Monday, April 10, 2006

Minor Details...

Now that my office is effectively minus one lackey, many of those daily chores are temporarily my job. One of my possible tasks is to take certified mail to the post office. Now keep in mind that we have a meter at our work, which, for the most part, removes the need to go to the post office. As a matter of fact, we have all the tools we need right at our fingertips to send certified mail from the comfort of our very own building. But apparently attorneys like piece of mind. So, piece of mind they shall get. As such, my job is to take prepaid certified mail to the post office so that the postal employee can tear off the little receipt that is attached to the certified mail form, print the amount of postage on it (which we have generally already filled in ourselves) and hand it back to me.

Wow, that sounds really easy, right? And, well, yeah, it is easy I guess. Except. The post office experience is painful. Just because your envelope is already stamped and ready to go doesn't mean you get to go to the front of the line. Oh no, you have to wait in line just like everybody else. Now, I don't know if this is a universal post office thing, or if it's specific to the one I have to go to for work, but the people in line in front of me are never ready to send whatever they have to send. They walk up to the teller with a handful of forms and a pea brain full of questions. Which one do I fill out, how soon will it get there, what if I pay you an extra $47--can you make it get there on Sunday? Or, occasionally, the people are 100% ready to perform their transaction, but their transaction consists of sending eleventy hundred small packages, all which will require delivery confirmation slips with a return receipt. You get the picture--there's a definite reason behind the term "go postal." Just being in there for a half hour (to drop off an envelope), makes the systematic removal of my finger nails seem almost tantalizing.

However, I must report that Friday's trip was worthwhile because I saw one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. First of all, Friday must be package day because, of the 17 people in front of me, 14 of them had packages to send. And of course these people don't come to the post office with their packages ready to go--oh no, they've got a box, a bag of random stuff that they want to send and an address (without a zip code) on a post-it. Fun stuff.

So there's this woman about 8 people in front of me with a package that's actually sealed and ready to go (from what I can tell). This chick looks like the quintessential Lincoln Park trixie. She gets up to the counter and is discussing options with the employee. They discuss options for several minutes before I hear the employee say to her, "Now, before we send this package, I'm going to need you to write the address on it." [Oh. God] She goes on to explain, "I'll need you to write the return address up here in the corner and then write the addressee here in the middle, just like you would on an envelope." She hands the girl a sharpie and the girl takes what looks like a square shoe box, turns to the table behind her and goes to town addressing the box.

In the meantime, the employee takes the next customer. When the girl is done with the box, she turns back around and waits for the employee to finish with that customer. When it's her (second) turn, the employee reveals to the entire line at the post office (by sheer volume) that what the girl did was write the return address in one corner of the box, and then spin the box and write the other address in the opposite corner. So, basically, it looks like the box has two return addresses. OK, let me just repeat that in italics, because I think it will be better that way. She wrote one address in one corner of the box, and then she spun the box 180 degrees and wrote the other address in the opposite corner, facing the original address!!!!

And then, to add insult to injury, the post office lady berated her loudly in front of everybody for several minutes. That alone was worth the price of admission.

But seriously. Where is America going wrong? I mean, I distinctly remember having a letter writing lesson in second grade. I sent a letter to my aunt, complete with a correctly addressed envelope. And now, well, I occasionally send things. You know--like bills--to stay alive. I gotta wonder how some of these people make it through so many years lacking vital life skills. I mean, don't they teach those sort of lessons in the Kappa Kappa Gamma house these days?

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