. Don’t count on another.
      We carry the daughter’s handicap card, because I do most of her driving, but we should think about getting one for the wife.


  5. Kayjai says:

    Vehicles in and of themselves are a necessary evil. It’s all around fuckery. Ugh. Nice car, though!! 🙂


    • Archon's Den says:

      It must be Newfie Groundhog Day. We’ll have 6 more weeks of happy smiles.
      The car is nice. The son took it to Ottawa and back – says it rides nice. Wife and I took it to Tillsonburg and back. She okayed a trip to Detroit.
      It could easily drive all the way to St. Johns (except that damp part); it’s the old fogeys that don’t ride well anymore.
      Nice to see your face again. Thanx for the visit. 😀


  6. It is interesting to see that the whole car registration sturm und drang is universal. All I can add to this discussion Archon is my 2011 Kia Sedona. This vehicle has been parked in my driveway for several months because it did not pass inspection. Why, you might ask? Is it a death trap on wheels? No, it is not. The electronics are not working properly so a non critical light (not the brakes, or check engine mind you) will not come on. We will eventually have to to to a dealership and probably pay thousands of dollars to fix her or we’ll end up just trading both of our cars in and consolidating to one vehicle. Good times…….UGH


    • Archon's Den says:

      Oh dear, I wish you good luck and low labor costs. We junked our ’04 Impala for just about the same reason. The ABS brake warning light stayed on. Like yours, the brakes worked fine, but, even with the electronic diagnostic machine, the garage couldn’t find the cause.
      Cars used to be reparable with chewing gum and masking tape. Now you need a NASA scientist – if his car will run to get him here. 😯 😦


  7. 1jaded1 says:

    Oh my effen F. I had to read this twice. Eyes are still bulging out.


    • Archon's Den says:

      It’s not good ….but it’s good that we’re retired, and have the whole day/week to waste. I feel sorry for others who have jobs and lives to get back to. And the nickel and dime-ing – $20 at a time – to pay for their incompetence. 😈
      This occurred back about the ‘monkey/mirror in the bar’ Flash Fiction. That’s why I wrote that the narrator had to get a ride to work. 🙂


  8. […] my ARCH(ON) The Road Again post, I wrote of buying our first brand-new car, a Kia Sorento. After the first three months, we […]


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