As technology advances, things are supposed to become easier, however, that’s not always the case. On Wednesday, we reported that drivers license being issued by the clerk’s office will soon be a thing of the past. Mail and online will be the new way to renew unless one feels compelled to do it in person at a regional office. Currently, the closest regional office is Paducah.

In theory, the convenience seems like it would be a lot better practice than having to go to the courthouse and have this taken care of, however, as I said, in theory. We just witnessed the debacle of the state’s ineptness over the past 18 months of not being able to take care of unemployment claims when the pandemic hit. We still have people in our office who haven’t been able to collect the benefits that were owed them when their hours were scaled back last year and have now returned to normal.

Need to call Frankfort for help with that unemployment? Good luck with that. I personally know people who stayed on the phone more than seven hours to get through for help.

No doubt this transition will not be seamless. It will be a topic discussed around water coolers, barber shops, hair salons or anywhere people gather for idle gossip. Stories of how licenses expired and how people couldn’t get the website to cooperate will be a topic in work places. I know, I experienced this same scenario when I was a former resident of Virginia.

That Commonwealth state has had this program for several years, along with having a brick-and-mortar Division of Motor Vehicles for licenses and tags. Does their system work efficiently? Not in the least. But, then again, good luck getting into their DMV for an in-person visit to take care of your transportation needs. The last time I checked with family that live in Virginia, there’s a four-month waiting list for an appointment at the DMV office in the county where I’m from; people are forced to use online and the mail option or be faced with expiring tags and licenses. Going online is no different; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With anything there’s a learning curve, but the bottom line is that personal service.

We are fast becoming an electronic society with less interaction. Is saving money and convenience worth what we’re sacrificing? Every time I’ve been to the courthouse or the clerk’s office there are conversations all over the facilities between customers and employees about the weather, how gardens are doing and a problem with a vehicle and issues they’ve come across trying to fix it. Idle chatter, yes, but it’s still a conversation with another human being.

I’m sure the Kentucky system will be great in time, but again at what cost? My office is located where I can hear interactions from our employees who wait on customers by answering the phone or come in to take care of some form of advertisement or other business. Sometimes the customers know our employees from school, church or the last names ring a bell and they connect about another place in time. I feel like that’s just good customer relations.

If there’s a missed delivery of someone’s paper that day, more than likely, we’ll get a phone call or someone will come in to pick one up. 

I would hate to think that the only way a person could renew their subscription would be an app on a cell phone. Of course, those who want to renew online, we have that option. But, it sure is nice to hear a conversation from a customer and someone in reception about old times. It lets me know we’re still connected.