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Colossal waste of time

By UrbanAnthropod, July 12, 2010 6:04 pm

After July 13 2010, passport fees will be increased. So I went out and had my passport pictures taken and filled out the form for renewal since I have only 4 months left on my current passport. The web sites say that one can go to the passport facilities, like various U.S. Post offices. So I went by the other day to check out the passport center hours at the Post Office. Turned out that the Passport Center was open at 10:30. So I planned to leave work with my checkbook.

Today, I stood on the line patiently while listening to various customers ahead of me complain about numerous problems with the Post Office. I got up to the window and started presenting my documents when I was told that renewals had to be sent in by myself through priority mail. Here I thought that a Passport Center would accept my old passport and documents and handle the renewal for me as long as I paid the fees. Boy, I was wrong. Turns out that the Passport Center inside the Post Office handled new passports. This went against my experiences ten years ago when I had to renew my original passport where I had to go down to the Passport Center inside (actually adjacent to) the Post Office and go through the routine.

So I was instructed to retrieve an envelope from behind me and stand in the other line for regular postal issues. I was reluctant to fill out any addresses since it would take a couple minutes and I might have been using the wrong envelopes. When my turn arose at the window, I asked if it was the correct envelope and instead of being answered, I was simply told to stand off to the side and fill out the envelope. So I re-inserted myself at the end of the line and waited patiently after doing what was instructed. After several customers, I went to another window where the agent scolded me for not filling out the form. you know, the one noone told me to fill out because they didn’t feel the need to respond appropriately to my previous question.

In the end, the passport and forms were sent off with my fee. So now I can’t leave the country until 6-8 weeks (as I was told in the Post office) or 4-6 weeks according to the State Department website. If I had known ahead of time that I could not renew my passport in person at the Passport Center, I would’ve had that form sent last week instead of waiting for the hours of the Passport Center. Let’s see how long this takes. And Thanks for the [sarcasm]great[/sarcasm] service.

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