my california taxes at work

Today, I took my car to the nearest Shell station to get it smog checked – a bi-yearly(?) ritual for drivers in California. The friendly folks at the Shell station took one look at my registration renewal paperwork from the California DMV, however, and said, “oh, you’re test only.”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Shell guy: “It means they’re picking on you.”


Shell guy: “Seriously, it means we can’t do your smog check. We’re not allowed to do ‘test only’ checks. I’ll call the guys across the street.”

Long story short, the banner on the Shell station said “Smog Check Center,” while the one across the street said, “Smog Check Center: Test Only.” The difference, apparently, is that the test-only center can’t fix your car if it doesn’t pass the test. Now follow along kids, because here’s where it gets stupid…

Based on data collected by the California DMV, cars most likely to fail the smog check are flagged for test-only checking. That’s right, cars most likely to NEED FIXING to pass the smog check must get their smog checks done at the places that CAN’T FIX THEM.

Sweet infant Jesus.

Anyway, mine passed (yay), so next I visited the California DMV website where I was greeted by this monstrosity (direct link in case it goes away from the DMV home page).

Rock on DMV!