Monday, January 23, 2006

Going Postal

I'm just back from the post office. Which is always fun, and never more so than when you're up against the deadline for mailing stuff to the IRS.

So not only did I have to write a check to the government (those phones don't tap themselves you know!), but I get to stand in a long line and contemplate that fact for about 20 minutes.

What I find mind-boggling, though, is this: the post office is open...what? 300 days a year? And there are maybe 5 other days of the year when there's a real time-crunch at the post office.

So why is it so much MORE likely that that's the day that complete idiots come to the post office for no apparent reason?

I don't know how postal workers do it. I really don't. They have an amazing amount of patience, when you realize what they have to deal with. I'm just surprised that they don't "go postal" more often.

I would not be long for that job.

Here is a dramatic reenactment of a random 2 minute sampling of the post office I was in on Tuesday, at about 4:15pm.

Postal Worker: Next!

Customer #1: Hello, I would like to mail this package please.

Postal Worker: What are the contents of your package?

Customer #1: A jar of pickled beets, 2 sticks of dynamite and a dead bird.

Postal Worker: Uh huh. What were you planning to send them in?

Customer #1: Oh, just this grocery bag here. I wrote my name on this side, and my brother's over here on the other side.

Postal Worker: Yeah, no, we can't accept that. You will need proper packing materials for the beets to minimize the chance of breakage, it's illegal to send explosives and you can't send a dead bird through the mail.

Customer#1: Why can't I send the bird?

Postal Worker: You just can't, sir.

Customer# 1: But I never had this problem with the other dead birds!

Postal Worker: Sorry sir, post office regulations. Next!

Customer #2: Hi, I'd like to send this.

Postal Worker: This envelope is completely covered with one cent stamps. Where's the address? How will the carrier know where to deliver it?

Customer #2: See I thought you might say that, so I wrote it on this card, and I thought I'd just tape it to the bottom of the envelope here.

Postal Worker: I'm sorry ma'am, but the address has to be clearly visible on the piece of mail, not attached to it. Otherwise the automated sorters won't be able to process it, and the address my get torn off, and then your letter wouldn't be delivered.

Customer #2: Why do you have to make it SO HARD for a NORMAL PERSON such as MYSELF to mail a SIMPLE LETTER? The post office USED to provide GOOD SERVICE! I will complain to the Postmaster General! My congressman is going to hear about this! Good day to you, sir!

Postal Worker: Next?


Now then: here's what it would have sounded like had I been the postal worker, and why I am not a postal worker.

Me as Postal Worker (MaPW): Next?

Customer #3:
I would like to peruse the Great Merchant Marine Vessels commemorative stamps collection, please.

(Sigh.) Okay. Here you are.

(2 minutes later.)

Customer #3: Okay, I believe I have come to a decision.

MaPW: Excellent.

Customer #3: Yes... I would like 20, please.

MaPW: They come in sheets of 25. That's how many vessels they honored. 25.

Customer #3: Oh. But I don't want all 25. I only want 20.

MaPW: Right you only want 20. Buying all 25 would be too simple.

Customer #3: What?

MaPW: Nothing.

Customer #3: Let's see... maybe you could remove five of the stamps from the book and put them somewhere else.

MaPW: Well, I guess I could do that, if it will help me to get to the other 20 people who are trying to mail their tax returns.

Customer #3: Now let me just decide which five I want to remove.

MaPW (twitching): Here's what I'll do, sir. I'll tear off the bottom row here, okay?

Customer #3: Oh, heaven's no! I definitely want the S.S. Terre Haute! She was a beautiful ship. She used to come into San Francisco about every six wee--

MaPW: --That is utterly fascinating! Wow! Is there any way, any way at all, you could be a bigger pain in the ass right now? Because I'm guessing not, but hey, you've already surprised me.

Customer #3: Maybe you could take an X-acto knife and just cut out the five that I don't want.

MaPW: Oh, I really don't think giving me a knife right now would be a good idea. Hey, I have an idea! Maybe you could come back at 5.

Customer #3: Don't you close at 5?

MaPW: Yes. Yes, we do. Next!


At 7:52 PM, Blogger Changeseeker said...

I love coming home from teaching until 10 pm and finding a new post on one of your blogs that makes me laugh out loud till all the little tireds shake off and leave me just happy. Thank you.

At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For added pleasure, try taking kids along - maybe right before lunch or when they should be napping.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Pieces said...

Yes, definitely bring children. And make sure they have to poo NOW! while you are there.

It just adds to the excrutiating pleasure.


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