Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Post Office Nightmare

I needed to get my two younger sons passports. I looked online and saw that a post office near me has a passport office. The hours were 10:30-3:30 M-F guaranteeing that one had to miss work and/or school to go. I took the boys out of school at 11:30am hoping that they would only miss lunch at school.

Two hours later it wasn't even worth taking them back to school. Did I mention there were only five people in front of me?

I stopped mailing things through the post office years ago and only use UPS. Evey time I went I had to wait a minimum of 45 mins to mail a package.

But with passports you aren't given a choice of a private company to choose from. They have you completely trapped. Several people left in the line behind me because they had to get back to work by 1:00.

There was only one worker in an office behind a door. When someone would leave it would take a least five to ten minutes before they asked the next one in. The worst part to me is that there were no chairs. Even the even less efficient DMV has chairs when you have to wait hours.

The people in line to mail packages didn't have it much better. There were five windows, but only one worker. One poor woman had four small children with her. By the time she got to the window they were irritable and whiny and who could blame them? I was irritable and whiny.

As I waited in line for all that time I knew there was the distinct possibility that I might not have the right documents. Once, with one of my teenagers, I went to the DMV where I waited in line 1 hour for the information desk just to be told that I needed his social security card. I had a print out of the DMV website where it clearly stated that one did NOT need the SS card. I showed it to her and she just shrugged and said that I did indeed need it. So we drove 25 mins back home, got the card and went back and waited another hour and half for him to take the test.

So, this time I had every document my children possess whether the documents were listed on the website or not. I also saw on the passport website that Passport photos are taken at the post office I was going to. But I took no chances and got their photos made at Walgreens. Good thing, because when we got to the front of the line there is a small sign that says "no photos of children under 16 taken." It might be nice to have that on website. But what can we expect? Also, why exactly can't they take photos of children under 16?

Which brings me to my question. Why do we put up with this? When I twittered about this I must have gotten 50 responses from people who all agreed. We have all had experiences like this.

We should have a tea party for the sole purpose of protesting the inefficiency of government agencies that trap us into using them and give us lousy service.

All I could think of while I was waiting in line is THESE ARE THE PEOPLE OBAMA WANTS RUNNING OUR HEALTHCARE! That is a complete nightmare.

When the time comes for Obama's big healthcare push we should just simply put up video (real video) of people standing in line in post offices and DMVs across the country, waiting and waiting with no chairs, no help, no efficiency. And at the end of watching about a minute of this have the line "Welcome to government run healthcare."

Maybe we can't do much about the post office or the DMV, but we sure as heck can prevent another bloated bureaucracy running something that all of us need.