Postal Preferences

"I just have to run into the post office."
"I'm going to swing by the post office at lunch."
"I just have to drop something off at the post office."

That's what people say, but it doesn't always work out way.
It didn't really work out that way for me today, so I found a way to amuse myself while waiting on line for what seemed like an eternity. There were 4 people on line ahead of me and one person working behind the counter, so as soon as I walked in I knew I was in trouble. That glaring disparity made a quick swing in and out an impossibility, so I settled in immediately upon arrival and found a way to amuse myself. I wrote this story in my head.

The woman behind the counter was of Indian descent. I mention this only because accents make the whole experience more fun for me, as I assign names to everyone. So, Indira was in charge this afternoon and we'll go from there.

Juan was first in line and although I couldn't  see what he was doing I know that his total purchase came to $3.49, but he did not have the cash handy and he could not find his debit card so we all waited while he searched his wallet for it. This is something that I would have done BEFORE I went to the post office and got on line, but that's just me. I like to know that I have the money before I make a purchase; it just makes things run more smoothly when you get up to the register, I've found. He located it though and we were all very relieved, and we all inched forward.

Stewart was next. He was mailing something very important apparently because it needed a special international label that he had to fill out but he didn't  know that so we waited while he filled it out up there. Indira explained to him how to do it even though by  the looks of him (older than 6) I thought he should have been able to do that by himself. My 6 year old is learning all about how to mail a letter in Kindergarten so that's my frame of reference. When he was all done Indira told him that what he handed her was unacceptable because it had no return address and he turned to all of us as if to roll his eyes but he wasn't getting any back-up from me; I am a big believer in return addresses--and stamps. I learned that in...kindergarten, and it has stuck with me all these years. I think it should have stuck with Stewart too but, alas, perhaps he was absent that day, or that week.

Next was George. He was mailing a rather large and poorly taped box somewhere and he asked up front that it be mailed as cheaply as possible which I personally think is a horrible idea, but I kept my thoughts to myself. When he was told how long it would take to be delivered he was not happy. There was an audible sigh from him and also from the man in front of me who was not finding this whole experience as amusing as I was. Indira asked George if he would prefer to mail his package Priority Mail and he perked right up and said, and I quote, "Is that faster?"  I had to look down now because a laugh was threatening to escape, as I think the word priority is pretty self-explanatory, but Indira explained it nonetheless. Another Post Office novice. I wonder how many of these she gets a day? He paid $47.50. So much for cheapest way possible.

During this whole thing I was watching another post office employee hard at work. She was pushing an enormous bin on wheels that was filled with packages of all shapes and sizes just haphazardly thrown in there until it was overflowing. She was struggling to maneuver it around the filthy area we were standing in. That's when I noticed just how dusty and gross the place was. There was a layer of dust all over everything which struck me as odd because if they were moving packages and mail and helping customers as quickly as they should have been you would think that dust would not have a chance to settle anywhere. I should have picked up on that upon my arrival, but I missed it. I was paying the price now for my pathetic observational skills.

Now Big Al moved up to the counter. Whatever he was mailing was going to India or Japan or something and he was paying cash. Indira was counting $20's and there were A LOT of them being handled up there so I tried to avert my eyes, the sight of all that cash making me dizzy. That's when I noticed my friend with the bin again. She was behind the counter now collecting packages and attempting to pile them onto her already full bin. Now I am not one to tell people how to do their jobs and I'm not suggesting that there is an absolute RIGHT way to stack packages in a giant bin on wheels but I can  tell you that of there is definitely a WRONG way to do it and I was looking at an example of it. It was a disaster.

Turns out the bin lady doubles as a cashier and she seemed to notice me all of a sudden. She offered to help me.

Finally, here I go. I hand over my package.  It gets weighed. I swipe. I thank. I am out of there in 45 seconds.

Note to Self: When running into the post office at lunch, check the countertops for dust.
Quintesse Quintesse
51-55, F
21 Responses Mar 3, 2011

Haha. <br />
You're lucky you don't live near me; every encounter is a potential story.

Haha! Thank you!<br />
Thanks for reading and encouraging me to write more stupid stuff!

Hilarious! I love the way you tell a story, Q. Good stuff, milady!

OuterGuy, I'm so intrigued by the vest. I have seen them. Pockets everywhere. Very clever, especially when one is out communing with nature. You and I think alike, definitely. But I could see how one could overlook something like Tp, that is, someone not like us, someone who does not plan for every possible scenario in advance. Good work.<br />
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Tao. Observing the other humans is one of my favorite things to do--their behavior a constant, steady source of material!<br />
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And Oscar, I guess I owe the USPS an apology as I am in actuality a huge fan, despite the dirt and grime. They are efficient beyond belief, especially when you consider the competition, and they are relatively cheap. I have never had a problem, and I really don't mind the occassional long wait in line, for the reasons I just described. They do the best they can with limited funds, let's face it. <br />
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However you were smart to "shield your eyes" haha, from the merchandise--it was an embarrasssing display, although I still like to buy The Simpsons stamps whenever they have them just to crack people up, so although that is pretty much the opposite of Elvis, there is still value there. I used them to mail imprtant documents to my lawyer for example, oh, and my doctor. Bart. Homer. Maybe they notice, maybe they don't, but I am craclking up again over here just thinking about it. May they never stop printing those.

Yes you are so right.<br />
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I've provided Oragel and/or oil of clove for toothaches on a couple occasions but have luckily never really need anything else.<br />
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The fishing vest is a different story as I have provided the odd fisherman or hiker with a bit of TP on many occasions.

Haha. I will totally marry you.<br />
I have what you need baby--<br />
Band aids and a survival kit, should we get caught somewhere and have to rough it for a while.<br />
No worries. <br />
You DO live on the edge!

Oh yes,...I totally want you on my team. Actually, I want you to be my wife. <br />
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Seatbelt cutter and glass smasher? I didn't even know that existed. I am more of a live in the moment kinda girl, basically hoping I won't be trapped in a wrecked vehicle or caught out with the desperate need for antibiotic ointment. I have three kinds of lip gloss in my purse, but not a band-aid to be had. I live on the edge.

A man purse! Bravo my friend! I like a person who is well-prepared!<br />
Great for you for freely admitting it. You are safe here. <br />
No mocking. <br />
The mockers are always sorry when they find themselves in need. Then they lean in and say..."You always seem to have everything, and I know I always make fun of you, but I have this you have?....<br />
Am I right?

There is a plastic bag with supplies for toothaches and minor cuts that has made a home in my laptop case. That is also where one will find glasses, cell phone, ipod, and a few other things. It is for all essential purposes a man purse, I freely admit it. I don't venture far from home without it.<br />
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I won't even go into all the stuff that has a permanent home in my many pocketed fishing vest.<br />
<br />
So you'll get no mocking from me.

You just reminded me!<br />
I gave my last one to the paper cut lady!<br />
Thank you!<br />
And thank you too for having one of those, and for not being afraid to admit it, haha.

I have the same first aid kit shaped like a teeny backpack! But I keep forgetting to replenish the bandaids.

Well, It's not THAT big, but it does have wheels that pull out the bottom and a retractable handle, but before you mock, it also has a panel that pulls out and doubles as a table should you need to perform emergency surgery, which I did once. <br />
I was helping my ex jump start his car and I slashed my hand trying to get the hood of my car open in the bitter cold. Thankfully I was able to set up with one hand and give myself 12 stitches before he even got his car started. Yep. A portable suture kit. It doesn't come with the original first aid suitcase, but you can buy it separate and the items in both are interchangable. The deluxe comes with anesthesia, surgical masks, gowns, gloves and retractable forceps in case you are in a baby delivery emergency. I have that one too.<br />
<br />
Actually:<br />
<br />
Since you asked:<br />
It is a Vera Wang black leather bag of average size, and I travel light, wallet, sunglasses, wipes, tissues, phone. That's it.<br />
Oh, and first aid kit. It is the size of my palm and shaped like a little backpack. When you unzip it you will find all sorts of stuff crammed in there. Surgical gloves, bandaids (assorted sizes) neosporin (travel strips), gauze. I cannot tell you how many times I have been so happy to have this with me.<br />
I know you were picturing a lunchbox-sized firts aid kit, I have three of them in the car--front, middle, and back. and I also have a seatbelt cutter and a glass smasher, because I am not waiting for them to bring the jaws of life--I'm cutting myself out of there and climbing out the window before the car explodes.<br />
But for the record I was the first one on the scene at the park when a little toddler got stung by a bee and I not only had the bandaid that stopped his crying, I even had the anti-sting stuff that neutralized the sting and stopped the pain. I was a hero that day too. Mock if you wish...haha.

I was about to make fun of your travel first aid kit, until you demonstrated the value of carrying such a thing. How big is your purse? Does it have wheels? What else is in there?

I always stand there incredulous that people still write checks at all! I feel like poking them and saying...pssst---debit card. It's the same thing--I swear!!<br />
I don't feel cursed. I like to think that I am special--that I am being tested. <br />
I rise to the occasion. Plus, it often makes for a good story.

Do you ever have that feeling that you're somehow cursed? That of all the people standing in queues (in the supermarket or wherever) it just seems to be you who has the lady in front ask to tender a cheque instead of using a card? or to quibble over a price? or have to rush off half way through to get something else? That's always how it feels when it happens.

Hmmm, read while on line. That never occurred to me. I rarely read in public; maybe I should start, but then I would miss all the fun!Plus, I like to test myself, you know, see just how patient and polite I can be under duress. I am pretty good. I think 22 minutes is my personal best, at the post office, not that I'm timimg myself or anything.<br />
Today I was waiting behind someone---not at the post office, another store, and the person in front of me asked the cashier if he had a band-aid because she had a paper cut and was beside herself, delirious with pain apparently. Naturally I had a portable first-aid kit with me and was able to provide said band-aid. I felt good about that. Had I not been paying attention I may have missed an opportunity to help and then I would not have a cool story to tell when someone makes fun of me for having a portable first-aid kit in my bag.

This is hysterical! The PO has always been a source of amazement for me. Of course, customers who are totally unprepared, at any business, drive me insane. It's like they've been sleepwalking and suddenly open their eyes to find themselves faced with the counter person. You can see the panic in their eyes. Meanwhile, the folks in line are getting their torches and pitchforks ready. I try to always take a book and I stand there are read. Keeps my blood pressure in the safety zone.

I learned that today. They are the ugliest things you have ever seen so you would only send them to people you really did not like. A package of 4 for $4.95 (a bargain they think), one more hideous than the one before in the display.<br />
Also mini postal scales, $14.95<br />
And for the environmentally conscious, post office tote bags, also hideous.

I was completely unaware the post office sold birthday cards.

Who the hell knows? I refused to look back, although I do remember feeling a draft every now and then and there was a moment or two of discomfort on my part when the woman behind me got a tad too close a couple of times.<br />
It's just that when it becomes your turn after 10-15 minutes you really have no thought other than getting the hell out of there, especially once I noticed the dust and the crap all over the floor. I mean, I had already perused all of the different sale items in the display case--that's always fun--forever stamps and stamp dispensers and ugly Birthday cards? and did you know that "If it fits--it ships." Well it does--but remember to ask for priority--whatever that means.<br />
To answer your question--I never looked back, but I sensed many bodies.

So how many people were in line when you finished?