I went to a local photographer for my new passport photographs. The lady there was very helpful and professional, and the photograph cost me less than a photo booth!
I suspect the idea of not smiling on passport photographs is so that they match your expression at the Passport Control desk; after two hours on a Cryanair flight, having been herded off the plane with an electric cattle prod, and having lost the luggage that cost so much to take on the plane with you.
QUOTE(Aquarelle @ May 13 2012, 06:52 PM)
This is one of the kinds of reasons why countries go broke. They overload themselves with stupid administration and then collapse under the weight of it. Listener, you have my sympathy too!!
Some while ago a French farmer took his shot gun and shot an inspector visiting his farm. I can't remember if it was a tax inspector or a hygiene inspector or what. Now I am not advocating the murder of civil servants but there was a lot of sympathy here for the farmer who acted out of unbearable and longstanding frustration.
A farmer not far from here sprayed council offices and a branch of HSBC bank with manure in protest at unnecessary bureaucracy. Sadly, I think he too later shot a council employee out of sheer frustration with 'the system'.
I use my passport frequently, so I had to pay to make an appointment as the Passport Office to get it renewed, which I think cost me GBP 135 or so. (You would think they would give them to people who are exporting British goods and services.)
However, my experience of the Passport Office was stereotypical of the kind of bureaucracy and overstaffing that we hear about in government offices:
Firstly, there were two very large ladies operating an airport style security check point which customers had to pass through to enter the building. We are constantly told by government to reduce our energy consumption, (and are taxed to do so), yet the temperature in the security office was positively tropical, and the blow heater above the door nearly burnt the remaining hair from my head.
Next, having found the passport department I had to produce my paperwork to be given a raffle ticket, and was told to wait my turn in the waiting area. (There were no other customers at this time.)
After a wait of a few minutes I was called to one of the 12 Passport Officers' desks, all of which were staffed. My documents were checked, stamped, stamped again, and stamped once more for luck. I was told to go back to the waiting area to be called to the cashiers.
There were two cashiers on duty, one of which took my card payment. They told me to go back to the waiting area and await a call back to one of the Passport Officers' desks.
After a few minutes wait I was called back to the Passport Officer to provide my proof of payment. (Why don't the Passport Officers' desks have card terminals? Would any private enterprise operate this way?)
I was then told that my passport would be sent out by post that day, but I could not collect it myself.
Meanwhile, air travellers face delays of two hours of more at Passport Control because of "staff shortages".