Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Going postal

I have had it up to here (she says, chopping through the air 6 inches above her head) with people bitching about the post office. My roommate and I were at the post office today, and as she was standing in line, she overheard two old ladies snickering, "This is why we should never let the government take over healthcare."

Here's the thing. When you walk into the post office, there is an automated mailing station that accepts credit and debit cards--the little pieces of plastic most Americans carry in their wallet for just such an occasion. Now, the automated station is in fact a computer, and computers can be scary. This one is pretty user friendly, though. You are never presented with more than about 4 choices at a time and it's all written in about 86 point font, case you forgot your spectacles. You just put your little package, letter, gift, or cooler of donated kidney on the little metal scale and it tells you exactly how much it will cost to send the damn thing. Then, you can walk over and slip it into the hole in the post office wall clearly marked Letters. Have I lost anyone?

If you don't have anything to mail, but just need stamps, turn around. Because right behind the automated postage center is a vending machine. Except, instead of soda, condoms, or cigs, guess what it dispenses? That's right--stamps! You put money in, it spits out stamps and change. It's like magic!

Best part? You can do anything in the preceding two paragraphs without waiting in line. If you are too stupid or scared to go it alone at the post office, or if you have some complicated maneuver you want them to perform on your behalf... you can wait. Without charging you extra, some underpaid government employee will walk you through your mailing options and then hold your hand as you say goodbye to your package.

I know, I know...occasionally things get lost in the mail. But if you have ever, even once uttered the phrase, "Check's in the mail" or "Well, I swear I sent that" when you haven't even thought about paying that bill or sending that kidney, you have nothing to complain about. If the post office was 100% reliable, you would be screwed, as no one would believe your bullshit stories.

Finally, quite whining about the rising postage rates. You do realize that you can hand these people 39 cents and they will take your letter to Alaska, right? I suppose this is less impressive if you live in Juneau, but you get the point. And... you can mail cash. They tell you not to, but I've done it. And you know what? It gets there. Why? Because they don't pilfer through the mail.

For 39 fucking cents, I wouldn't carry your shit next door. And if I did agree to take it, I'd definitely go through it on the way and pocket anything of value. I wouldn't even feel guilty, seeing as I was grossly underpaid for this chore in the first place.

So quite bitching, and be grateful I'm not in charge of the post office.


Maria said...

God. You are my long lost little sister. I just know it.

I was in the post office just the other day and it wasn't the employees who made me want to tear my hair out, it was the woman who didn't seem to have the faintest idea how to get her package ready before she walked up to the window. The p.o. employee had to literally walk her through how to mail a book through the mail.

And then, there was the woman with the three bratty children who kept vaulting up on to the display case while she talked on her cell phone and simultaneously talked to the p.o employee as if he were her butler.

Yeah. 39 pennies buys you A LOT.

Susanlee said...

I like to go to the post office and have no complaints in general, however our current mailman is really shitty. He doesn't bring our mail (if he brings it at all) until nearly 6pm (when I've seen him one block over at 10am) and he almost never picks up our outgoing mail so we have to run it by the post office (after the pick up time I might add) ourselves. AND if our dog is at the door (INSIDE) he won't deliver it. Yes, I'm quite sure my mini-beagle is such a big threat to our mailman that he can't bear to get within 20 feet of her. Ugh.

Cheryl said...

Great rant. The post office needs someone like you to do their PR. No, really, you have a good point. I hardly ever have to go in a post office. There's one on the same street as my salon and they have a drive-thru station. The employees are very friendly and never mind showing me the selection of stamps. Do you know they sell Happy Birthday stamps? I always use them when I send b-day cards.

coho said...

Well said. It never ceases to amaze me the staggering depths of willful ignorance resident in the average person. Some folks shouldn't be allowed to go outside by themselves.

PS. You'd think that the USPS's reputation as a haven for society's most heavily armed, short-fuse-having sociopaths would result in a quiet tidy queue.

Go figure.

Eric said...

And those same people bitching about how the government fucks everything up and how we don't need "socialized" medicine or federal oversight on anything are the first to begin wailing when they think that their social security or medicare might be endangered...oh, and God help us if they have to work more than forty hours a week or on Labor Day.