Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Going Postal

            I went to the post office the other day to mail a package.  I go to the post office quite a bit.  It is not normal.  I understand this.  There are a few reasons.  One, I don’t trust the blue boxes.  Two, I fear that I will use insufficient postage, yet am too cheap to get a mail scale.  Three, that place is magic.
            So, I was waiting in line to make my transaction.  There were two postal employees working the counter and about 5 people in line ahead of me.  Nice, right?  Not so.  You would have thought someone had asked these people to swallow a bag full of cockroaches.  To find a way to get to the moon.  To…god forbid…deliver their own epistles!!!  They were outraged.  And somehow people feel it is OK to voice their outrage at the post office.  Like the employees are deaf.  Or not trying hard enough.  Or…I don’t know…stupid.
            A few years ago, I was walking past a bar near my house and there was a postal employee enjoying a beer and watching the game after a hard day’s work.  I walked in, bought him another beer, thanked him…we chatted.  This may sound crazy to you, but that is because you are a jerk.
            We’re all jerks.  I’m just less of a jerk when it comes to the Post Office.  Here’s why.  They are magic.  Pure and simple.  When I try to think about what goes into delivering MILLIONS of pieces of mail, all over the world, every day, it makes my head throb.  Mailfolk are maligned in the media.  They are harassed by dogs.  They are bitched at by petty customers who see the mail as some unassailable right.  It is time to wake up.
            Everything gets more expensive, but when they raise the price of stamps, it is like they are asking for a kidney.  People are outraged.  Starbucks could raise their prices the same amount, redesign their cups, and no one would hiccup.  Something is seriously wrong there.  I live in California.  My parents live in Pennsylvania.  I can write a letter, buy a stamp for less than a candy bar, and the letter will be in their hands in two days.  That is simply amazing.  Sure, I’ve had a few things lost or damaged over the years, but not very many.  Not as many bad meals as I have had.  Meals I still tipped for.
            Email is great.  It’s free.  But there is something about getting an actual letter.  Or being able to mail a package for less than $5.  Something that involves…alright, maybe not magic, but certainly art!  We recognize soldiers.  We tip our garbage men.  We tip for a cup of coffee to go.  We have days to celebrate great men.  We praise our teachers, our athletes, our mechanics.  But we ignore the PO unless something goes wrong and then it is open season.  Your package is dirty?  Damn post office.  They don’t want to take the box you wrapped in old newspaper and taped with duct tape?  Bastards.  Really? 
            A lot of things amaze me (I’m a little simpleminded), but the Post Office astounds me.  If every part of the government worked as well as the men and women in blue, then we would have a lot less problems.  So, snap out of it.  Appreciate the fact that you can send a birthday card thousands of miles for less than the price of the card.  Buy your Postal Carrier a beer.  Or at least shut your dog up and say thanks.  It’s the least you can do.  

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