We took our little daughter to the Main Post Office to renew her passport last week. We searched online to find out the hours before we headed there. It said it closed at 3 pm. I took my daughter there right after school to avoid getting her out of school too early. My husband took off early from work and got there to line up before 2pm. There was already a long line when we got there at 2:30pm. The lady in front of us told us that she was there the day before and had lined up since 1:30pm, and at almost 3pm an official lady had come and told her that they couldn't accept anymore people for that day. She was cut off with a couple of ladies in front of her. We were hoping we would not be so unfortunate to have to come back another day since it's a hassle to have both parents and the kid present when applying a passport for a minor.
We couldn't see how many people were working in the passport service office as the line was so long out the door. Everyone there just waited very patiently without knowing why it seemed like it took 20 minutes or more to see only one family left the office. Most of the people with kids just had their spouse take the kids out and back again later to line up. I was so tired of standing up that my feet were hurt and I had to stay in my car. My husband later told me that an official lady came and passed out a red card to the last person to be admitted to the line up and sent the rest home at 3pm.
We finally got in to the door at 4:30pm and there was only one official lady working the office. The same lady who passed out the red card earlier. Due to the bad economy, many of the post offices have closed down and I guess they also cut down the manpower there too. I have to compliment the official lady for being so patient even though I could see she was tired but was still multi-tasking with answering all the questions from her colleagues while processing our application. To make her feel a little better, we chatted with her a little bit while she looked through the paperwork. She told us she had been working there 27 years and she knew the ins and outs of the whole thing. Sure enough the bad economy did cut off the employees there. It was good that we didnt' t need to take pictures there. We already had 2 photos and application filled out, a check for $60 to the Passport Service and $25 for the Postmaster. It didn't take us too long to finish, but when we left there it was already 4:45pm. What a tiring afternoon just for renewing a passport. I am glad we don't have to do this until years later.