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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

 

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