Lack Of Efficiency Is Due To A Generational Knowledge Gap

, , , | | Right | May 27, 2019

It’s a busy day at the post office, even with all three clerks working. I’m currently third in line waiting to mail a few packages. I am sat next to the second in line, a middle-aged lady who’s been complaining about the lack of efficiency.

She won’t shut up about how she “had to take a number and wait ten minutes just to buy a packet of envelopes, then step out of line, put her letters in the newly-purchased envelopes and write the addresses — three in total — take a new number, and wait another ten minutes to get the letters stamped, paid for, and sent. I mean, it’s ridiculous!” Just as she says that last part, a young woman walks into the post office. She’s probably in her early 20s, wearing a black dress and heeled boots, listening to music. The middle-aged woman immediately shifts her attention to the new arrival, and starts to complain about “today’s youth.”

The young woman does a quick scan of the room before taking a number. Then she walks over to one of the walls, plucks down a packet of windowed envelopes, carefully opens said packet and takes an envelope. She puts her letter in it, and inspects the front before sealing the envelope. Then she sits down, with her letter and the opened packet of envelopes in her lap, pulls a book out of her bag, and starts to read.

The middle-aged lady, having stuttered out a few confused noises while gesturing towards the young woman, is finally called to the counter and complains, mostly about the actions of the young woman — “I mean, she can’t do that! Just taking envelopes like that? That’s stealing!” — throughout the entire transaction, wasting another five minutes before leaving in a huff, glaring at the young woman.

The young woman is eventually called up to the clerk next to me. She takes out both earbuds — where most younger people, in my experience, would only remove one — hands the clerk the letter and the opened packet of envelopes, pays for both, smiles and thanks the clerk, and leaves with the rest of her envelopes. The whole transaction takes less than 30 seconds.

“Lack of efficiency,” indeed.

We Tire Of Online Names

, , , , , | | Right | May 9, 2019

(The place where I work has a business model based on the following facts. The first is that many companies will not ship to Canada, or charge a massive fee to do so. The second is that we are a hop and a skip from the US/Canadian border. Normally, when our customers come in for their packages, it’s just a matter of verifying their ID and making sure that they are properly registered in our system. There’s a fair bit of paperwork involved, but everything tends to run smoothly. On this particular day, which is busy due to the holiday season, a customer comes in demanding a set of tires. My boss looks up his account, and I overhear some of what goes on.)

Boss: “I don’t see any tires under your name.”

Customer: “It came under [Wildly Different Name].”

Boss: “If it came to [Different Name], then they’re [Different Name]’s tires. He has to come to pick them up.”

Customer: “No, they’re my tires! [Different Name] is my eBay account; everyone knows that!”

Boss: “We don’t know that! We don’t know who the heck [Different Name] is! Do you think we hire what’s-her-name, the psychic lady?”

Customer: “[Different Name] is my eBay account! They’re my tires!”

(After some back-and-forth, my boss has had enough.)

Boss: “[Coworker], could you take care of Mr. [Different Name]?”

(My coworker came and got the guy’s information, and they eventually settled the matter and headed outside to give the guy his tires. When my coworker came back, we learned that the guy announced that not only would he be leaving and taking sixty friends with him — we doubt he has six friends, let alone sixty — but he also claimed he’d get Toronto’s senator to shut us down. Buddy, we’re on the USA side of the border; I doubt you could do much if you WERE a Toronto senator, and given how popular we are with the rest of our customers, trying to shut us down would be political suicide.)

Unfiltered Story #149558

, , , | | Unfiltered | May 6, 2019

(I’m in the queue at the post office behind a lady who is trying to pay her electric bill. She hands the cashier her payment card, when…)

Cashier: Oh, the magnetic strip on this is pretty worn, it won’t swipe. I’ll key in the number by hand, but you might want to contact the company and ask for a new card.
Customer: What? Why would I do that?
Cashier: Well, someone might type the number in wrong by accident.
Customer: How dare you! I don’t come here for you to get my number wrong! I expect better service!
Cashier: M-Madam, I have no intention of getting it wrong, I just thought…
Customer: Well, don’t! I’m shocked that you’d be so insolent as to tell me my business.

(The manager on duty comes over from the next register to ask if everything’s okay, as the woman is being quite loud.)

Customer: You! You need to train your employees better! This one was about to put my money on someone else’s account!
Manager: Madam, I assure you–
Customer: Your useless staff member can’t even key in a number right! Why do you hire these idiots?
Manager: Madam, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to leave.
Customer: What?
Manager: I won’t put up with you treating my employees like this. Please take your card and go. And get a new one from your provider before you come into my post office again.

(The customer snatches her card back and walks off in a rage, to the tutting of everyone in the shop. I walk up to the register.)

Me: Are you okay? She was awful!
Cashier: That was the third time this week…

Can I See Your ID To See Your ID?

, , , | Working | May 1, 2019

(In Belgium, you can send a letter by certified post, meaning you need an ID to show when you want to receive this letter. These letters, more often than not, are bad news – a letter from a collection agency or a letter from work saying you’re fired, for example. When this letter arrives, I am not home, so the postman leaves a slip so I can pick it up the next day. As it is a Friday afternoon, this means I’ll have to wait until Monday to pick it up. I’m slightly worried, for I am a non-working student with — as far as I know — no outstanding debts anywhere. Finally, Monday arrives and I go to the post office, where the following exchange happens.)

Me: “Hello, I’m here to pick up my certified letter. Here is the slip I got on Friday.”

PO Worker: “Okay, no problem. May I just see your ID, please?”

(It is at this point I realize that I don’t have my ID. It’s usually always in my wallet. I excuse myself to the worker and go back home to look for my ID. I realize that the last time I used it, I was working a student job in the Netherlands two weeks before. Possibly I left it there. I call the company:)

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name]. I’m just calling to see if by any chance I left my ID in your office two weeks ago. I no longer seem to have it.”

PO Worker: “Oh, yes! We did find your ID and we sent it to you by certified mail. Did you not yet receive it?”

Me: “…”

(Technically, I was supposed to go to the police to report my missing ID, get a temporary paper as a replacement while replacing it, and use the paper to get the letter with my ID. The post office worker who I explained this to was, luckily, very understanding. She made an exception to take my driver’s license as proof, and made me open the letter then and there to check if it indeed had my ID.)

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.)