Providing Blank Delivery

, , , , | Right | July 9, 2019

(I get in the very long line at the post office and notice a woman ahead of me who has two very large cardboard boxes, still folded flat, and an enormous bag filled with sports equipment such as helmets and lacrosse sticks. Eventually, it’s her turn and she dumps everything onto the small counter.)

Woman: “I need to mail these. I have the addresses here.” *holds up two pieces of computer paper*

Worker: “Ma’am, we cannot package your items for you. You need to step aside and prepare the boxes for shipment.”

(The woman moves only about six inches over and starts wrestling with the boxes. The next customer squeezes past her. A few minutes later, the woman puts both boxes back on the counter on their sides, with the tops and bottoms still open.)

Woman: *interrupting current customer* “I’m done. How much is it to ship them?”

Worker: *in the same monotone voice as before* “Ma’am, I need you to close and secure those boxes. We cannot ship them like that.”

Woman: “Close them how?”

Worker: “Tape.”

Woman: “I don’t have any. Give me your tape.”

(The worker wordlessly hands over a roll of packaging tape. The woman tries to roll it over the boxes without peeling back the tape and ends up asking for help. Eventually, using the entire roll of tape, she gets the boxes closed. Two more customers have been served.)

Woman: “Done!”

Worker: *without looking up* “You need to address those boxes.”

Woman: “I have the addresses.” *holds up papers again*

Worker: “They need to be on the boxes.”

(The woman places the papers on the top of each box and pushes them closer to the worker. Someone behind me snorts back a laugh.)

Worker: *still totally unfazed* “We cannot mail them like that. If you want to use those papers, they must be connected to the box. Please step aside until you are ready.”

(Not being able to take it anymore and seeing the woman’s blank face and empty tape roll, I step out of line to help.)

Me: “Ma’am, would you like to use my tape?”

Woman: “Oh, thank you so much!”

Me: “You’re very welcome. What they need you to do is make sure the address won’t fall off, or else they won’t know where to send your packages. You should go ahead and cover all the edges of the paper. Or I have a marker if you’d rather write it out…”

(The woman happily hands me back my tape as I’m still speaking, with one tiny, solitary square attaching each sheet of paper to the side of its box.)

Me: “Um, are you sure you don’t want a bit more? You can use as much as you like. You really need to secure those.”

Woman: “No, that’s all right! But thank you.” *turns back to the worker and proudly puts boxes back on the counter* “I’m ready now! My sons need these.”

Worker: *slowly looking at each box and then up and down the woman with no other change of expression* “Based on their weight, your total is [total].”

(The woman pays and leaves.)

Worker: *still monotone, still expressionless* “Lord Jesus, some f****** people. Next in line, please.”

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