Kudos to the DMV

A Beaconite who visited the Department of Motor Vehicles last week to get his jeep inspected and renew his registration was in and out in less than an hour. After recent prolonged ordeals in the Labour and Immigration departments, it was refreshing to have such an efficient and pleasant experience. He notes, however, that the DMV wasn’t always this way. When it used to be located in Road Town, customers often had to take a number and then wait hours in cramped conditions to be served. One major change: When the agency moved to Pockwood Pond, it started stationing an employee at the door to deal with customers upon arrival. This way, those whose business is quick and easy — or who haven’t brought the correct documents — don’t have to wait around. The Beaconite suspects this single common-sense measure goes a long way toward streamlining processes at the department. Other government agencies might consider a similar arrangement.


On the record

Regular visitors to the BVI Community Board on Facebook know that there’s nothing users there like better than complaining. And thanks to Facebook’s pesky regulations, they’re almost always doing it under their real names. So why, when a Beaconite contacts these same people with the opportunity to put those same complaints in a newspaper article, do they so often decline? “I don’t want to go public,” they’ll say. Well, news flash: They’ve already gone public. That’s how the Beaconite found them! Somehow, Facebook has fooled people into thinking it’s some kind of top-secret clubhouse where they can say whatever they want with no consequences whatsoever, because it doesn’t really “count.” They don’t seem to realise that the board is a public forum that anyone can join, including government officials and other people who have the power to do whatever it is they fear will happen by “going public.” Sure, it is flattering for those in the dead-tree news business to think that the mere fact of being reproduced in print confers some magical “official” status on words that a mere online medium does not, but it’s simply not so. Public is public, no matter where it appears. Bottom line: The next time a Beaconite asks you for a quote, just bite the bullet and give her one — it can’t possibly hurt you any more than whatever you just posted online.



Receipt frenzy

A Beaconite would again like to take some time out of his week to point out some pervasive pointlessness in the private sector. Last week, he focused on the annoying number of coffee shops and restaurants on Tortola that treat their internet passwords like award-winning, multi-generational family secret recipes. This week, he would like to turn his eyes towards grocery stores. Considering what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Beaconite understands the supermarkets’ desires for increased security. Still, he seriously wonders what is done for security by having one or two door guards absently initial the receipts of exiting shoppers. Never once has the Beaconite seen one of these grocery knights actually examine the items on his receipt and cross-reference them with what he might be carrying. Instead, they just congest narrow exits by forcing shoppers to dig through their pockets for receipts they’ve inevitably forgotten to have ready for their pseudo-examinations. Maybe supermarket managers are just hoping the aura of security will dissuade shoplifters. Instead, the Beaconite wonders if the aura of crowded exits will dissuade shoppers.


A Beacon fan

Whenever one Beaconite goes to D’ Best Cup in Road Town for a very, very large coffee, she always runs into a dedicated Beacon reader sitting outside the café. Occasionally, the newspaper aficionado will know articles in that week’s issue better than the Beaconite does, and is always willing to have a conversation about anything from crime to business stories. As someone who personally loves going over a hard-copy newspaper with a caffeinated beverage in hand, a reporter is glad that others exist in the world who feel the same way (outside of the small number of people who still actually work at news outlets that aren’t exclusively online). And if you’re reading this, man from D’ Best Cup, mosey on in the shop and see if the Beaconite is there. If so, coffee’s on her.