It happens around 70 times a week, adding up to 280 times a month, 3,360 times a year.
Someone comes downtown to the Columbus Government Center at 100 10th St. to try to renew a tag decal or obtain a Georgia license plate at the Muscogee Tax Commissioner's office.
The problem, they find, is that what we call the "tag office" isn't there. It's in the City Services Center, 3111 Citizens Way, off Macon Road west of Interstate 185 -- open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Customers know that if they go online to www.columbusga.org/taxcommissioner, which states: "Please note: The Tag Office moved to 3111 Citizens Way, between the Library and the School Board."
But they don't know that from a Google search to www.columbusga.org/taxcommissioner/tag_office, which says those needing "walk-in service" should go to 100 10th St.
So the guys working security at the ground-floor entrance to the Government Center tower look for people coming to renew tags or register vehicles, to warn them not to go in.
One telltale sign is an Army uniform: Any soldier holding paperwork is asked whether he or she is looking for the tag office. Almost every one is.
The more common exception is when the soldier is accompanied by someone of the opposite sex, in which case he or she (usually he) most likely is going upstairs to get married.
It's a disservice to those in the service to drive all the way downtown for a car tag, only to be told they instead have to drive all the way out Macon Road.
If they're coming from Fort Benning, the drive up I-185 to Macon Road is a quick sprint with only a few traffic lights between the interchange and the City Services Center.
I have proposed posting a sign at the Government Center entrance to tell those seeking car tags they're in the wrong place, but at that point they've already driven there, and besides that, the folks who work security at the entrance say no one reads the signs there now.
The post-9/11 Government Center security measures prohibit not only the explosives and weapons, but also food and drinks, yet visitors walk right past the signs warning them of these rules and try to bring drinks in.
Residents should keep that rule in mind, if they're going to the Government Center, but still the point here is they ought not be going there at all, to get a car tag. So, pass it on.
Save someone the time and gas they'd waste.
Tim Chitwood, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-571-8508.