Thursday, October 11, 2007

Going Postal

Of all the wonders of the world, the one that amazes me the most is that the US Postal Service manages to get any mail delivered at all. First of all it is still relatively inexpensive to mail a package or a letter despite the frequent postal increases. Compared to the mail service of many countries, including some "developed" countries, the US postal service is quick and usually pretty accurate.

But damn, are they ever one screwed up organization.

Our mail carrier is a delightful person, efficient, friendly, musically inclined and always fun to chat a few minutes with. He has been a carrier for ages I assume, and always has a few fun stories to tell about the USPS.

Today he rang my door at about 9:30AM, very early for his regular route. "I have an Express Package for Mrs Lincoln". As I signed for it I asked if he had our regular mail. "No. Not allowed to take it along with the express deliveries. The USPS feels it is more efficient to go to the same address twice rather than once." He smiled sarcastically.

"Once, we had a manager that told us all with complete seriousness that "toilet paper is not to be used for personal use." "So, are to use it on someone else??"

Another manager told them when sorting mail "you are to have 6inches in your hand at all times." "Does this mean I have to cut the excess 3 off??" Quipped a proud male postman. They say this with a perfectly straight face, unaware of their silliness.

Compounding the silliness is the local post office, a virtual epicenter of frustration and inconvenience. The clerks are divided in to 3 categories 1) Surly 2) Slow and 3) all of the above. It is always an ordeal and you are sure to be reprimanded by the large hairy lady who has the end booth and loves to tell you all the postal rules and regulations at the top of her voice. At least the meanest one retired or is on disability (most end up that way), she used to dare you to report her to the Postmaster. I don't understand why postal employees go of on each other, it should be the customers going goo goo on them.

I am vowing to buy my stamps on line after waiting in line for 20 minutes and being yelled at by Sgt Hairyface for taking a cell phone call (hey, it was business..). It is not worth the time to stand in line watching them slowly grind away, looking like we are inconveniencing them. Shuffling too and fro with no purpose or sense of urgency.

No wonder email is taking over.

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