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October 23rd, 2002

I was the jerk, and it felt good

Usually if there’s someone causing a ruckus at a store because of supposed mistreatment, I’m the first person to look at them and think, “Jeez, man, take it easy. You’re being a jerk.” But today I was that jerk, and I’m proud of it.

The post office by my work (where I have a PO box) has always been understaffed. The line to mail a package is always about 15 deep and it’s unusual that you can get out in under 20 minutes. However, if you need to pick up a package, they have a caller/pick-up window where you can ring a bell and someone will get your package for you. Even having to use this is rare, though, as when I get a package too big for my PO box, they usually give me a key to one of the large, temporary boxes and I can get my own package without having to bother anyone. But yesterday, I got a yellow slip in my box rather than a key, so I had to stop in this morning to pick up my package in person.

The caller/pick-up window used to be open from 8am until 5pm. They recently shortened the hours from 9am-1pm, which is inconvenient, but at least they still have the option. Of course, 3 out of 4 times I’m there and I see someone ringing the bell for service, they’re standing there 10 minutes before anyone even acknowledges that they’re there. I probably should have expected this morning’s problems.

At 9:05 (5 minutes after opening) I walked in and the line was about 20 people deep. I walked to the pick-up window and rang the bell. I waited. And waited. And waited. I rang the bell again. I waited. And waited. And waited. Then, another guy from the main line was sent over to the window to pick up a large batch of mail. A post office employee opened the door and handed him his box, totally ignored me, and started to shut the door in my face. “Excuse me,” I said politely. “Can I pick up my package?” The man’s response was, “I’m only a carrier. You’ll have to ring the bell.” I told him I had already rang it twice and could he please find someone that could help me.

He called a couple people’s names, with no apparent response, and eventually told me to go to wait at the main counter (which is about three steps from the pick-up window). I took my three steps and stood, waiting. The one woman working the counter looks at me and says, “They’re busy getting the mail ready for delivery. You have to get in line or ring the bell. You can’t just cut in front like that.” I told her, “He just told me to come over here!” She responded flippantly, “Oh, well, you need to ring the bell again.” I was fed up and saw there was still no one coming to help me, so I went into jerk mode and said, “Just forget it. I think twice is enough,” and walked out.

I realize they’re understaffed, but if they have a sign with hours on it for package pick-up, I expect them to honor it or at least not act like jackasses about it. I suspect that pick-up window is the bane of their existance, which is is why the person waiting there usually would have done just as well to stay in the main line. But I don’t have time to put up with that crap. Not even with the low standard of service I’ve come to expect from the post office (lost letters or damaged packages are all too normal).

Posted in Miscellaneous

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