If That’s What You Want, Soviet

, , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

(In the 1980s, there was an effort to assist Jews in the USSR who wanted to emigrate but were denied. Really, all a US citizen could do was write to them and tell them we were working for their release. It also served to annoy the Soviets. My mother joined the campaign and was given a family to write to. Part of the instructions were to mail the letter with a “return receipt postcard” attached. This was to be mailed back by the recipients so that she would know that they received her original letter. I’m not sure who paid for this return postage. One time, after a suitable waiting period, the return postcard did not arrive. My mother went to the local post office to register a complaint. This was not a complaint against the US Postal Service but a way of letting the Soviets know we were watching.)

Mom: “I wish to register a complaint that a letter I sent to the USSR was not received. I know this because I never received the return receipt postcard.”

Clerk: “We would need a letter from them telling us they didn’t receive your letter.”

Mom: “Wait, what? You want them to send me a letter telling me they didn’t get the letter I sent them?”

Clerk: “Yes.”

(Mom stares at the clerk and asks for a manager, please. A manager comes over.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Clerk: “I was just telling her I can’t open a complaint form until she receives a letter telling her they didn’t receive her letter.”

(The manager stared at the clerk and told them to go work on [something]. The manager then filled out the complaint form for my mother.)

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