Real Life Random Key Generator

, , , , | Working | April 24, 2019

(On my way into the office one morning, when I stop to get the mail, I see a key has been left inside for one of the package mailboxes. I go to open it and realize the key doesn’t even remotely fit for the box it indicates it’s for. I try the other one to be sure, but of course, it doesn’t work. There’s nothing to be done for it at the moment, so I take it with me to my office and explain to my boss. He says he’ll call the post office to figure it out. Later, he tells me what the mail person said.)

Boss: “They said they couldn’t find the right key, so they just left that one and hoped it worked.”

Me: “So… they don’t have the key to their own box, so they gave us a key on the one-in-a-trillion chance it’d somehow work?”

Boss: “Apparently.”

(I asked for more information, like maybe it was an old key or went to neighboring boxes and they hoped it was the same key, but my boss was under the strong impression that the mail person literally just grabbed a random key and slapped the box number on it. I’m still baffled months later.)

Return Of The Shipping

, , , | Working | April 7, 2019

(The German parcel service has “shipping stations,” automated PO boxes for sending and receiving parcels. I have a return label from an online retailer to send some of what I ordered back and get a refund, but I’m unsure if those labels work with shipping stations, so I enter a post office and post the parcel manually. This exchange happens after handing in the parcel.)

Me: “Excuse me. I was wondering if shipping stations can be used for returns?”

Employee: *pause* “Shipping stations.”

Me: “Yes?”

Employee: *pause* “For returns.”

Me: “Yes?”

Employee: “Think about that for a minute. Should be fairly obvious.”

Me: “Sorry, that might be a stupid question, but if I could figure it out by myself, I wouldn’t have to ask.”

Employee: *in a rather condescending tone* “Of course you can’t use shipping stations for returns. Those are for receiving shipments, not posting them.”

Me: “Oh? Okay. Thank you.”

(Unsure of whether I merely had had about twenty very vivid dreams of posting parcels at shipping stations, I checked online. Not only do shipping stations allow the posting of parcels, but they do allow returns. I don’t mind underpaid employees getting things wrong, but please don’t try making me look like an idiot just because you don’t know what services you provide.)

Oh, Unfair Maiden

, , , , , | Working | April 4, 2019

(This takes place a decade ago when I am 19 years old and applying for my first passport. In Australia, if you were born after 1986 you have to submit a parent’s birth certificate along with your own as proof of citizenship; as such, I am using my mother’s birth certificate for my application. I’m at the post office submitting and paying for my application when the clerk stops while checking my supporting documents.)

Clerk: “I’m sorry, but there is a problem with your supporting documents; I don’t think I can proceed with your application. Your mother’s names don’t match.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what do you mean?”

Clerk: “Your mother’s name on her birth certificate doesn’t match her name on your birth certificate.”

Me: “Well, that would be right. She got married and then she had me, so her last name would be different.”

Clerk: “No, the names are not the same. I can’t submit your documentation if it’s not correct.”

Me: “I don’t understand. It is correct. See? On my birth certificate it lists her maiden name, so you can see it is the same person.”

Clerk: “No, the names don’t match. You need to bring me the proper documentation where her names match.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “But it does match. She got married and changed her name, and then had me. It’s all listed there on my birth certificate.”

Clerk: “No, I’m going to have to get my manager. I don’t think I can accept this.”

Manager: *walking over* “What seems to be the issue?”

Clerk: “Her mother’s name on her birth certificate doesn’t match her mother’s name on her mother’s birth certificate.”

Manager: *looking at me, and then slowly looking at the cashier like he has two heads* “Yes, that’s because when her mother was born she had her maiden name. She then got married and changed her surname, and that’s why the names are different. Her maiden name is listed on the applicant’s birth certificate to verify, see? It’s perfectly acceptable to use this.” *walks away*

Clerk: *proceeds with the application like nothing happened*

(Sometimes I think I can get my head around his logic, and other times I really can’t.)

Cake Stops People From Going Postal

, , , | Hopeless | March 9, 2019

(I work in a small post office in a rural area. It makes for a pretty relaxed atmosphere as and people tend to like talking too much about what they’re sending. This has led to some embarrassing oversharing before. This is my favourite interaction, though.)

Customer: “I’d like to send this first class. It’s cake samples for a wedding, so I don’t want it to take long.”

Me: “That’s nice. Oh, it’s still a little warm. Smells really good.”

Customer: “Thank you. Made them all fresh. I’ve got mint chocolate, red velvet, chocolate orange, and Victoria sponge.”

Me: *jokingly* “Well, if it doesn’t get there, you know I might have just eaten them. They sound tasty!”

(We share a laugh and finish the transaction. The next day:)

Customer: “Hello again. I had some leftover sample slices and thought you’d like them.”

Me: “Oh, wow. Thank you so much!”

(I shared the cake with my boss. They were delicious, and when it came time for my sister’s wedding, you can guess who made the cake.)


Dumb As A Post

, , , , , , | Working | March 8, 2019

(We live in a townhome complex where we have community mailboxes. Usually, if you get a package, it’s placed in a larger mailbox and the key to access it is placed in your personal mailbox. Our mail carrier is already notorious for mis-delivering mail in our neighborhood, so when we don’t receive several packages, we think he’s given them to the wrong home again. We’re outside one day and we manage to see him while he’s at the mailboxes. We grab his attention and have this conversation:)

Husband: “Hey, we’ve had three packages that tracking says were delivered to us, but we never got them. Is there any chance you put them in the wrong box?”

Postal Worker: “I doubt it. What’s your address?” *checks our address and starts opening the package-sized mailboxes* “See? They’re all right here.”

(Sure enough, they are all together in one package-sized mailbox.)

Husband: “Okay, but then why didn’t you put the key to it in our mailbox? We never got the key, so we didn’t know they were there and had no way to get them!”

Postal Worker: “Oh, the key for that box is missing. It got lost a couple weeks ago.”

(Yup. He put our packages into a locked mailbox, didn’t tell us, didn’t give us the key, and didn’t understand why we had no idea our stuff was there.)

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