Them Post Office Blues

Its sad that in this day and age, sometimes you just don’t have any choice but to visit the post office. Where is my Star Trek teleporter that can beam in physical goods in and out of my home at whim? Why must I spend so much precious time standing in line, waiting to talk with unfriendly people behind the counter, hoping that no one decides I make a good target and begins to unload a clip on me?

As you might have guess, my ranting has returned. :)

I had delayed the trip as long as I could, feigning business and forgetfulness for a couple weeks, but the two packages had to get mailed. Both were returns from broken Christmas gifts or items I purchased online which didn’t meet my needs. I needed a replacement and a refund, and the longer I held off, the longer it would be until my stuff and cash arrived. So, off to the post office I go.

Every Thursday, I have lunch with members of a team who work down the hall from me. We eat burritos at Moe’s, my second favorite fast food joint. My first, Chipotle, doesn’t even service the town I work in, a fact that makes me quite bitter as its food is far superior to that of Moe’s. Still, beggars and choosers being what they are, I go to get my burrito fix satiated.

Its also a good time to hang out with a really great group of people who I don’t get to spend enough time with. It also gives me time to build relationships with them, as they are the people who have to test the output of my team’s work. Not an enviable position for them to be in, but I do what I can to make their life as easy as possible. If you are the hand that feeds, its still not a good idea to bite.

Intending to leave a bit early and drive separately, I end up leaving at the same time as the rest of the crew, and still have to go by the post office, which is just down the street from our restauranteur of choice. Thus, I’m definitely going to be late. The parking lot is sparse, a sign for the good. Hopefully, most of those cars contain people who just want to check their PO Box or are buying stamps.

Yeah, dreaming, I know.

I walk into the room where the postal agents are enshrined behind their counter, to see three of them there for customers! Excellent. This is the best yet! The most I had ever seen at this particular office was two of the four total windows open. Even with the windows currently full and 4 people in front of me, this should be a breeze.

Yet again, dreaming, I know.

I had no more than stopped my saunter than one of the attendants walked away from his station, only to be seen one other time during my time in line, when he stuck his head around the corner to take a glance around the room and then remove his noggin from it. Still, two tellers meant it wouldn’t be that bad.

Do you see where this is going?

One of the two customers, a lady who must never have seen a post office before, as she needed everything explained to her several times, stood at one of those tellers the entire time I was there. Just a tip to you shoppers out there that can be gleaned from this woman, if you really are concerned about how quickly your package arrives, the $0.10 difference between the parcel rate and the first class rate is NOT worth 15 minutes of your time to figure out. Just pick the first class rate as it will be handled better, less often and arrive faster. Just a tip.

The other people in line were much better. Well, all but one. Here’s tip number two when going to the post office… if you have a large number of packages to mail, find something other than a pillow case to carry them in. Not only do you look dumb, its really a very inefficient sack. Thin neck compared to the relative depth and its a bugger to get anything out of because long, narrow flat packages like to get caught on the top band. Trust me on this one, I watched her struggle. She was yet another person who couldn’t figure out the difference in the rates. Really, it just isn’t that hard.

Let me explain… lets say that you work in a job where you make $30/hour. That means that every minute of every hour, you make roughly $0.50. Taking more than 30 seconds to figure out, much less 15 minutes, if you should spend the extra $0.25 on better shipping means you LOST MONEY the time you were standing there. Pay the extra cash, go back to work for those few extra seconds and you will still come out ahead. The math really just isn’t that difficult.

So I’m watching the lady with the pillow case unload her sack like she was some kind of Santa wanna-be, when I ran across a guy who taught me tip #3 for going to the post office… don’t act and dress like a terrorist. Seriously, its a stupid idea in today’s world, and this guy was a few seconds from me flipping out and screaming for the cops.

Yes, it is still cold in Kentucky, although this week was supposed to be much warmer than it actually was. Despite that, there are a few fashion tips that I would like to impart to old people, namely the idiot dressed like a terrorist, who seem just not to know better. First, those fleece headbands, the ones about 4" wide that are meant to go over the top of your head and cover your ears and forehead? Yeah, don’t wear them like a chin strap and then fail to even cover your ears. Not only do you look like you can’t dress yourself, it also looks like your disguise is slipping down off your face.

Next tip, even if you are in a hurry, carrying in a large, obviously heavy package, dropping it down right next to the guy at the front of the line, that would be me, and then RUNNING OUT OF THE BUILDING is a way to give innocent bystanders a heart attack. Really, have you ever heard of a PIPE BOMB going through the mail? The Unibomber an unknown name to you? Yet, for some reason this genius with the scraggly beard, unkempt hair and appearantly slipping mask felt all this was a “good idea”.

I spent about 2 minutes staring at that package, wondering if I was going to get my packages mailed before something started ticking. Would the last thing to go through my brain be my ass?

Obviously, I did not die, nor did the post office explode. After waiting around, the dude eventually returned carrying a handful of smaller packages. False alarm. I know, who in the world would want to blow up a the local post office in Louisville, KY? Well, frankly, if you’ve stood in the line there as many times as I have, you would understand the motivation.