Monday, November 10, 2014

Veteran's Day Eve At the Post Office

Busy day at the post office, partly because tomorrow is Veteran's Day.  Some people actually knew the post office would be closed tomorrow, and were mailing early.  Many of these people (at least twenty) still asked if we would be open tomorrow, Veteran's Day, notwithstanding.  I gleefully told them we would be closed.

Some people (at least six) had come to the post office expecting it to be closed.  I know this because they said things like, "I thought you would be closed today," as they handed me items to mail.  After the first two, I stopped replying, "but here you are anyway..." Of course these people thought today was Veteran's Day, because all of our holidays have been converted to Mondays and Fridays to give us three day weekends. Several people, all apparently under thirty, expressed indignation at the notion of a non-Monday holiday when places like the post office would be closed, because really, what good is that?  

The onslaught of cool weather in the rest of the country has brought back many of our "snow-birds" who are still adjusting to life  in the desert.  They still seem a little bewildered-- maybe because they only need a light sweater when they go out in the morning and they are already hot by noon, when the temperatures are in the low eighties.  Year-round residents comment about how beautiful and "crisp" the weather is, how we've been waiting for it.  Snowbirds ask when it will cool off.  

It is the bewildered snow birds who were out in force today, asking about why the mail cost so much, and misinterpreting the meaning of "flat rate box."  The advertising wizards working for the US Postal Service have definitely scored with their message that there is a cheaper way to send mail anywhere in the U.S., but they have somehow failed to convey that "cheaper" isn't actually cheap-- cheap, meaning free.  "What about those ifitfitsitships boxes?  What about those?  I thought they were free."  Yeah. The boxes are free.  I'll give you the box... but they still cost something to mail when you pack them full of stuff and want to send them across the country.  

These are the same people who say things like, "No wonder the Post Office is losing money.  These prices are crazy."  This was from a woman buying a stamp.  Forty-nine cents, Oy!  She remembers last year, when they were thirty-nine... (They were forty six cents until this January.)

It was a stamp purchaser who won the prize today too. After asking for a book of stamps, and being asked which book of stamps she wanted, she said "The forever ones."  

"All of those are the forever ones, we have about twenty different kinds,"  I said, I thought I was being  helpful.  

"I want Liberty Bells."  I explained that those have not been available for a couple of years.  

"I need forty of them," she added. 

"No liberty bells, how about forty flags, or birds, or Santas?"

Heavy sigh.  "I really liked those liberty bells.  Just give me forty of anything." I pulled out two books of the flags.

"No, not those," she said.  I switched the flags for birds.  "Okay, but I need forty of them."

"This is forty, twenty on each sheet, eight on the front and twelve on the back." I pointed to each stamp to make it clear. 
This image is from here.
  It shows how the stamps in question appear on the sheet.

She took them reluctantly and proceeded to count them. "I need forty." She counted the first sheet. Twenty. Okay.
Then she counted the second, identical, sheet.  Twenty, she reluctantly conceded.

The line had built up behind her, but I couldn't help asking, "You didn't believe me, did you?" as she handed me her debit card.  
"It never hurts to check," she said sharply.  

To all the Veterans from all of us who owe them so much, a big thank you!  And not just for the chance to spend a day away from work...

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