I tell you what, Costco never would have pulled this s***

Because I am bad at filling out W-4s (but adequate at producing babies) it turns out that the gub'ment people owe me some money this year. And I am using that money to get passports for the Gentleman Husband and myself. It's freaking me out not having one, because I'm sure I will end up missing out on some amazing last-minute adventure. (And yes, maybe I do have my life confused with the lives of TV and movie people and folks with, you know, money, but a girl can dream.) I realize it's not uncommon to be an American without a passport, and have previously defended my fellow Americans from the scoffs of the British on that very subject. But still. I want one.

Of course, once I get one I will want to go somewhere with it. That's the bit I'm still trying to sort out. But it won't matter because I will never get our passports processed and it's all Sam's Club's fault. They keep screwing up our pictures! We all went in on Saturday and took our passport photos (mine, GH's, and the two boys) because they only charge $5 per photo instead of the $15 per photo that the passport office charges. I'm trying to be thrifty. In my picture I'm trying not to smile but also thinking about international travel which makes me want to smile and so I ended up looking a bit smirky.

Today GH and I met up at the Post Office on his lunch break for our passport application appointment (which, yes, you have to make). Aaaaaaaand both of our photos were too small. Like, the girl who took our pictures didn't zoom in enough or something. So we made a new appointment for tomorrow and hauled ourselves and the kids back to Sam's Club for retakes. (Note: I had no make up on and was wearing a hat over my disgusting, matted down hair.)

GH: Yeah, but that's what most people probably look like after an international flight anyway.
Me: Tired and pissed off with crappy hair? Sounds right.

Unfortunately, the woman at the photo lab was the same one who took our initial pics on Saturday.We took the new pictures. (This time I looked like I was staring with dead eyes of hate at the camera, which, not far off.) We grabbed a not-at-all-healthy lunch at the food court while we waited for the new pics to process since that's all we now had time for. GH went back to work, and I got the new photos. The employee tried to wander off while I opened them, but I called her back over.

Me: My husband's photo still looks really small. It's barely bigger that the one from Saturday.
Her: No, it's fine. I checked it.
Me: Really? It's smaller than mine. I'm worried that they won't take it at the passport office.
Her: Well . . . I mean . . . I coooouuuuld resize it . . . if you really want . . . (translation: if you really want to be an anal cow about it) but I checked and double checked and I'm positive it's the right size.
Me: And if it's not?
Her: Then you can just come back in!
Me: Yeah, except that would mean I've been in here three times. I don't want to come in three times.

I knew she had to be sucking crack balls, so I drove straight to the post office, hoping that TDL wouldn't pee his pants, and showed the guy at the passport office the pictures. He burst out laughing and told me that not only was GH's picture way too small, but it wasn't centered and there's no way the government would accept it. Also my picture was now too big. And then I said the word of Whore and I really hope TDL didn't hear me. He says they get the worst photos from Sam's Club and Walmart (shocker). Your best bet if you don't want to pay $15 for them to do it at the office? Walgreens, who charges $12.

Ugh. So now I will call Sam's and speak to a manager and explain that they need to get their staff freaking trained if they are going to take people's money in exchange for something they claim is a passport photo. And when you don't know how to do your job the right response is not to tell the mom dragging kids around that she can just keep going back and forth between Sam's and the post office. And I want all my money back and I won't be giving them another chance to get it right because they are awful.

You know Costco would have gotten it right the first time. I'm just saying.

UPDATE: I just got a call from the woman at the passport office (the one we had our initial appointment with). I guess when she came back from her lunch break the guy there told her I'd come in. So she was calling to tell me to go to this specific store to get our photos tonight by 7pm because she knows that GH is rushed for time tomorrow and that way I can just come in by myself and get everything processed. THAT is some service! Way to be, government agency!


Saskia said... [reply]

So when I got my passport renewed at the American consulate in Amsterdam, they hassled me about the pictures, too. Dutch photographers know how to take Dutch passport pictures perfectly well, but of course American standards don't meet European ones (OF COURSE!), and although I had given clear instructions, on paper, to the photographer, my pictures weren't centered quite right or something. which meant I had to retake my pictures the morning of my appointment, go through the hassle of standing in line outside the consulate, again, having my bags checked, again, and then mercifully getting to the American waiting room, where lines are short (in marked contrast to everyone in the European waiting room, who were stuck there for hours). Aargh. Good times.

Desmama said... [reply]

Dude. That would irritate me too! Also, good to know about Walgreen's, because I've been thinking that it's been over ten years since we've had ours now (also, we've had three additional children), so we need to get things in order that way. I'm hankering for some Costa Rica, and I'm determined to get there one of these days!

Nemesis said... [reply]


Desmama, they also said that the Walmart in NORTH Logan usually does a good job. NOT the South one, though. They said don't go to the south one.

Nemesis said... [reply]


Saskia, I apologize on behalf of America for having such weirdo passport photo rules. Blah.

goddessdivine said... [reply]

Did mine at Walgreen's three years ago. Way easy. But I never had to make an appt to renew my passport; I just sent the stuff in. Piece of cake. (First time getting the passport though I vaguely remember being somewhat of a project.....)

Yeah, Sam's sucks. Costco rules!!

Nemesis said... [reply]


Goddess! Hello!!

I'm like you, I could have just renewed mine through the mail, but I met GH at the passport office because I had all his application stuff with me (woops). Turned out to be a good thing, though, since that's how I found out they would have rejected my picture if I'd just sent it in the mail like that.

But yeah, point: Costco is the best.

brinestone said... [reply]

I'm latching onto a random detail, but you've apparently read some Junie B. books? I shouldn't be surprised; you're a librarian after all. But I hadn't heard of them until Lego was in kindergarten.

Also, that sounds like all kinds of a headache. You'd better take a really awesome trip now to make it all worthwhile!

beckyww said... [reply]

So since you have a Sam's membership - you know they have an auction site, right? I consider it the best-kept secret of internet shopping. auctions.samsclub.com You can really clean-up after the major gift-giving holidays. They feature stuff from all their stores, not just your regional store. It's powered by eBay. They don't rape you on shipping. And it's a Dutch auction, so you get it for $1 over the next-highest bid. I have bought my first two Christmas gifts for 2014 on the auction site already - an electric blanket (about 1/2 of other retailers), and a jewelry box (about 2/3 of other retailers.) My strategy is to bid 1/3 of value if I'd just like to have it; 1/2 if I really want it. I bid 2/3 to start if I really want it and won't have much time to watch my email to see if I'm being outbid (and really need to raise my bid.) Yes, I sound like a commercial, but it's a serious benefit of Sam's membership and I have never found one person to whom I've mentioned it who knows a darned thing about it.

elliespen said... [reply]

I seem to recall having had good luck getting passport photos at Kinko's/FedEx/whatever they call it now. And I know they were cheaper than the post office. Just in case you need more options.

And yes, Costco 4Evah.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Brinestone, Amyjane introduced me to Junie B when we were roommates. Isn't she hilarious?

Nemesis said... [reply]


Beckyww, I had no idea about the auction site! Will have to check it out. I was actually using my in-laws' Sam's card--will have to tell them too. I do appreciate how Sam's is cool about people lending their cards to friends and family. Costco, bless its heart, is not so much.

MBC said... [reply]

I was going to comment that this is so strange because I got my best passport photos EVER at Sam's Club, but then I realized that I actually got them at Costco, so . . .

Also, this post reminds me that I have to go do all the paperwork and rubbish to get my baby her passports and all registered with America so that she can go live in America someday, if she wants, and not have to add lots of silly, unnecessary letter us to her spelling.

Jenny said... [reply]

The fedex or ups store over by Jamba Juice does it for $15 but they let you retake them as many times as you want!

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

My passport lapsed last November, and I'm getting a new one this summer. I feel so naked and vulnerable without a passport. How am I supposed to make good on threats to leave the country if I don't have a freaking passport?!

Sarah Familia said... [reply]

We always just stick the family member up against a white wall (or a white blanket if it's a baby), and do them ourselves. We get consistent compliments from the passport office people about the perfection of our photos. AND we get to touch them up in photoshop and get rid of our zits and stuff.

This Old Guy said... [reply]

Not that I plan on leaving the country.... probably ever....but I mow know where not to go for passport pictures. ;)

Cathy said... [reply]

I've started using my passport when I travel rather than my drivers license sometimes. Of course, an Alaska driers license is kinda cool too!
I won't tell your Dad that you went to Sam's - he would be so disappointed!

AmyJane said... [reply]

Brinestone, Stephanie and I have sounded like Junie B, especially in blog form for at least a decade now. It's special. And now my little girls listen to the books on CD non-stop which is alternately happy and annoying to me. :)

Missy W. said... [reply]

Just got Elle her passport, and Walgreens rocked it!

Nemesis said... [reply]

@Missy W.

I'm so glad!

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

Only in Utah would a government employee be that helpful. Really. I know. I live in the DC area.

emandtrev said... [reply]

Oh my, my, my...that is HORRIBLE. I'm glad somebody finally knew how to make things right. Hmpf.

emandtrev said... [reply]

Oh my, my, my...that is HORRIBLE. I'm glad somebody finally knew how to make things right. Hmpf.

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

I'm putting together my passport renewal stuff today (mine lapsed and I got married, so name change) and wondered to myself if Costco, which I'm already planning to visit today, does passport photos. This post was one on the first page of results on Google. So, it's off to Costco today! I'll report back on the results. :)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hah! AmandaStretch, that's awesome. I hope you have a blessed time at the Costco! ;-)

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

I did indeed have a blessed time at the Costco that day! My photo worked out great and my new passport arrived last week. Sadly, it arrived after we left for our road trip that would have involved Canada if it had. Oh well. Next time! :)

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