• Member Since 4th May, 2013
  • offline last seen 7 minutes ago


On the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Vs. Cynicism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon page.)


This story is a sequel to Cart-ography

Every Barnyard Bargains comes with its own set of paperwork: this includes business licensing, sales tax certificates, and employee records. And every franchise separately files and renews the appropriate documents in their own jurisdiction, as needed -- until this year, when some unknown genius decided it would be more efficient to have just about everything done in one place. Mr. Rich, who would never ask anypony to go through something he wouldn't deal with himself, will need to hang onto several things in order to get this accomplished.

His documents.
His identification.
And, as much as it can be hoped for, his sanity.

(While this story takes place after Barnyard Barge-Ins and Cart-ography, no knowledge of those events is necessary: it can be read as a stand-alone.)

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

Chapters (1)
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 78 )

Edited to remove unintentional spoiler.

Well, depressingly accurate.

Author's Very Public Note (to be read only after finishing the story):

Quite a bit of what happens in this story was directly taken from things I went through during my last trip to the local goverment's motor vehicle commission. However, that includes this part: Sirocco is based on a real employee I met there, and possibly the only thing which prevented me from trying to take out the whole building. I wanted to give him something, and a place in a story he'll never see was the best I could do.

The actual building destruction went to Celestia.


Precog much?

I've been to the DMV, too (Although we Michiganders call it the Secretary of State).

I have professional licenses which need to be renewed there annually, along with driver's license and registrations for four or so cars. I have to take mechanic tests there.

Goddamn, talk about Hiway robbery.


I was looking for names of defunct hotel chains: that one was just too good to pass up.

Wait... is that really the origin of the phrase "Highway robbery"?

I hate the DMV. My boss several years ago had to renew her driver license and the women who was taking her picture was on the phone in a heated argument with someone. After several weeks of not getting her new license she found out that the camera they where using that day had no film in it, back before they went all digital. She and everyone else from that day had to go back in and redo the entire process as the temporary form had all expired and they had to refill out all the forms. Glad to see that Mr. Rich was able to get his revenge and not waist his time. Also seriously man ask out Derpy as she would be a great mom for your daughter!


No, that's the fault of the highwaymen. But there really was a defunct hotel chain with just the right name.

She deserves better.

Oh my gosh.

What a beautiful situation.

I do hope this is expanded upon sometime. Those two deserve happiness.

"Hello! I am from the Government and I am here to help!"

You’ve already got Celestia and Luna living in self imposed loneliness, please don’t do the same to Mr. Rich and Dulci. Buy the damn flowers and read bedtime stories to two!

Magnificent story. I’m looking forward to the next.

Some of the most terrifying words ever put to writing.

That Friday night, in a booth in a dark corner of Berry Punch's bar:

"She deserves better?" Cranky brayed softly, something Filthy Rich had learned was the old donkey's equivalent of a chuckle. "That what you think, Fil?"

"She does! And she's so young, I'm old enough to be her father, she deserves-"

"Son, listen to me." Cranky brayed again, but the look he gave the stallion wasn't unkind. "Stop wasting time. If things work out between you and her? She'll be marrying beneath her, true. But all jennys- all mares- do."

I've had good luck with the DMV so far (Jinx!). Walk in, no lines, tell them what I'm trying to do, they walk me through the steps, and I'm out the door. Middle of the morning or afternoon on Tuesday or Thursday seems to be best with the most staffing and the fewest customers.

Most (but not all) government offices *want* to get you through the system in as little time as possible, if there's no real line. If there is a line, there's no advantage to getting you processed quickly other than less stress.

Well, at least the DMV doesn't treat everyone as a potential terrorist, unlike other government offices I could name... :facehoof:

"If you can't deal with six, then please tell me who can."
"If you can't deal with fifteen, then please tell me who can."?

"Yeah. So good thing you two comprised, right"
"Yeah. So good thing you two compromised, right"?

By the way, did you ever post any of this before? Some of it seemed familiar to me.


That first was supposed to be 'more than six,' which is no less embarrassing. Thankee: fixed.

Certain information regarding the local version of Mr. Rich was repeated at the beginning of the story for the benefit of those who haven't read the other two works. Otherwise, this piece is new.

You're welcome.

Huh. Weird. The bit that seemed familiar was from when he was talking with Sirocco. Just deja vu, I suppose.

-- what's this part about bringing six points?

I laughed here, because it was that or weep.

I'm surprised there is room to expand for Canterlot. Do they expand the platforms or spread across the slopes of the mountain?

In all, marvelous stuff. For a bit there, I thought there might be some alien force of bureaucracy creeping into this universe, the GBCI but the toehold of a greater onslaught. (Did I mention I joined an nWoD playgroup recently?) The truth came as a relief and a delight, especially once the Sisters got involved. Here's hoping Mr. Rich takes that risky venture sooner rather than later. Of course, if Dulci's oh-so-clever facade backfires on her, that could force the issue... or render it entirely moot.

But that's a matter for another day. Thank you for this study in modern horror.

There were bits of this story that felt a bit rough, but otherwise very good.

From my (very short) time working at the DMV, the usual issue we have on the customer side can be summed up as "the customer didn't read the instructions and is trying to pull a fast one on us," with the usual variations of "scam" and "might pass the practical test for breeding, but not the written."

The moment I started to see how much of a mess this was, I was almost expecting someone to be offering a "expediting fee", in cash, at one of the counters.

Still, great story and really enjoying it.

Whoo! Things worked out at the GBCI, at least. EDIT: "At". not "For"! :facehoof:

OH. Department of Madness Vindication... Took to soo long to see that! ... Cool!

Was shipping Twilight X Mr. Rich, but Dulci X Mr. Rich would be cool too! ... Lol if Twilight X Dulci is a thing.

Hopefully that result at the end is the beginning of new laws to stop things like this from happening again!


Edit: Idea: Hire Twilight as Magical Consultant on the Fake Illusion case. Or maybe Trixie. Or both.

I think you have to burn it down, then build a bonfire out of what remains.

He looked up, saw golden mane and eyes. Nodded politely (which was generally all he trusted himself to do in her presence), and then reared up enough to sweep his left foreleg across a small portion of the desk, clearing space. She nodded back, and then the grey pegasus trotted into the room. The little bundle of envelopes was dropped into the vacant spot, followed by perfect teeth presenting the form for his signature.

Derpy? Mr. Rich is attracted to Derpy?! :derpyderp1::derpyderp2:


Hits home rather well for me too, but luckily I'm rural enough that I can still drop by the county courthouse and do everything in one fell swoop.

Also, some pony needs to give Fil a friendly nudge. Any time you start talking yourself out of spending time with another because they deserve better you are likely doing yourself a serious injustice.

This is probably *exactly* how license renewals work on Ferenginar.

Damn... very well done. Sirocco was so interesting, he immediately jumps off the page and gets your attention. We weren't in his head but he still felt layered with history. His conversation with Rich was like he already knew him somehow. Maybe when you get that old you can skip the introduction and cut to the heart of things. Some of Rich's history was nice, made me think of the Pears from canon a little.
The caricature of the DMV was spot on, and pretty funny too. I really want a story where Rich and Dulci get together, hopefully she would be able to see his sincerity and not just preemptively reject him if he finally does make a move.

Related, I think Estee writes the emotion of longing really effectively. I feel like it's come up a few times in some stories now.

I'm guessing that this:

I was in Mazein, and I picked up the politics bug. Took a while to really develop into the full-blown syndrome, but when it did, I went for the Night Court.

Is why Celestia says this:

"Most Senior Advisor Sirocco, is it possible to burn something down twice?"

Or did she just hire him for that position after meeting him?

Good lawd, I can't imagine what you must have been through to inspire this. I'm not sure even this very literal representation can do it justice to have produced this raw vehemence.

I've never had to go through any particularly bad problems at the DMV, but I've had a hell of a time with passport renewals a couple of times.

Aww, he should have bought it.

I, fortunately, have rarely had to deal that much with bureaucracy, and when I did, it's been reasonably efficient and swift. So, reading Mr. Rich's tale was especially... interesting.

But I will admit I was surprised to find that not only were most of the employees apparently on the take, but were the take...

That was a fun piece. I bet the burning of the building was particularly vivid in your mind.

Liked Sirocco, wouldn't mind seeing him in another story.

I would love to see a Derpy and Mister Rich story. I hope after teasing us with this you will consider writing it.

Huh. Well, colour me a little surprised that actual retribution was dealt out at the end. Given you'd said it was based on stuff you'd experienced, I was expecting another instance of "protagonist has to suck it up," but you actually went all Warth of Sunbutt.

Jolly good show.

Pegasi occasionally tried to lift off enough to hover while keeping their place, found their wings impacting the winding herd to either side, sank back down.

Shades of Luna's Lottery Lunacy, nice.

If you seriously had to go through even half of that, I am SO sorry. My personal experience with the DMV has been mostly 'meh' thus far, and I pray to Sun and Moon that it stays that way.

Estee, I commend you for writing something that so perfectly encapsulates the existential ennui of bureaucracy that I had to take a break, save visions of leading a rebellion and torching all the paperwork over a mound of flaming desks overcome me while I was at work.

This was hard to read but only because you were able to write down the process, or lack of it for most of the story, so well. Awesome job.


Hell, the Ferengi are at least honest about the entire matter and will ask for payment upfront.

This isn't to say they won't charge as much as they can get away with for things like expedited service, but they're not going to pretend otherwise.

Huh...it's odd that there's a no reading policy. Usually when I'm there, there's a bunch of magazines to look over and TVs with various trivia and sports on. Not a fan of the organ donor part, still working on a way to make sure those stay in the US and not international. Nice story all the same!

So...what does happen to those involved in such a scheme? It seems like jail time for the organizer and his immediate subordinates would be appropriate, but what about the bottom-rung "workers" in the family?

Neat. But one thing still gets me.... How did Celestia Find out, and When did she hire Sirocco?

I remember Diamond being terribly scared of that possibility in "A Confederacy of Dunce Caps", and it appears she was right.

The ending bit was two-weeks after Filthy Rich's visit.

He had people fill out the feedback cards that evening as they were leaving the building and after he returned to Ponyville he paid to have them sent to the Princesses by dragon fire, or if not them then somepony high enough to bring it to their attention.

I feel very fortunate that I have ONLY had to endure waiting in lines for a long time whenever I went to the DMV.

Again, Estee, you write the most cathartic stories and I love it. It's a niche that no one else seems to want to fill.

Sidenote: I live in a country where licence plates don't have to be specifically renewed, and you only have to renew your drivers license every 20 years or so (until recently, you didn't need to at all).

As such, the DMV sounds genuinely fictional.


The best part of Equestrian bureaucracy is having a pair of near-absolute monarchs at the top who are quite wiling to intervene when necessary. Celestia is bound by the laws.

She also wrote most of them. Always a thing to consider when trying to pull a fast one on her.

Her name is Dulcinea.

Okay, so the bit in the beginning with Derpy is very well written, but it confused the hell out of me. Your stories are generally supposed to be taking place within the framework of canon, right? Because if so, where is Filthy Rich's (admittedly awful) spouse in this picture? We've seen her hanging around the spa in season 7, so presumably not dead. Divorced because she's a terrible gold digging abusive sack of crap? Understandable, but I didn't get that impression. Did something happen somewhere else in this continuity that I missed?


The 'verse began long before the reveal of Diamond's canon parent. As such, I got the impression that Mr. Rich was a single father and, in both his and Diamond's stories, wrote the family that way.

It's too late to turn back now.

That is entirely fair. Was just really confused.

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!