Thursday, September 01, 2011

New Minnesota license plates not worth the hassle

On Monday I finally made the journey to the DMV (or whatever it's currently called) to pay for my 2012 license tabs. Yes, I was about a month late buying these and no I don't care that I'm a reckless scofflaw. Come and get me coppers!

But the official 2012 license tab renewal meant not only the little yellow 2012 stickers but new license plates. Normally I like most anything new but when I saw the new plates I expressed my displeasure regarding them. Why did I need new license plates? My current license plates were more than legible and looked like new even on my 9 year old car. I like the very real look of the raised letters and numbers and they're even reflective. Sure, the new computer generated license plates are cheaper to manufacture but what about their longevity. Will the computer generated letters and numbers outlast the machine-stamped reflective letters and number which the State of Minnesota is phasing out?

That's another discussion fro another day, though. My real beef ended up being with installing the new license plates. Around 7 PM I ventured out into my driveway with a screwdriver and my new fake-looking license plates. I figured I'd spend about five minutes on this seemingly pointless task and be able to move on to other, more important tasks. I firmly dug my old screwdriver into the rusty phillips head screw and began turning. The only problem being that the screwdriver turned and the screw failed to do so. Apparently Toyota hadn't realized the value of zinc coated screws nine years ago.

So I sprayed some trusty WD-40 on the rusty screws and waited. Again I applied far more pressure than should be needed to budge a screw and failed once again to loosen either screw. Then one of the screws sort of pulled through the old license plate leaving it dangling by one rusty screw. Getting angry now, I twisted and pulled and the license plate -- eventually snapping it off leaving the rusty screws still anchored through the plastic "bumper" and through the rusty metal u-clamp which holds the license plate to the car.

I tried a vise grip and failed. I tried my cordless drill/screwdriver and failed and eventually, after almost an hour, I got one screw out. I don't remember how it came free but I do remember some stupid girl trying to sell books door to door being on the receiving end of my frustration. Couldn't she tell by my almost constant grunting and cursing that I was busy? In the end the second u-clamp pulled through the plastic "bumper" and I have the State of Minnesota to blame for this ordeal. Should I send them a bill for wasting 90 minutes of my time I could have spent on freelance work? After all, they felt that I needed these new, fake-looking license plates. Oh, and they do absolutely nothing to improve the aesthetics of my black car.

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