succumbing to peer pressure

Monday, February 14, 2005

Should I just pay the fine?

The story - In December I got a notice that it was time to renew my car registration in the state of GA. So I dutifully sent in my check and got a letter back from the tax commissioner's office right before I left town for xmas saying that there was no record of me having car insurance, despite the fact that I have been insured in GA for over a year and a half and that my insurance company already had to call and convince them of this fact over the summer when I initially registered the car. Nevermind, I called my insurance company again, they laughed at the incompetence of the tax commissioner's office, and promised to take care of everything. The next day they called me back, said I was all set, but I should call the tax commissioner's office just in case. So I did, they also said I was all set, and I left for FL, foolishly believing that I was, in fact, all set. So I return and it's January and my sticker has expired but I have not yet been sent a new one. I don't worry about it too much, I figure one must be on it's way to me. Then, on the roughly 1-2 mile drive over to the boys' place, I get pulled over for having an expired registration sticker and, once again, no record of my car or insurance on file. The cop is actually pretty nice about it but gives me a ticket anyway and says I can just appear in court once the sticker arrives and not have to pay the fine. Thus begins a round robin of phone calls to the tax commissioner's office, yelling at them to hurry the hell up and send me my sticker, and the county court to find out when my court date is. Turns out it's on a Thursday, the one day when I have six hours of class and really can't afford to miss any of them. So I fax a change of date request (which includes a rather humiliating request to my chair that he sign the letter saying I have class and can't come to court that day) and find out today that a) my fine is over $100 and b) my new court date is also on a Thursday (most likely because that's the only day the cop is available). So. At this point I'm totally frustrated, but also overwhelmed by the semester and thinking that no matter how this turns out, the people at fault (the tax commissioner's office) aren't going to have to pay anything. Either I will be out money or the cop, the court, and I will all be out time. So do I file another request to change my court date because it's the principle of the thing or do I just suck it up and accept that I'm out over $100?


Anonymous Troy (acorn) said...

Never give up, never surrender!

Reschedule your court date (and note on the request that Thursdays are bad for you). You must fight even the smallest of these attacks against your liberty.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Flash!topian said...

Agreed. The Man must be forced to do your bidding sometimes. But two examples to the contrary:
1) My eternal battle with the gas delivery company has ended in a stalemate, in which I neither have nor pay for gas. I am going to cave in about 10 minutes.
2) Did you see House of Sand and Fog? Bureaucracy can ruin so many people's lives. So don't just not pay it. You'll lose your car, and the nice Iranian family who buys it to flip it to someone else (since the price will inevitably skyrocket when people find out it was yours) will lose their only son and be forced to commit suicide. Seriously.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks Dears. I'm afraid though that I am rapidly concluding that I should just pay the damn fine. Much as I would like to bend the man to my will, I wouldn't even be bending the right man (i.e. the one at fault). And, bottom line is, I have more disposable income than I do disposable time. So. Anyway, one nice story to the contrary, Carrie, I may have forgotten to tell you, but last year I finally won our 18 month battle with SBC yahoo over that damn early termination fee! So yeah, sometime the man does lose. And that is a sweet, sweet victory for the little person.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Doesn't matter if you're not bending the right man. It's a hundred bucks. Heck, if it were five bucks, I'd probably show up in court as long as I was in the right.

Go, take a day off from class ('cause we all hate it when THAT has to happen), and afterwards start sending complaint letters to everyone you can think of. Send copies of all the paperwork showing you're in the right on this matter. Every person that just caves makes it that much more likely for bureaucracy to remain as braindead as it is.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

"Every person that just caves makes it that much more likely for bureaucracy to remain as braindead as it is."

It's that last bit that makes me really want to fight this. But, like I said, it's the time issue. Much as I absolutely hate caving when I know I'm in the right, I don't have the time to fight this thing properly. I really can't afford to take a day off from class. I know that sounds like overreacting, and clearly the court clerk didn't believe me when I said it, but it's true. Doesn't matter whether or not I can get away with it with my profs, it's an issue of how much more my life will suck trying to play catch up on the information I miss. In which case, that doesn't feel much like winning. In the cold cost-benefit analysis, it costs way more to re-schedule my court date and blow an afternoon than it does to cut a check.

2:32 PM  

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