Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Dreaded Trips to the Post Office

One of the biggest time sucks in the world is, hands down, the US Post Office.

It always has been, and until we no longer need to send letters and parcels, it always will be.

I used to absolutely DREAD having to visit the post office in downtown Princeton, NJ when I lived there in the 90's. Each visit, regardless of the time of day, was a guaranteed 20-30 minute ordeal. I remember their stamp vending machine was ALWAYS out of order, and the postal employees seemed to relish their power and ability to make time stand still. It even smelled musty in there. The building that progress bypassed repeatedly.

Lately, I have been selling some books on as a way to clean out the closet and recoup some cash. A few bucks here and there seems to add up, plus it allows me to rid myself of items no longer useful to me, but valuable to others.

I must say, even faced with a line of 8-10 people at the post office here in Southie, I'm never overly worried. The employees work efficiently, to my surprise and delight.

Unfortunately, the customers do not. It's almost sitcom worthy.

People no longer just need stamps. They are sending packages and buying money orders. They are using the wrong boxes and confused by the many shipping options presented to them. Insurance, delivery confirmation, customs declarations - the list goes on.

I walked inside this afternoon to find about 10 patrons ahead of me, including a few at the counter already being helped.

There was the short dude with the far-too-big suit who was at the counter when I walked in and still at the counter as I walked out. Lord knows what he needed or was sending, but his transaction wasn't complete during my entire 15 minute visit.

There's the guy claiming that his mail isn't being delivered after he moved, and the postal employees telling him that he's standing in the wrong post office branch to accomplish this change successfully.

There's the guy who insisted to speak with the Postmaster. I fully expected a gentleman who looked like C. Everett Coop to emerge - husky, grey hair and beard. Rather, a young guy in his mid-20's appears to hold the Postmaster title in the 02127.

There's the impatient lady in line who proceeded to mention that she had been working in Poland for two weeks and couldn't communicate well with folks over there. She stared at the short dude, dropped an F-bomb (or was it an S-bomb) while wondering aloud what he needed that was taking so long, then proceeded to apologize for cursing. "I don't normally curse like that," she insisted. Then she cursed again immediately.

There's the postal clerk who taught me a brand new word - "debbiddacredid." I love efficiency!

When it was my turn, after almost completing our transaction, rather than asking if I needed any stamps or "anything else for future mailing needs" like they courteously always do at that branch, the woman asked if I needed a passport photo.

Huh? Random.

I thanked her and told her that I was all set, but was indeed going to be using my passport in a few weeks. I thought better of telling her where I was going, as I figured the people behind me probably didn't care, seemed to want to be helped, and potentially could have returned home and blogged about some random guy in shorts and a Texas hat in the Southie post office talking about Iceland.

Which would, of course, have been me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wearing shorts already!? Hm I don't think is that warm yet. Going to Iceland sound like u going to have alot of fun, u going to hire a tour guide or just rent a car and adventure out yourself?