Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WalMart vs. United States Government

Jericho and I will be applying for our passports on Friday morning. Yay!!! Part of the requisite materials are the passport photos. While at the Wal-Mart photo center recently, we saw a big picture of a happy blond lady holding her passport and two photos with the words inset "Get passport photos here!" Fabulous! I had to pick up some pictures so we went by to get our pretty, smiley passport photos taken.

Upon asking Barb (or whatever her name was) that we would like passport photos, she looked at me, then back at Jericho, then me again and furrowed her brow like I'd just asked her to lick the bottom of my shoe. "You can't wear that shirt." I was wearing a black t-shirt with a red "STATE" written across the chest. "And YOU [Jericho] can't wear that." He was wearing a gray hoodie, which he intended on removing for the picture, and he promptly informed Barb as such. After deliberating what to do about my printed t-shirt situation (like it was the biggest problem she'd encountered in her Wal-Mart career) I asked if it would be okay to just turn it inside out. Genius!

I go to the restroom to flip around my shirt. I come back and Barb is taking Jericho's picture and freaking out about his white shirt collar that is peaking out from under his plain gray t-shirt. Finally after multiple adjustments to his shirt, his picture is taken. Then it's my turn. "Push your hair behind your ears. Your ears have to be showing." My response: "Why? SHE [the pretty lady in the advert] isn't showing her ears!" Fine. I'll look like a dweeb who flattens my hair behind my ears for my passport photo. Just take the picture. [Sidenote of a little self-praise: I have an apparently rare ability to take very normal driver's license pictures. In fact, I have received multiple compliments on my various ID pictures. This photo ID experience is clearly not shaping up to continue this trend.]

So there I sit, flat back hair, both ears showing proudly, inside out t-shirt. I am ready for the picture and give the smile I hope to be seen by all the countries I'll visit over the next 10 years. "Don't smile." WTH lady!! My response again: "Then why is the pretty girl in this picture smiling??" I understand that the passport photo is for an official government issued document with official rules but really, when I take this somewhere, people aren't going to think it's me because I generally don't go around with flat hair and looking pissed off at the world because I'm a happy person and I SMILE!!! They are going to take me off in handcuffs because the girl in my photo is angry and ugly and doesn't know how to put her clothes on properly. She assured me that everyone's passport photo is bad anyway and that each one of these oppositions that I am having to her passport photo process is an issue that she has encountered before and that if said requirement is not followed, the gov'ment will not use those photos. 

Her last comment to me after taking the final picture, "Yeah, you're not going to like this picture." She was just a big, giant ray of sunshine in my day.

Part of the reason I was so shocked by Barb's passport photo requirements is because, like any good American, I did my research before going to take our pictures. On the US Government website for information on your passport, here is the list of requirements for your photo:
  • 2 Identical photos
  • In color
  • 2 x 2 inches in size
  • Taken within the past 6 months, showing current appearance
  • Full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background
  • Between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
  • Taken in normal street attire:
    • Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except religious attire that is worn daily 
    • Do not wear a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline 
    • If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig or similar articles, they should be worn for your picture 
    • Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required)
Nothing that she made us do is on this list. NOTHING. According to the government of the United States of America, we were in no violation of any passport photo guideline. But, according to Barb McDemanding, this was not so. I hate going somewhere looking like I don't know what is required of me. I like being prepared. I like having my research done. Therefore, I was not happy that Barb was so quick to instruct me on my erroneous passport photo expectations.

And it was $15 for both Jericho and me. How come they can print off a 5x7 print of your dog for 10 cents but they charge you $15 to get a couple 2x2 prints of just your face? If there is an issue with our photos when we go apply on Friday, so help me, I will be demanding a refund for my $15 pictures. And maybe sue her for pain and suffering.

Clearly this is further evidence that Wal-Mart thinks of themselves as more powerful than the US government. Next, I expect they'll take on God Himself.


  1. That's hilarious :). You should print off that info from the government and bring it in with you when you pick up your photos.

    By the way, I'm glad you and Jericho get to go on a vacation. I don't think I'll ever go on a cruise because of my fear of the ocean and my very uneasy tummy, but generally, I think most people enjoy them. :) I love the idea of 24 hour buffet that's already paid for. Perhaps one day we'll stay at an on land resort that has something similar :).

  2. HAHA WOW! That's um...stressful. You should have told the lady you did your research and what they government actually listed. As a matter of fact there's no reason whatsoever that you shouldn't have been allowed to wear your shirt the right way because those pictures don't show anything below your shoulders. Silly. Oh well one more thing to add to the list of stuff not to do at walmart.

  3. You should send a letter to the editor of the N&O, condensed of course:)

  4. My hair is in front of my ears and I'm smiling in my passport picture.
    I think she was messing with you.

  5. Lame. The biggest problem I had getting my passport picture was I noticed (after the picture was taken) that I was missing an earring. ...I was smiling though. Lame Barb.

  6. You made me laugh so hard... thanks for that!!

  7. Hi Kelley,
    We haven't met but we're related. I am Jericho's cousin and I just found your blog off of Lachlan and Alexis's blog list. Just wanted to "introduce" myself and let you know that I'll be reading, so if I leave comments you won't think I'm some weird internet creeper.

    As far as the passport photos go, I'd be pretty miffed. Those things last for a decade. I looked pretty cute in mine - and I wore a purplel shirt and had long sweeping bangs covering half my face. I think Barb must've been on a power trip.

  8. Hey K-dizzle, I hope this doesn't make you feel cheated, I just received my new passport. The picture of me against an off-white wall in my house was taken by my wife and printed out on Kodak paper via ye olde HP color printer. Sure, I look like a criminal, but how often do you look at your passport, anyway? Since one's head takes up 1 5/8" of a 2" photo, I don't see why Wal*mart has such strong feelings about shirts.


About This Blog

Come Again Soon!