It’s time for the missus and me to renew our passports so off we went to get the required photos – eyeglasses off, no smiling, just look like you’re a really pissed off terrorist in waiting and the picture will be perfect. Then they take two shots so they can be sure to have an ugly one to submit with your application.
After downloading and completing all the forms (Seriously? It’s a renewal – you already have all that info!) we headed off to submit them to the Great BureaucracyTM (aka Government of Canada) along with a couple hundred bucks for processing of same (aka doing their jobs). There’s a Service Canada office in town so that’s where we go.
Not so fast. As the lone woman behind the counter who seemed to have nothing to do today – a canon fired in the office wouldn’t have hit a thing except a Closed for Lunch sign hanging on the door - explained, you must read the fine print which, she was kind enough to show me, said “Many Service Canada Centres are passport receiving agents”. Unfortunately this office was not one of the “many”, but she offered to check the forms over for completeness anyway. Beats mind-numbing boredom I guess, and it looked like she’d already done her nails.
She also offered some options.
I could go to the nearest Service Canada office that did accept passport applications but that was 60 miles away and I should expect to “wait a couple of hours before you’ll get to see someone”. If I did that it would then take 5 to 6 weeks to get the new passports.
Or I could go to the passport office itself which is about 70 miles away, only have to wait in line for an hour or so, and we’d get our passports in 10 business days.
Or I could take them to a Canada Post office which, for another $20 apiece (plus tax, of course), would send the forms along (aka doing their job) to the passport office. And your guess is as good as mine how long that would take once Canada Post’s requisite mail storage and retention period gets factored in. Which is all academic anyway as the local post office isn’t one of the designated “receivers”, and the closest one is further away than the passport office itself.
Yup, we’re here to help, unless we don’t feel like it, in which case you get to spend 3 or 4 hours and a few gallons of gas chasing down someone who cares.