Friday, October 19, 2012

Going postal

I understand that the past few years have not been kind to the postal system. The advent and overwhelming use of email has made handwriting letters a rare occurrence. They've lost a lot of business, and the business they still have has a bad rap. Let's be honest, for the most part we only get junk mail or bills, and no one really likes either. So the postal system is hurting.

If you've visited an actual post office lately, you'll have picked up on a slight to major bad attitude held by most of their employees. They are pissed. And they are not afraid to show it. While some companies treat a major loss of business and the threat of extinction with a certain PR savvy by improving service and treating customers better, the post office has taken a different tack altogether. They have decided to berate, belittle and condescend as their answer to losing their position in this world. It's certainly unique. I'm not sure it will work, but hopefully I am wrong about that.

In fact, I must be wrong. Certainly my own behavior suggests the confusing loyalty of an abused spouse. They treat me like crap and I just keep coming back for more. I will continue to need them to send holiday cards, packages overseas and the like, and I think they know they've got me by the balls... if I had balls, which I obviously don't because I keep using them.

I find it incredible that no matter when I go or what I am sending, I never have the correct forms filled out. Again, most organizations these days are streamlining and making their services and products easier for people to use. The post office takes a certain amount of pleasure in this "baffle and fluster" mission they seem to be on.

Case in point, I sent two identical packages to a similar location overseas, I just made the mistake of sending them on two different days. Needless to say, the first day I showed up with no clue which of the small labels, tags or forms I needed to fill out. The second day, however, I had a leg up on the process. I stood and filled out all the necessary labels and showed up beaming with pride to the window to send my package. Wouldn't you know it, the lady was all too happy to point out that I had forgotten a tag. And when I say happy... she rolled her eyes and seemed on the verge of laughter, so whatever emotion was being conveyed there. I questioned her accuracy since I had been able to send the other package without this new mystery tag. She scoffed and said that I needed it, period/full stop.

Ok, just a little sidebar here: At the end of our sentences in America we have periods. Very often people will verbalize the word to signify the end of a statement.
"You are not going to that bar. Period."
That same punctuation mark in England is called a full stop. Same use, ending sentences, different phrase.
"You isn't going to that gaf. Full stop."
Now, in general, I do believe we win the grammar war, but I am going to have to side with the Brits on this one. My English husband, with good reason, finds the use of the word period in that situation rather vulgar and weird. I agree, however I grew up ending sentences with a period, I will continue to end my sentences with a period. Period. End of statement.

But back to the demeaning and humiliation over at the post office.
I think they're f#$%ing with us, those postal workers. I may have needed that other tag, but I may not have... or maybe it was the other form I didn't need. Those forms and labels are their way of saying that we may drive their business down, but they are still in control. The forms are the little hoops they will always be able to make us jump through. And to top it all off, they make it like I should be grateful because after I go back to fill it out, they say I don't have to wait on the full line again. Gee whiz mister, thanks!

My local branch has a mix bag bunch of Jekyll and Hyde characters who will very often soften their gruff exterior by the time I'm leaving, but it takes some work to get there. And it's work every single time! They NEVER remember me, so I literally have to start from scratch winning them over each time. And silly girl that I am, I can neither give up on trying to make them nice nor take all my business to FedEx (I mean, they're no congeniality winners either!) I want to use the post office. I will use the post office. I just wish they didn't have to be such jerks.

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