The circular reasoning of the USPS, or the real reason so few Americans own a passport

by awindram

2011 figures revealed only 30% of Americans owned a passport, they did not reveal the percentage of people who attempted to submit a passport application and were frustrated by USPS efficiency – something I experienced this week.

Me: “I’d like to submit a passport application for a child. I’ve got all the paperwork here and filled out.”
Postal Worker: “Do you have an appointment? You need an appointment for us to accept that.”
M: “Okay, can I schedule one?”
P: “No, I can’t do that for you.”
M: “Really?”
P: “Yes, only a supervisor can schedule a passport appointment.”
M: “Can you get a supervisor then?”
P: “No, they’re all unavailable.”
M: “All? There’s not a single one of them available?”
P: “Sir, they’re all in a meeting.”
M: “Well, how long will it be until one is available?”
P: Ponders. “It’ll be an indeterminate length of time.”
M: “Indeterminate? So their meetings aren’t for a scheduled amount of time? They just go in there and nobody knows when exactly they’re coming out?”
P: “You’re welcome to wait, sir.”
M: “For how long?”
P: “As I said, indeterminate.”
M: Sighs. “There’s no way you or anyone else can make the appointment for me?
P: “No, it has to be a supervisor?”
M: “Is there any other way of making an appointment?”
P: “I can give you the number of a supervisor and you can call later and make an appointment.”
M: “Great, what’s the number?”
P: “I’ll be honest, sir, I can give you the number but the supervisors never really answer their phones.”
M: “Seriously, you just can’t schedule an appointment for me?”
P: “No, but a supervisor would be happy to.”