Yesterday I transported meine Frau and kinder to the post office to renew our kids' passports. We waited a few minutes, then were told the person who did passports wasn't there. The office manager called and referred us to another branch. Ten minutes later we were waiting in line, then were told that the passport camera was broken. We were referred to a nearby CVS store. We arrived at the CVS store and were told the person who does the passports wasn't there. We were referred to another store, but instead drove to a nearby Walgreens. The Walgreens photo rep managed to take the photos of my restless children, but one of the photo computers was down and the other was being monoploized by a high maintenance customer who was not about to finish any time soon. It was suggested that I come back in an hour to pick up the prints.
After another trip to Walgreens, then to a public swimming pool to pick up the kids, we were back at the post office, which doesn't make copies of IDs, so it was off to a line at the currency exchange then back to the post office. The applications were submitted four hours after we first left the house. I think the total cost was around $400. The government got to keep most of the money- but in terms of service, there wasn't much difference between public and private employees or my experiences in either setting.