controlled by the Spirit. (or, the reason I don't hit somebody.)

Last night I drove to CVS to get my passport photo. It only took a couple of minutes and I was on my way. So I planned today to walk to the post office over lunch and apply for my passport. Now I'm the kind of person who thinks ahead, strategizes … to save time. So before today I went to the passport website and filled out the application electronically and printed a copy. Then I get to the lady at the USPS counter.

USPS: "OK, you are going to need to fill out another application. When this prints, it smashes the size so the photo box is too small.
"And also, these photos aren't going to work. They are too grainy."

Me: "What? I went to CVS!"

USPS: "Just because they say they do passport photos doesn't mean they do them right."

Me: "So who does do them right?"

USPS: We do!

(Of course you do. And I bet you charge more than CVS, too. And note on the photos: CVS claims their photos meet government standards. And the asterisks only claim you can't apply for your passport there.)

So here I am not prepared to take a picture. I haven't touched up my makeup and my face is shiny. She points this out by telling me to wipe my forehead before she takes the second picture. (Thanks, lady for making me feel extra unattractive today.) Now my passport photo for the next 10 years will be Angry Alyssa.

Then I stand to the side and fill out my application by hand. Then I wait in line for the other customers to finish at her counter. Then she does everything, tells me to raise my right hand and swear that the information is correct and that the picture is an accurate representation of myself (my greasy, angry self).

Fortunately she marks the CVS photos as unacceptable so I can get a refund, which is wonderful because going home to dig my receipt out of the trash and then driving all the way back to CVS (which is not in a convenient location for me at all!) is exactly what I wanted to do tonight. Sheesh. I'm going to go walk the stairs to release some of my frustration.


  1. They were friendly at the post office in Manhattan, and we had our photos taken there. I was wearing a light pink shirt. The photo looked okay, but not great. Then I got my passport. They scan the photo now and it's printed on the page. They white balanced the photo to my pink shirt, so my face looks like I'm nearing death. Then they photoshopped my hair instead of cropping it, so on one side it hangs beyond where the box should be. Since your frustration came with the application, maybe you'll get lucky and the passport will actually look great!

  2. You should at least call CVS and ask them to mail you a refund.

  3. ridiculous. ridiculous.

    List of people I would rather (fill in the blank) then have to interact with:
    1. DMV workers
    2. USPS workers
    3. Car Mechanics

    The last time I was at the post office, they told me I couldn't use my credit card because I hadn't signed it on the back. Really? So I signed it and handed it to the lady. Sheesh.


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