Sunday, November 22, 2009

Going Postal

Not just the name of one of my favorite books of all time, it's how I feel every time I have the misfortune to use the United States Postal Service.

As you may recall...

I have had nothing but arguments with these people. It took forever to get an insured eBay product reimbursement when a Greek vase arrived in twenty thousand little pieces. "The Postmaster has to sign off on it," I was told. If I didn't suspect that they just accumulated junk in a store room for months until the Grand Poobah of Post signs off on it without ever inspecting anything, I'd have put a rattlesnake in a box and claim the rattle was defective and I wanted my money back from Viper Specialties, Inc. When I did get my refund (which included securing a signature and affidavit from the shipper) it was slightly less than I paid for the item and I vowed never to buy anything fragile on eBay again.

Then there was the big fat lady who drove up my driveway to hand me my poster from and was too lazy to get up and actually take the item out of her box of mail - causing the poster to be all squishy and wrinkled. To their credit, sent me a new one right away - in the same soft mailer - but this one was fine as it was shipped Fed Ex. Hmmm.

Don't get me started on the whole passport fiasco. I still don't have a passport due to those idiots. My photo was rejected as 'not having a white background'. Great. Fifty thousand Government workers who don't give a shit and I get the only old bitty that can actually identify Ecru.

All I wanted to do was share a good book. Is that too much to ask? Wrapped my book up and wanted to send it off to Texas. Simple, right? Noooooo.

Walk up to the window (There's always a line. How can this joint be crying poverty? They aren't spending it on friendly, fast, and efficient staff, that's for sure.) and present my package. Neatly wrapped in brown paper. Legibly addressed. Cute stickers adorning the corners.

"I can't accept that," says the cranky Gestampo agent, sliding a pink finger under the paper edge and pulling at the still-secure Scotch Tape that holds fast. "It has Scotch Tape. You need Packing Tape. This might come off in transit."

What? Your failure to use due diligence is suddenly my burden to make the package indestructible? Are you nuts?

"Um... Don't you have any I could use?" I stammer, looking over her left shoulder at a huge tape dispenser bulging with tape.

"No. You can purchase some over there." She points to a kiosk of mailers and envelopes.

For $3.99 an inch? I think not. I storm out. I hope the security cameras got that. My hair looks much better today than the day I stormed out over the passport.

In the parking lot, I do the only sensible thing. I call someone who works for the Post Office. I explain to her that I was rejected on grounds of skimpy tape. I assure her it was name brand tape from the 3M company. Although sympathetic, she can't really help. She's not at work and has no tape in her car. But she does agree they do have it on the premises and should have given me a tiny bit. She suggests I go to the store next door and buy the tape. Certainly a solution, I concede. But I have tons at home, and I would have used it if I thought it was needed.

I describe the Gestampo Agent as best I can. "Do you know which car is hers?" I ask. "Because if anything is getting sealed tight with that packing tape, it's the doors of her car."

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