One of the things Teach for America requires of new corps members is that they join Americorps. To do that, corps members must first submit some paperwork which includes two sets of fingerprints. This must be done before arriving at Induction.

Getting my fingerprints done was quite an adventure. I received an email from TFA with the form I was supposed to get my fingerprints done on, so I printed two copies, filled them out, and took them to the Police station. When I got there, I was told the fingerprint place was closed (it was only open a couple of hours a week, apparently) and to come back on Monday.

Now, I live about three hours away from this particular police station, but circumstances conspired to place me back in town on Monday, so I happily returned to the police station (who else can say that?).

I was told to sit down and wait. Fortunately, I had brought a book. There were two officiants in the fingerprinting office, and one came out and looked at the papers I had brought and pronounced them all right. Finally, my turn came and I went into the office, where the other lady promptly and rather rudely informed me that she couldn’t use the papers I had brought (you couldn’t have told me that half an hour ago?) and that I needed to apply for and buy some official fingerprint cardstock, and that regardless she only does LiveScan. (I’m thinking, Okay, I have no idea what LiveScan is…do you do ink?) Politely, I asked her where I could get ink fingerprinting done, and she told me to go to UPS and gave me some directions.

Turns out the place she sent me to wasn’t UPS, but a Postal Annex. They did my fingerprints (on their own cardstock, I might add) for $19 each. That means it cost $38 to do both necessary copies. Yikes! (Incidentally, I was told I was fortunate that Americorps wanted ink and not LiveScan, as LiveScan costs $50-$90 a set.) It takes approximately five minutes for someone stick my fingers on an ink pad and then roll them on a piece of paper. No processing is done, they just give you the papers with your prints on it. The lady who did it was very nice and helpful, but is it really worth paying $456 an hour? I don’t think so. But then again, it’s the government…