In our first General Studies lesson when I was in 6th form (a long long time ago) our teachers told us that we would need to learn to fill forms, and that we would be filling forms for all our lives. How very right they were; bureaucracy is rife in the UK.
I've been very slowly been changing my bank and all other stuff to my married name. Sometimes I wish I hadn't bothered as it's such a hassle. Forms forms forms.
The mother of all forms is the passport one. And to top it all, I had to change photos too. Now, in the olden days, there used to be photobooths everywhere. But I guess with the advent of camera phones and home printing, the need for booths has diminished. But I needed one to take my passport photo. So I went on the hunt, ending up trotting all over Eltham high street. After some time, I found a booth in WH Smith.
So photos done, form filled in, covering letter written for bits that didn't fit in the form. I happily trotted to the Slade post office hoping to get it all checked and sent today as the price goes up tomorrow.
Then the nightmare begins. Apparently, I have to get my photos countersigned. However, this was not clear when I was filling in the form, nor on the IPS website in the section for name change. The arse behind the post office counter started getting funny with me. If it was so clear, he could have easily pointed it out to me. But no, he had to spend ages reading the guidelines, then had to get out an over sized operation manual and really he couldn't find a clear indication that a name change required countersigned photos. In final desperation, he looked at my existing passport and then at my new photos and declared my appearance had changed. Utter and complete tosh. And this point, I want to grab his tiny little brain head and shove it into the floor. Everytime I have to do anything more complicated then buying stamps from this place, there are complications.
I left the post office in a bad mood. I must admit that I am not surprised post offices are dying out. The customer service totally sucks. I will eventually get my photos signed once I find an official to do it, however, I am sure many are put off by the need to put their own passport number on the form. The sad thing is that the bureaucrats can justify all this madness.