Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A visit to the United States Post Office (or "Life is so unfair")

Monday morning saw me at my local Post Office on North Beneva Road (about a mile from my home).

I had an awkward sized envelope filled with Christmas Cards which had arrived to the home of my neighbours Bert and Polly after they'd gone back to Fishers, IN  to live with their son. (Bert and Polly can no longer take care of themselves).

There were two clerks on duty. Each was attending to a customer.  There were two people in line ahead of me.

I heard some back office grumbling which led me to believe that there had been a massive failure in the scheduling of counter clerks.

This showed on the face of one of the clerks, I'll call him "Mr. I Don't Want To Be Here".

The woman clerk, having attended to her customer said, with a smile and a tone of regret, "I am sorry, I have to close down now".

Mr. I Don't Want To Be Here was doing his best to explain to a non-English speaking customer that a USPS notification that he had mail awaiting had been put into his box by mistake.

Then that surly faced (but professionally polite) clerk had to serve a woman who had two express mail letters, but who had filled in the forms incorrectly.

I was next in line.  Another clerk arrived for duty, but for reasons I cannot understand decided that he wanted Mr I Don't Want To Be Here's spot, leaving the latter to move to another desk.

I waited. There were eight or ten customers in line behind me.

Now, I am not a very patient person.  But in circumstances such as the one I am describing I've taught myself a trick.  I pretend that I am patient.

(It's called "fake it 'til you make it"  and it works).

My turn came.  Mr I Don't Want To Be Here beckoned me to his desk. I turned on my considerable *** professional charm  (but couldn't make him smile!).

As he attended to me a woman came in straight off the street, stood to my left brandishing a piece of paper and saying "I have some very disappointed grand-children".

Mr I Don't Want To Be Here responded  "you'll have to wait while I deal with this customer".

 "No" she said "I want to speak with someone in charge".  The clerk asked her to wait in line and said that when her turn came someone would help her,

She turned away and exclaimed "Oh, that's so unfair".

I didn't know whether to be mad at her, or to feel sorry for her.  I decided that discretion  would be the better part of valour, since if I had engaged her, that might have aroused the grumbling of the  eight or ten people who were already waiting patiently in line.

I wanted to say (in my best English accent)  "Madam please get a life.  I could tell you a hundred stories about how life has been truly unfair to good people, and none of them have to do with waiting patiently in line.".

 "Oh, that's so unfair".   Really?

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 *** Ministers and Priests take a course in professional charm in Seminary.  It's a way of coping with the twice a year parishioner who wants to engage the Priest/Minister in a long conversation about a third cousin in Tipperary who is dealing with bunions, and why did we not pray for the cousin, when all the Minister/Priest wants to do is to remove her/his vestments, have a pee, and get a cup of coffee.

Tongue in cheek re Seminary courses,

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P.S.  None of this is critical of the USPS desk clerks.  They are at the whim of their superiors, and they often have to deal with difficult or stupid customers.




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