Friday, March 20, 2009

The Passport Line

Ah, the passport line - one of life's necessary evils. I am currently at the passport office on Victoria Street in Toronto. It is supposed to be the big TO's little-known secret passport office. The only place in the city where you don't have to get up absurdly early in you want to get your passport. Unfortunately, I think that the secret is out as there was a bit of a lineup when I got here. Still, better than the one at Yonge and Sheppard!

At any rate, that's not what I'm actually blogging about. I'm blogging about the very very strange system that they have for calling out numbers. When I first got here, I was directed to a lineup where the basic passport info is checked - basically so that neither your time nor the passport agent's time is wasted should you be missing an important piece of information. After a quick check, I was given a number. And then the waiting begins.

I checked the screen: D604. I checked my number: A064. how much longer would it be before I would be seen? Who knows...

I checked the screen periodically:


Hey! Not bad! It wouldn't be too long then! And then:


What the hell??? Can someone please explain this to me? I am definitely VERY confused!

I just love how bureaucrats manage to confuse both themselves and everyone around them. No wonder you can't get anything done around here! At least a binary system would make more sense! Now serving:


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1 comment:

Peter Lo said...

Not sure if this is the same system. But I recall at the office where people sign up for health cards, they had a similar mysterious numbering system.

It occurred to me that, that office dealt with not just health cards but various other government-issued documents too. My guess is that the first-letter prefix is just a way of categorizing the type of service that the wait-number is for.

And the wait-numbers for all these services are being displayed using the same calling system, and thus the need for the letter prefix.