A Smart Way to Wait in Line


Recently I went to the Secretary of State Office to take care of ID info for my son and mother. The office I visited was a supercenter for state IDs, driver licenses, license plate renewals, and other related services. Unfortunately, when I got there, over 150 people were waiting in line ahead of us.

However, there has been quite a bit of process changes since the last time I visited the office. For example, usually when you enter the office, you would have to pull a number from a machine and wait for your number to be called with no idea of how long you would have to wait. The first change I noticed was the two kiosks that visitors can use to enter phone numbers and then procees to the first line for document check in.

After checking our documents in and meeting with the service clerk about our reason for being there, I was handed applications to be filled out while waiting. We scanned the area to find seats among what appeared to be a sea of people to listen for the last four numbers of my phone number.

There were two TV monitors hanging from the ceiling that displayed the waiting time such as 3 hr 56 min. There are also four columns on the screen which displayed each registered visitor’s number according to each person’s arrival. Although this supercenter had a lot of people visiting early in the morning, the line moved rather quickly.

There were 15 service windows available which made the waiting process not as intolerable as I initially thought. After I sat down, I began watching the screen. As time ticked on, I also begin to feel my hunger due to missing breakfast.

After some time had passed, I spoke with my son about going outside to see if there were any dining places around the plaza so that we could have lunch after finishing our business. Instead of me going to browse the plaza, he volunteered to go and came back to tell me that there was a Subway located a few doors down from the center.

Making Good Use of Waiting Time

I thought I could continue watching the monitor patiently, but I couldn’t. I decided since we had about an hour and 20 minutes before being called, it would be alright to take an early lunch break especially when the restaurant wasn’t crowded yet.

Another benefit that is available to visitors is the option of making service appointments. This allows you to avoid the crowd no matter what time of day it is. On the other hand, if you prefer walk-in service appointments, there will be a delay in your number being called. It shouldn’t be that long, so don’t get anxious if you see your number shift downward if it’s close to the numbers that are proceeding to the first, second, or third positions.

Shortly after I registered my phone number, during the short time I sat in the center, and while I was at Subway, I received text messages letting me know how much time I had left to wait in line. This is the best feature about the service because if you prefer not to wait inside the center, you can run errands and return or reserve your place in line from home by using the Mobile Line Placeholder app called MI-TIME Line¬†and head to the center within 15 or 20 minutes of your expected call time depending on how far you are from the center’s location.

I’m not sure if every state has this service, so you’ll have to check with your local Secretary of State office or Department of Motor Vehicles for service waiting process updates. Each text message also asked me if I needed additional time.

If I did, instructions were provided to let me know how I could make a request. When we arrived back to the center, we were number 50 in line. The time after our arrival seemed to pass by really fast. We left when we were number 90 or 92 (I can’t remember the exact place) and came back at place 50. It felt like we made progress without the mental stress associated with sitting idle.

Improvement You Can Appreciate

Overall, my waiting experience was good. We live in an instant-service society where we expect everything to be served to us within seconds or a few minutes. We’ve become so conditioned to instant gratification that sometimes we forget the responsibilities of the workers on the other end of our expectation.

Regardless of the amount of time we must wait, the convenient services we have access to is evidence that a lot of effort is being made to streamline services in various service industries.

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