Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Day At The Post Office in December

One thing that I truly dread every December is going to the post office to send a package to my friend in Canada. For other packages, I have a nice lady at work who will weigh the package and even figure out if I'd be better off sending it via UPS or USPS. But since the package to my Canadian friend involves completing a customs form, I must go to the post office to send it off.

So I woke up this morning and declared that this would be the day I would deal with that task (I always say that coloring my hair is my least favorite activity; I would have to say that this task is my second least favorite activity).

I arrived and there was a line of about 10 people. And one postal employee. I proceeded to fill out my customs form. That took a few minutes, and then I looked up to check out the line. Why is it that there is always one customer doing some kind of transaction that takes forever? And why is she always there when I'm there?

Well, she was there. And people are shifting their feet, watching and praying that another employee would magically appear. Well there were several other employees, but none of them seemed inclined to wait on anyone. Maybe it wasn't their job. But I think we are all spoiled by standing in a long line and having the lone employee make a page: "help needed at the front." This was clearly not gonna happen.

So the older lady who was 2 in front of me turned around, looking for someone to meet her eyes. That someone was me. She said "this is ridiculous. One employee 2 weeks before Christmas" And I said "I know. It's like this every year." She said "well this is just inexcusable."

I glanced at the guy between us and could tell he was annoyed at the complaints. He said nothing.

A few minutes later, the old lady (OL) turned around again to complain about the service. This time the annoyed man (I'll call him CM for cynical man) decided to join in.

OL: I have things to do! It's taking 10 minutes a person. It will be an hour before they get to me.

CM: In case you haven't heard, there's a deficit. And the post office can't afford to hire more people. So I consider it my patriotic duty to stand in line.

OL: How is it patriotic to stand in line?

CM: It's either that, or we pay higher costs.

OL: I'd rather pay higher costs.

CM: I wouldn't.

OL, looking at me: Well how do you feel about it? You get a vote.

Me: My salary certainly isn't going up every year.

CM, smirking: Yeah.

OL: Well my time is worth something. I would gladly pay more to not stand here for an hour.

CM: Ok, well offer the first guy in line a $20 and see if he'll let you go ahead of him.

OL, eyes rolling: You know, there should be a way that we can weigh our own letters and not have to wait for this.

CM: There is a way. There's a scale over there.

OL: Well I don't know if it's first class or what.

CM: It has instructions on it.

OL: I'm not very technical.

I actually wasn't minding the wait, since I found this all quite amusing. In the meantime, they did add a second employee. As I watched the two employees working, I saw that they were very calm. I would have been quite stressed, seeing that line, but they handled it very well and were very polite to all the customers.

The line started moving quickly at that point.

So I'm done with my second least favorite activity.

Til next year.


Ellen said...

They are government employees. What do you expect? Service with a smile?

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

lol. She probably left feeling a bit deflated and stupid.

The Last Post said...

Oh the joys of the Christmas queue. Do you find that if there are two queues you always pick the slow one, then if you switch you can guarantee the person in front of you is the one doing the transaction that takes a year.

I have to admit once I had a package weighed and stamped then paid for the postage in loose change. Sorry but that day I was the person doing that transaction.

Wishing you a wonderful, wonderful Christmas.

Best Wishes

Debbie said...

It makes me nervous to go to the post office for this very reason! But the last time I went they were remarkably efficient.

midlife slices said...

This time of year is the reason we all know the term "going postal". Merry Christmas and happy holidays!!

Sharon said...

I never go to the counter - I do all of my business through the machine in the lobby. This is because I would absolutely BE the woman who was complaining, and it would aggravate me to no end if people didn't share in my misery!

Jeanie said...

This is a hoot! And at least it passed the time! But I know what you mean -- one employee, big line. I will say I generally go to this drive through by my house, where postman Dan always teases me. Sometimes the line is long, but I'm listening to tunes on the radio or reading the book I carry with me, and it seems to pass! I bet CM is not a fun fellow to hang out with...

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