If you close a government agency for long enough, you’ve got to expect utter chaos when you finally open it open it up. And utter chaos is exactly what ensued when the New Jersey Motor vehicle commission — formerly known as the DMV — finally opened this week.

The first calls coming in to our New Jersey 101.5 show from listeners describing the mayhem were concerning.

It was hot out. People were at risk of dehydration. Tempers were flaring. Lines of cars were blocking highways a lá the New York State Thruway during Woodstock.

Then it became comical as the week went on. Teenagers started camping out from the night before so that they could get their long-awaited driver's licenses, with the governor, witnessing the cluster-f he himself created, imploring people NOT TO CAMP OUT!!!!!!!

Adults who had purchased cars during the shutdown and had been unable to register them showed up at 2, 3, and 4 a.m. only to find that 100 or more people had beaten them to it. It started to get really amusing when it became something of a tailgate, with people bringing tents, sharing food, playing cornhole and the like. Social distancing be damned, these people wanted in!!

Officials finally got smart and realized they’d have to give out numbers so that they could figure out how many people they would actually be able to accommodate. Just like a Rolling Stones concert, people showed up early to try to get one of the coveted numbers. But my favorite part of this whole nightmare is the scalping: The people who decided to sell their numbers to the highest bidders, charging $100, 200 or even $300 for a number.

Some people might call that price-gouging. I call it enterprising. If the number means so much more to someone else than it does to you, why not make a couple bucks for your trouble? I don’t think it’s any different from an airline bumping you off a flight and then promising you a free ticket afterward. One guy is desperate for a ticket. Another guy is happy to get the money. It’s a win-win for everyone, not to mention part of the so-called “new-normal” that this coronavirus s**t-storm hath wrought.

According to the Lakewood Scoop, cops in Lakewood were quick to remove the offending scalpers from the line, but I’m sure they had to be chuckling to themselves as they did. After all, it’s just another side effect of what i call the “COVIDcraziness.” This will obviously go down in history as one of the many, MANY embarrassing bungles of the COVID-19 era.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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