Monday, May 16, 2011

Most expensive paper ever

Today I went to the US Citizen Services office to add more pages to my passport, which I need in order to renew my Chinese work visa. What would have been a relatively painless errand punctuated with contented reflection on my glorious travels was mired by the USD$82 price tag Uncle Sam put on extra passport paper.

Until recently they gave out extra paper for free, but then some brilliant soul at the State Department thought to himself, Why give it to them for free...when we can give it to them for $82?

Now you might be thinking - well passports are important business, perhaps it needs to be sent to a special processing center, homeland security and such - No! It's a 30-minute task where someone staples the extra paper into the booklet.

I was so mad, when I got back to my office I wrote my congressman, Peter DeFazio. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Representative,

I recently had to add pages to my passport. I work overseas and travel a lot, but actually do not make very much money - less than $XXXX per month [some things I'm willing to share with my congressman, but not my blog readers. I'll grant you it's four figures].

Today I went to the US Consulate in Shanghai to have more pages added to my passport in order to get a new China visa. Having pages added to a passport used to be free and now it costs $82. I simply cannot fathom what the fee goes toward as it is a service that only takes an hour and all they do is stick the extra paper in the book.

This is an outrageous act of extortion on the part of the US government - an act that preys upon people like me who must travel a lot for work and have no other option but to pay such a fee.

I hope you can help.


Leslie Anne Jones

A bit much perhaps, but cathartic in the doing. I'm interested to see what kind of response I get.

p.s. The Bill Paxton movie doesn't want me to be Crystal the one-line attractive secretary. I had a brief screen test in a middling Chinese hotel Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the day wondering why I can't pass for a one-line attractive secretary. Guess I'm not cut out for acting, the rejection is awful!

p.p.s. The most expensive paper ever, actually, according to GoldenStore, is this 14th Century parchment, $13,760 per piece.

p.p.p.s. Even more Googling reveals the world's most expensive paper mâché nun is worth $1.2 million.


Alison Martin said...

We're broke. We need the money.

Alison Martin said...

(Disclaimer: the previous comment was EBM not AGM)

Leslie said...

Meh. I suppose he's right.