I was thinking about going somewhere tropical in the winter months, so I decided to update my passport. I haven’t had a valid passport since I was in Jr. High, so I knew the process was going to be more difficult than a quick mail in form. Who knew the employees would talk me in circles until I wore a small circular patch into the carpet?

I printed and filled out all of the relevent information, gathered my documents and called my local post office to see what I needed to do. After following 100 prompts on their automated system, I finally got through to a real person, although I wondered if I was still talking to a robot based on the lack of emotion and life in their voice.

“Are you planning on coming in on a Saturday or during the week?” He said, in his dead tone of voice.

“Uhh Saturday. Do I need an appointment?”

“No, Saturdays are walk ins.”

“What time will the office be open?”

“10 am until 3pm.”

“Thank you!” I said in a bright and cheerful voice. On Saturday I did my hair, fixed my makeup and walked into the post office. I followed the signs to the small room and waited outside. And waited. And waited. Finally, I walked over to the employees behind the counter.

“Hi, I’m here to turn in my passport information.”

With a glower, the post office guy told me to wait by the door and someone would help me soon. So I waited some more. This is part of the reason no one likes the post office! Finally, a woman came out through the passport office door and asked me why I was standing there. I explained I was there to turn in my papers and get my picture taken.

We’re closed.

I was taken aback, I had called two days before to confirm they would be open and it was only 2:05p. “I thought you were open until 3.”

“We closed at 2.”

“I called on Thursday and the person I spoke to said you were open until 3. ”

“We closed at 2pm today.”

“But I was here waiting outside the office at 1:50 and no one came out. So I was here before you closed at 2. Also, the sign on the passport office door says you’re open 10am – 3pm on Saturdays.” I said defensively, pointing at the sign.

“We’re only open if you have an appointment. The last appointment was at 1:40p so we’re closed.” She said, as she started to walk back through the door.

“Wait, I called and they said that Saturdays are for walk-ins only. No appointments.” I was frustrated and it showed.

“Well they must have been mistaken, we’ve been taking appointments on Saturdays the past few weeks.”

“Fine,” I said, my voice strained, “I will call right now and make an appointment for 2:30p.” I felt a blood vessel in my temple pop out.

“Appointments must be made 24 hours in advance. We are closed on Sundays.”

I almost screamed as she turned and walked back into the passport office. I completely understand why people “go postal”…

Update: I did get my passport a few weeks later, out of necessity for my Europe trip. Yes, I did give them the evil eye the whole time.

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