Our daughter needed a passport renewed. This used to be a small thing, but in its great wisdom Congress decided both parents must be present during renewals.
So the entire family went to our local post office before the start of school. The post office "passport person", unfortunately, was not so prompt. She was late for work. So we aborted that one.
We tried again another day - at mid-day. This time the passport person was out to lunch.
It's not a new problem. Five years ago, in a previous renewal, the "passport person" was on vacation when we drove out to the post office.
Mercifully, the morning of the latest Fail, a friend had mentioned a passport center near our office. So we ended up at a regional passport center. In addition to doing renewals they take pictures; that was fortunate because our daughter wore a headband in her Kinko's passport picture -- and that's not permitted. It had to be retaken.
The bottom line -- don't bother with the Post Office if there's a regional passport center you can get to. If you can get through to the national number (good luck) they supposedly do reservations.
Oh, and bring a checkbook too -- they don't take credit cards.