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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

Canadian Passport Office Nonsense
By Paul Tomori
Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 14:33:14 (EDT)

Time for a gripe!

I went to the passport office today which is literally the next door in the hallway inside the building where I have worked for 5 years. First of all, the guy behind the counter, who I have seen a kazillion times, looked at me like I was a total stranger. Perhaps he is actually an android just programmed to do password applications?!

Then, I was presented with two options.

1) I could have my renewed passport mailed to me. It would be sent by courier and would require a signature on arrival


2) I could pickup the passport from the passport office for a $10 service charge!

Call me crazy but if I am saving the passport office the expense of mailing my passport by courier, then shouldn't I be paying less for the renewal?? Why am I asked to pay $10 more? I pointed out this irrationality to the android (er, man) behind the counter, and he blankly stated that he did not really know why there was an extra charge and that perhaps there were printing costs involved for the pickup cost (I see... answer irrationality with even more irrationality!). Doesn't the passport have to be printed in either case?

Anyway, it's things like this that can really grate on a person. And it concerns me. You see, I am one of those guys who is as a general rule of thumb, calm as a cucumber, even in crisis. It takes a lot to get me riled. Yet, this annoying and irrational charge was getting under my skin. What would this annoyance do to someone who is more prone to bursts of rage? The world is stressful enough these days. Long wait times at the passport office and unnecessary bureaucratic paperwork all add up to making a simple passport renewal into a very unpleasant (possibly enraging) experience. Why is this allowed? Who makes up these ridiculous policies??

It all reminds me of Bell Canada's similarly absurd fee that they charge if you DON"T want your number printed in the phone directory. They default to providing you a service at no charge (i.e. inclusion in a phone directory), but if you don't want that service, then they charge you for not taking that service! Crazy, isn't it?

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