This Woman Is Certifiable

, , , | Right | July 7, 2021

The post office I work at is the only one in the immediate area that processes passport applications. We’re used to people calling with questions about the process, but this call was special.

Me: “[City] Post Office, how can I help you?”

Caller: “Hello, my husband and I need to get passports. Could you tell me what we need to do?

Me: “Sure. You’ll need certified copies of your birth certificates, a DS-11 application, which is—”

Caller: “Sorry, could you let me grab a pen to write this down?”

Me: “Of course.”

Judging by the sounds, the woman spends the next four or five minutes roaming her house, walking up and down stairs twice. Finally, she comes back on.

Caller: “Okay, what do we need again?”

Me: “A certified copy of your birth certificate.”

Caller: “Cer. Ti. Fied… Birth Cer. Tif. I. Cate. What else?”

I can hear scribbling while she sounds out the words, so I assume she’s writing them down.

Me: “A passport application form called a DS-11. We have them here, or you can go online to—”

Caller: “What sort of birth certificate do we need?”

Me: “Certified. It has to have a clerk’s seal, so the type issued by hospitals generally doesn’t work.”

The scribbling noise starts again.

Caller: “Cer. Ti. Fied. What were you saying about an application form?”

Me: “It’s called a DS-11. You can get a copy from our office or print one off from the Department of State’s website.”

Caller: “We’ll probably come in. Is that all we need?”

Me: “No, you’ll need to photocopy the front and back of your driver’s license or—”

Caller: “What was that first thing you mentioned?”

Me: “A birth certificate?”

Caller: “What kind was it, again?”

Me: *Slowly* “Certified.”

Again, I hear scribbling while she talks. My coworker has been listening to my side of the conversation and looks pretty amused.

Caller: “Cer. Ti. Fied. Birth. Cer. Tif. I. Cate. What else were you saying?”

Me: “Birth certificates, application forms, a photocopy of your driver’s license or state ID, and a current photograph. We can take the photos or you can—”

Caller: “Is there any sort of application form we need?”

Me: “Yes, that would be the DS-11. You can pick one up here at the office.”

At this point, I’m not going to walk her through getting the online form.

Caller: “D. S. Eleven. Got it! So, we just need application forms?”

Me: “No? You’ll also need your certified birth certificate, photo ID, and current photos.”

My coworker has stopped smiling and is now staring at me in a mix of confusion and concern.

Caller: *Cheerfully* “Thank you. I’ll call to set up an appointment once we have everything.”

The instant I hang up, my coworker speaks up.

Coworker: “What just happened?!”

Me: “I… I don’t feel right helping that woman go to a foreign country.”

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Seasonal Work, Year-Round Jerk

, , , , , , | Working | June 17, 2021

For my sins, sometimes I have done seasonal work for Royal Mail. The first time was the most eventful. Several of us were assigned to push heavy trolleys called Yorks. These can weigh up to a quarter of a ton. For someone who had applied for seasonal work, one such coworker didn’t seem very hardworking or focused.

One evening, I was pushing a York cheerfully along. (I was cheerful. The York wasn’t, due to being an inanimate object.) Suddenly, I felt a pain in my foot. Recoiling in shock, I turned to see [Coworker] reversing his own York from where he had just hit me, before pushing past me at high speed.

Coworker: “Sorry!”

Apparently annoyed that I did not tell him, “That’s all right,” within about three seconds, he shouted again.

Coworker: “I said I was sorry!”

And then, he disappeared elsewhere in the building.

People pushing things weighing half a ton are trained to keep two metres’ distance from the person in front for reasons which are blindingly obvious. They are also not supposed to move such things fast enough to risk wheelies, as the damage caused by one landing on you is even greater than the damage caused by one being driven into you.

Once I had time to assess what had happened, I concluded that I could walk normally with a bit of care. I delivered my cargo and then went to speak to a manager. The coworker arrived before I had finished reporting the issue and immediately started yelling.

Coworker: “I told you I was sorry! Are you trying to start something?”

Apparently, he didn’t realize that it is possible to see the need to report a careless accident without thinking that the culprit was malicious. When he started advancing toward me with his arms flung wide, I was rapidly bundled away before things escalated. A few minutes later, I was seen by a first aider, who expressed amazement that my foot hadn’t been broken.

In due course, I was informed that the culprit had been escorted off the site by four burly postmen and informed that if he showed his face there again the police would be called. There were concerns that he might try to track me down, but thankfully, nothing happened.

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Don’t Become One Of The Enemy

, , , | Right | May 10, 2021

One morning, I’m early to work, so I decide to drop into a post office located inside a large food market to post a letter. As I approach the counter, I can see a lady behind the desk, but the way is blocked by two large signs stating the opening hours. I’m a bit confused, but as the lady notices me, she approaches and takes my letter.

As I’m leaving, it finally registers what the signs say. 

Sign: “Our opening hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.”

It’s 8:30 am.

I have worked in retail for years and it’s always irritating when people don’t read our signs. Now I know how it happens.

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Making Your Day A Little Dimmer

, , , | Right | April 30, 2021

In addition to mailing, we also sell packing supplies. A man comes in with a prepaid package to drop off, but the label isn’t attached.

Customer: “Can I get some packing tape?”

Me: “Sure, it’s right over there on the wall.”

Customer: “You mean I have to buy it? You can’t just give me tape?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you have to pay for the tape.”

Customer: “You’re a dimwit.”

He walks out, leaving my next customer to stare at him, shocked.

Next Customer: “I’m sorry you had to go through that.”

Me: “It’s okay. It happens fairly often, but that’s the first time I’ve ever been called a dimwit.”

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IDs Are The Dane Of My Existence

, , , | Right | April 24, 2021

Customer: “I have a parcel to collect, but I only have a Danish driver’s license. Will it work?”

The customer speaks Swedish without any perceptible Danish accent. But we are just a couple of hours from the border.

Me: “Sorry, but we do not accept foreign driver’s licenses. Do you have any other form of ID, maybe a passport, with you?”

Customer: *Angry* “How come the police accept foreign driver’s licenses but not you?!”

Me: “You have to ask [Postal Company]’s customer service about that. But if you give me your tracking ID, I can check what I can do.”

If he’s lucky, the parcel is sent as a “big letter” and doesn’t require any forms of identification. Otherwise, his best chance would be that the parcel happens to be addressed to his partner or someone else with a possible valid ID.

Customer: “It’s [tracking ID].”

I check the computer.

Me: “Hmmm… It still requires an ID… But the field for the recipient’s name is blank on my screen. If you just give me a second, I will check the parcel.”

It’s not unusual that the field is blank. There are many standards out in the world, and not everyone coincides with ours. I find the parcel, but I can’t find any name for a receiver. The tracking ID is correct, so it’s not the wrong parcel. After further examination, I find that the recipient’s name is a twelve-digit number. This is very odd, but I recognize it as a Swedish personal ID number. It belongs to a male and spells a birthdate that would match his appearance. While unusual, the sender is allowed to identify the receiver in any way they see fit — provided that they have an ID that can prove it. In this case, they need a Swedish ID. Bummer.

Me: “Sorry, I found the parcel, but it is addressed to a Swedish personal ID number, so I can only accept Swedish IDs.”

Customer: *Angry, and obviously not listening* “Then how come the police accept foreign driver’s licenses but not you?!”

Me: “Sorry, but I can’t hand out the parcel unless I have a Swedish ID so I can check the Swedish ID number.”

Customer: *Angry* “I want her to help me, instead!”

He points at my coworker, who has been helping other customers two metres away. She has heard and knows everything. She takes over, and I help the next person in line.

Coworker: “Sorry, but I can’t hand out that parcel without a Swedish ID.”

Customer: *Defeated, but not showing it* “Okay. But then give me a bet on [lottery] for twenty-five kronor.”

In compliance with anti-money laundering laws, the betting machine will not sell anything until it has confirmed the customer’s identity, which requires a… guess what.

Coworker: “Sorry, but I need a Swedish ID for that.”

The customer gave a roar of anger and left.

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