Needs An Express Delivery Of Compassion (non-dialogue)

, , , , , | Right | June 25, 2017

I was injured on my postal job, and have a broken foot. I’m on crutches, an important point. Since I can’t do my regular job, the postmaster puts me on the customer service window where people pick up their hold mail and things like that.

It’s late, things are slow, like they usually are at that time, and a guy hands me two slips to pick up certified mail. Our station covers six ZIP codes, so we have a LOT of mail. And I mean a LOT.

I take the slips and go look for them. He has one letter that came in the previous day, and another that came in a couple of days before that. We have one area where the previous day’s mail (usually) goes, and then another place where we keep the older mail. They’re in a rough order, by a number in the street address. I find the first one quickly. The other, I have to go through over 400 letters to find, and then I have to go through them again, because his letter has a forwarded mail sticker that got stuck to the letter ahead of it while leaving the old address exposed. I finally see the sticker and realized what had happened.

I go to the window, and the guy sneers, “You took four minutes to get my mail. That’s unacceptable. I want to talk to your postmaster.”

I don’t get mad. I don’t even drop my jaw at a guy getting upset about someone ON CRUTCHES being a little slow. I smile. Because I STILL HAVE HIS MAIL IN MY HAND. I tell him I’ll be glad to get the postmaster, shut the dutch door, and hobble away. Our station is pretty big, as a station with six zip codes would be. It takes me a while to find the postmaster.

I find him on the dock, and he says, almost in one breath, you look tired, what’s up, are you okay, you shouldn’t have come back to work the day after an injury like that, and I know you’re dying for a cigarette (this was back when I smoked), so have one and tell me what’s up.

So I tell him while I smoke the cigarette. Then we go back.

The postmaster opens the dutch door while I handle scanning the mail and getting the signature, off to the side, not saying anything. The guy is FUMING by this point. The postmaster lets him have it for timing someone who had broken her foot only the day before — I could have taken time off, but I am there, serving petty jerks like him, while I am in pain.

And then the guy makes the fatal mistake. He tells the postmaster that he has a bad attitude for a taxpayer paying his salary.

Hint to all of you Americans out there: NEVER — EVER — throw the scum taxpayer argument in a postal worker’s face. Don’t even hint at it, because your tax dollars DO NOT PAY for one fricking cent of a postal worker’s salary. That stamp or postage on the front pays our salaries. NOTHING ELSE. Bring it up, and you deserve to get your head torn off.

When that jerk resorted to the taxpayer argument, that’s when the postmaster went after the guy with both guns, informing him that he was all wrong, why, and finally that he had his mail. He could leave now.

The guy couldn’t believe the postmaster wasn’t firing me on the spot. “You’re not doing anything about how slow she is?”

“Why would I? I’m proud of her for needing so little time to find your mail, when she has a broken foot.” Then my boss turned to me with a grin, and said, “He’s all yours.”

This is his code: You can get your dig in; just don’t swear at him. I am kinda notorious for not taking crap off customers, and he wants to see what I’ll say. That’s probably why he stands in a place where the customers can’t see him. The window clerks take a few seconds from doing their end of day wrapping up to listen in, too.

I finally hand the guy his mail, smile, and say, “Isn’t it great that we live in America where we’re civilized and expect all workers to be treated with dignity and respect? Have a nice day!”

And I shut the door.

When Your Gender Draws Fire

, , , | Hopeless | June 16, 2017

(I always wanted to be a firefighter, though I am a female. I apply, but they just laugh at me. Later after that, I attend a meeting in a government building where the fire chief will be there to give a speech. To my surprise, she’s a female! After the speech, I sidle up to her.)

Fire Chief: “And how are you, young lady?”

Me: “I’m fine. I must say, it was an honest surprise that you would be speaking today.”

Fire Chief: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, I’ve always wanted to become a firefighter but when I applied, they just laughed. I think it was because I’m a woman.”

Fire Chief: “Well, that’s not very nice! Keep at your dreams. Look at me; I’m a female and I made it!” *walks away*

(The cynical side of me wanted to think that maybe she had connections or something like that. But her words gave me a bit of hope. Maybe someday…)

Taxing Faxing, Part 16

, | Canada | Working | May 3, 2017

(In my municipal work we request digital copies of plans from contractors and customers to update records and addresses if they’re outdated or in need of confirmation for permit applications. We then return a marked up confirmation package to the applicant. In this case I’ve done just that with an older contractor who’s informed me he doesn’t have an email address, so he faxes me a copy of his plans. This is 2016 and being in my late twenties, I don’t think I’ve sent a fax in at least 15-20 years, so I’ve got a bit of a re-learning curve. I make several attempts to fax back the final package over the course of a week, constantly receiving busy signals and having to make multiple phone calls to the contractor to check if he’s received it. Finally…)

Contractor: “I still haven’t received this package yet. Can you just email it to me?”

Me: “…yep.”

Taxing Faxing, Part 15
Taxing Faxing, Part 14
Taxing Faxing, Part 13

Needs To Attend Electoral College

| WI, USA | Right | March 30, 2017

(I’m an elections inspector; which is just a fancy way of saying I work at the polls during election days. This election, we are expecting enough of a crowd that we put the registrations and the actual voting in two separate rooms. Furthermore, we separate the registration process into three different steps, each at a different table, to try and minimize bottlenecks. I’m working alongside my mother at the first table. A woman comes in to register, clearly ticked off already. Mom starts asking questions to make sure she has the necessary paperwork for the process. It goes smoothly until the woman shows us what she has for her proof of residence: an ad from the local pizza joint. The law is very clear on what we can and cannot accept as POR, and advertisements are in the “cannot” category.)

Mom: “I’m sorry, I’m afraid advertisements aren’t valid for proof of residence. Do you ha—”

Woman: “You’re saying I can’t vote?!”

Mom: “That’s not what I’m saying; we just need to have something official as proof of residence. Now that could be a utility bill, a bank statement, maybe a—”

Woman: “Everything’s in my husband’s name.”

(I silently cringe at that. Having her husband’s name on the documents also won’t qualify for POR, because there’s no proof that she herself lives there.)

Mom: “Is there anything on this list that might be in your name?” *shows her the list of acceptable documents — she doesn’t even look at it* “Is it possible your car’s registration might have your name and current address on it? Or maybe you have a—”

(The woman snatches up her papers and storms out of the room in a huff. Mom and I just shrug and focus on helping the next people in line. About 20 minutes later the woman comes storming back in.)

Woman: “HERE!” *slams a very crumpled sheet of paper onto the table*

Mom: “Perfect! Okay, now you’re ready for the next step. If you could go to—”

(Without waiting for the rest of the directions, the woman grabs her papers and gets in line. Unfortunately, she skipped step #2 and went straight to the line for step #3, which is for people who already have their registration form filled out. While some people do bring the form in with them, most don’t, and so step #2 involves filling out that form. Mom tries to redirect her.)

Mom: “Ma’am, that line is for if you already have the form filled out. Just to be sure, did you—”


(Just then, the person manning step #2 gets her attention and directs her to a console. I turn to my mom and mutter.)

Me: “Well, since we don’t have X-ray vision…” *shrugs*

(Mom has already noticed another voter coming in and so has turned her attention on them. I do the same, but out of the corner of my eye I do see the woman spin back around to face us.)

Woman: “You know, you’re a b****!”

(After she was gone (she did finally get registered and was able to vote) and the rush had slowed to a trickle, I wrote everything up in the incident report, just in case she tried to claim we’d been blocking her from voting. Mom reads over my shoulder.)

Mom: “Is that what she said? I wasn’t even listening at that point.” *thinks about it* “You know, I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever been called that to my face. Considering I’m tech support, that’s a pretty good record!”

(Fortunately, that woman was the nastiest person we had to deal with that day. Later on, we helped a brand-new citizen register to vote for the first time ever. She was grinning from ear to ear, and showing off her citizenship certificate to anybody who stood still long enough. It was a nice reminder of why I put myself through this every election!)

Bin There, Done That

| Wales, UK | Right | March 24, 2017

(One of many things we do is help with the management of refuse and recycling facilities for local residents. The county is a popular retirement destination and most of our callers are elderly. Unfortunately this means we get a high volume of calls where we just can’t help people because no matter how hard we try, we cannot coax their requests out of them:)

Me: “Bore da, good morning, [Local Government].”

Elderly Caller: “BINS!”

Me: “You’ve got a query about your refuse or recycling?”

Elderly Caller: “BINS!”

Me: “Have you missed a collection? Would you like me to send some staff over to come and help empty your bins?”

Elderly Caller: “BINS!”

Me: “Was it that you needed a replacement bin? Did one of your bins get broken?”

Elderly Caller: “NUHHH. BINS. MY BINS!”

Me: “I’d like to know how I can help you with your bins, sir. Do you know your address? Or is there somebody in the room who can help you with your call? I really want to help you if I can.”


(I heard the phone clatter to the table or floor and the line went dead shortly thereafter. I have set up regular direct debits to dementia charities since I started working here. We get several calls like that every day and I always wish I could do more! I especially wish we had 999-style call location technology so we could trace calls and call people back who’ve hung up on us by mistake. Maybe one day…)

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