Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let Me Just Say A few Words (A Work Rant)

Let me just say right here and now that I am not the person who sets the postal rates.  And let me also just say I already know that, whatever is in the package you have come to mail, it cost less than the postage.  I know this because the people who just mailed something ahead of you told the very same story. I'm not even going to wonder aloud about why all of you are mailing cheap crap all over the U.S.(and sometimes to foreign countries) especially when you think the postal rates are so exorbitant.  
Image from this page 

Let me also just say that there is no "slow boat to China" rate available.  And when I say that your package is going to take upwards of seven days to arrive wherever you are paying through the nose to send it, that is the cheapest damn way we can do it. Apparently, the postal service decommissioned pack mules some time ago, so your mail has to travel by some mechanized means of transport.  So yes, that's the cheapest way, I'm sure.  

What I'm not sure of, is when the postal rates are going up, because, like I said, I'm not the person who sets those rates.  The big guy with a bunch of packages behind you in line, and the chick behind him--who is already late getting back to the office from mailing stuff for her boss because she stopped and got herself a pumpkin spice latte before she came in here-- yeah, neither of them want to listen to you stand here and speculate with me about what the new rate is going to be and whether it means that you should buy a couple of rolls of stamps, just to be on the safe side. You're going to have to make that call yourself, pal.

And let me just say, that even though you've seen them on TV, not every box is an "if it fits, it ships" kind of a box, and all of those boxes are priority mail, so please don't ask me to "just send it the cheap way" if you bring your parcel up to the counter in a priority box, with a priority label slapped on it and priority tape holding it closed.  Flat rate doesn't mean cheap, necessarily, it means the rate is always going to be the same-- until postage goes up, and no, I still don't know when that is.  But if you have to get your inexpensive present to the birthday girl in two days because you forgot to mail it last week and you don't want your daughter-in-law hinting to the kids that, if Nanna really cared, she would have gotten the gift there on time, it's gonna cost you.  Probably more than the gift, so everyone says.  

But let me just say, that at least that gal, the one who wants it to look like priority mail and get there as fast as priority mail, but still wants to pay the slow boat to China rate-- she may be annoying, but at least her box is packed and ready to go.  If you bring an unwrapped present and an address on a slip of paper, and stand at the counter offering it to me, your package is not ready to go.  In fact, let me just say that it's not a package until it's in a box that is taped shut with a completed address label on it. It's just stuff, with aspirations to travel.

So, let me just take a minute to talk about public helplessness.  For the record, I'm not talking about people who genuinely need assistance and deserve our good will.  And, let me just say that I think there are two circles of hell for this kind of thing.  In the first are the people who are just kind of clueless:  the people, usually younger, who come into the post office and don't know what they need to do to mail a package, or even a letter, and ask questions like:  
Do I have to put the address on?  
Where do I put the address, on the front?  
Do you really need the zip code?  Oh, okay, um...I think it has a nine in it?  
Do you sell self-addressed stamped envelopes? 
Let's see... yes, yes, yes, and hell, no! 
Picture from here

But I understand that these people probably just lack experience as postal consumers and this might be the first time they're having to use something besides e-mail. Clearly, some people are just not down with the package mailing concept. That's why the people behind you in line are sighing loudly and asking if they could just, real quick, get a priority box so they can come back later.   That's why the people behind you in line are groaning and playing Fruit Ninja on their phones.  That's why I'm boxing your gift and taping your package, and even filling out your address label, if necessary.  For the people behind you.  You're welcome.

In the second, inner circle, are the able bodied people who act or appear helpless in order to have others take care of things for them and the people who seem to expect that their problems, desires, etc.  will somehow be solved or fulfilled as needed.   That's right, it's you, Mr. "I sell stuff on eBay, but I can't inconvenience myself to put something in a box and write a legible address on it," you're the guy I'm talking to.  You're the one screaming the loudest about the postal rates, packing your stuff without any bubble wrap (have you seen what they charge for that stuff?), then pitching a fit when something happens to your package because you sent it "slow boat to China."  And you're the one who came in with the address on a scrap of a post-it, so poorly written that you had to check your "smart phone" to look at the order again, without once stepping out of line to let the little lady behind you buy her Holy Family Christmas stamps.  There is a special fiery place reserved for you.  It's right next to the gal selling handmade earrings and putting them in such tiny packages that there is nowhere to apply the postage without covering the address.  But that is part of another rant...

Let me just say that I need you to step aside, because every once in a while, there is someone who waits patiently, chats pleasantly, and expresses delighted surprise that the cost to mail their item is lower than he expected. "Isn't that a bargain? Can you get it there any faster if I pay a little more?" some trim old man will ask, then tell his slightly younger wife how excellent it is to be able to still pay so little to send their grand kids a couple of trinkets they picked up at the thrift store, and so fast too!  It's the same exact rate I told the gal before him, who was cranked because it was more than the cost of what she was sending.  But this guy is happy and he's whistling a bit as he walks out of the shop.  It seems that your attitude about everything in life depends on your perspective.  Just saying...

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