Oh No, Someone Isn’t Going To Get Their $3 Gift Card. Tragic.

, , , , , | Right | December 23, 2018

(I’m waiting in a long lineup at the post office close to Christmas. The woman in front of me has a small parcel that she wants to mail for someone’s present.)

Customer: “How much will it cost to mail this to [Location]?”

Employee: “$7.50 if you want it to get there before Christmas, ma’am.”

Customer:How much? Are you serious? I’m not paying that!”

Employee: “If you don’t need it to get there before December 25, you can pay $3.50, instead.”

Customer: “What? That’s still outrageously expensive! That’s more than the gift cost in the first place! Forget it!” *leaves*

(She waited in line for almost half an hour, only to balk at what seemed like a pretty reasonable amount of money. I felt sorry for the would-be recipient who would now not receive a Christmas present at all, because $3.50 was “outrageously expensive.”)

This Christmas, Go For The Whole Package

, , , , , , | Right | December 23, 2018

(The scene: a desperately understaffed postal outlet, two cashiers, mountain of Christmas shipping boxes behind them, line of customers stretching out behind us. I am next in line while two men in front of me do business with the two clerks. The customer on the left is mature, annoyed, and arguing very slowly with the woman trying to help him.)

Customer: “But this says that the driver couldn’t deliver the package and that I could pick it up here.”

Clerk: “Yes, sir, but the driver has not yet returned from his rounds, so the package isn’t here to pick up yet.”

Customer: “Can you just check and see if it’s here?”

Clerk: “I’ve already explained to you, sir, that the driver has not yet returned for the day…”

(This continues for minutes while the line behind us steadily grows longer. The clerk is clearly pained, but her professionalism is astounding.)

Clerk: “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to come back tomorrow and check for your package; there are a lot of customers waiting in line.”

Customer: “Well, you don’t care that I made a special trip in here in my truck to pick this up! Nobody cares about me. I might just go get into my truck and drive over someone on the way home—“

(This is too much, and the customer beside him and I both interrupt him simultaneously.)

Me: “Hey! Don’t be talking like that. That’s not cool; you don’t threaten to run someone over just because you didn’t get your package…”

(Voices from the lineup behind us join in in support. The customer whirls in surprise, and notices that he is holding up about twenty people, that we’ve all been listening, and that we are all calling him on his bad behaviour. He leaves the store without a word. The clerk thanks us, the other customer and I fist bump, and we finish our business. Next time I am in, I get the same clerk, who says…)

Clerk: “You remember that guy? He came back the next day, then complained that his package was too heavy for him to carry, and now he’d wasted two trips for nothing and we should just send it back. Then, about an hour later he came back in and picked it up after all.”

(Their receipt has one of those “How did we do?” surveys on it. I made sure to fill it out positively, mentioning her by name.)

Mail Fail

, , | Right | December 14, 2018

(I’m a manager at the local post office. One afternoon, an older, posh-looking lady comes in.)

Lady: “I’m here to pick up my mail.”

(We get this a lot; people who receive large packages get a slip of paper in their mailbox saying we’re holding a package for them.)

Me: “All right, no problem, ma’am. Can I see your pick-up slip?”

Lady: “My what? No, I don’t have a slip. I’m here to get my mail.”

(This also happens frequently; customers forget their slip at home, or lose it. They can still claim their packages by presenting government-issue photo ID and at least one bank card with a matching name.)

Me: “Okay, that’s no problem. Can I see your ID and a bank card?”

Lady: *rolls her eyes* “I suppose.”

(She hands me her cards and I check the computer. There is nothing in the system under her name or address.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, it actually looks like you have nothing here to pick up. Are you sure you got a pick-up slip in the mail?”

Lady: “I already told you I didn’t! I’m just here to pick up my mail!”

Me: *confused* “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. What mail?”

Lady: “I haven’t received any mail for the last week! I’m here to pick it up!”

(It finally dawns on me. She thinks because hasn’t received any mail for the last week that we’re holding it here.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we don’t hold regular post here, only packages that are too large to fit in the mailboxes. If you haven’t received any mail, perhaps nothing has been sent out to you?”

Lady: “No! You have my mail! I’m very popular; I always get mail! Give me my mail!

Me: “Ma’am, I assure you we’re not holding your mail. All mail that we receive gets sent out. I’m sorry you aren’t getting any mail, but that has nothing to do with us.”

Lady: *narrows her eyes, obviously unhappy with this answer* “Manager. Now.”

Me: “I am the manager. Now, I’m sorry you aren’t receiving anything in the post, but I promise you we don’t have it here. If we did, we would send it out to you. It’s not practical for us to keep mail here; it would pile up too quickly. If you’re expecting something specific, then I would suggest checking with the sender. I—” *she cuts me off*

Lady: “NO! I know you have my mail; I want it! I always get mail! Every day! Give me my mail!”

Me: “Ma’am, we do not have your mail. When we receive mail for you, we will send it to you; do you understand? We don’t keep it here.”

Lady: “FINE! Don’t give it to me! I’m filing a complaint!” *storms out of the building*

(The next day we got a visit from government officials since the post is a government service. The lady had called and complained that we were keeping her mail from her, and tampering with mail is a serious offence. After many hours of the officials searching the post office and rewatching the security footage — which included sound — we were all let off with a warning, and I was written up. We now have a policy where you must scan your pick-up slip at the door to be allowed in, or make a private appointment.)

His Wife Is The Perfect Package

, , , , , , , | Right | November 12, 2018

(After work, I have to head to the post office to pick up a package. There is a counter at my post office specifically for people to pick up packages, registered mail, etc. I am a few customers in, and we’re waiting while the person working the counter is in the back room. She comes out, and comes up to the counter, talking to [Customer #1].)

Post Office: “I’m sorry, but like I said, we don’t have your packages.”

Customer #1: *clearly irritated* “Well, look again! I need those packages! One of them is for my son!

(The post office lady just rolls her eyes and agrees to look in the back room for what seems to be a least the third time. There are collective groans in the line, as it’s clear this has been going on for a while. The post office lady comes back a couple of minutes later.)

Post Office: “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t see anything, and according to the computer, this stuff was picked up a few days ago.”

Customer #1: “That can’t be right! Hold on. I’m going to call my wife and prove it!”

(He makes a big show of taking his cell phone out, phoning his wife, and putting the call on speaker phone.)

Customer #1: “I’m here at the post office now, and she claims they don’t have either of the packages!”

Wife: “Why would they? [Customer #1], you picked those up on Friday.”

Customer #1: *long pause* “What?”

Wife: “They’ve been sitting on the counter unopened all weekend. You’re the one who signed for them and everything!”

(Turning a lovely red colour, he hung up the phone and abruptly left the line with his head down. The poor post office lady had a very weary look on her face by the time she got to me, and I could totally see why.)

They Were Only Mostly Dead

, , , , , , | Working | October 25, 2018

(I become a manager in a post office in the early 1980s, and quickly gain a reputation with the union workers. It is first earned when I am called in to handle an office that is delivering an incredibly low percentage of the mail, which has only worsens in the week before I go in. After the introductions, I start my observations, and nobody’s behavior or stations immediately stand out as unusual. However, just as I turn my back to go double check the numbers, I spy someone throwing a few items into the pile for the Dead Letter Office, the resting place of any mail that absolutely cannot be delivered no matter the circumstances. On a hunch, I inspect an item within the obscenely large pile awaiting shipment, and I find the answer. Since the addresses written on the envelopes don’t magically change by themselves, even if the intended recipients’ addresses do, the post office itself has to change it for them after the change of address is filed. Today, that’s not a big deal, since we have computers, but this is the 1980s; while I cannot conclusively say the post office hasn’t started implementing computers yet, I can say that we aren’t anywhere near ready to begin the transition. As a result, looking up the change of address means extra leg-work and going through overstuffed filing cabinets looking for a matching name with just eyes. When mail reaches the Dead Letter Office, the process is repeated in order to ensure the item actually cannot be delivered and isn’t a simple error. If the Dead Letter Office is able to find an address for any mail, the mail is returned with the new address written on. In order to minimize their own work, this office has been foisting their own job of looking up forwarding addresses onto the Dead Letter Office. Rather than taking the one to three days it would normally take for this process to be completed, it instead takes up to a week to find the address and deliver it. I am never able to confirm this, but I believe the further drop in numbers is the result of a silent rebellion from the Dead Letter Office; they have realized they are being forced to do someone else’s job and have stopped applying new addresses to the mail, but the mail is then quickly sent back to the Dead Letter Office, trapping it in perpetual transit between the two. Rather than own up to having the evidence immediately, I instead talk to the other managers and supervisors, and make them agree to abide by whatever I say. Then, I gather the whole team for a meeting, after wheeling in the mail for the Dead Letter Office.)

Me: “As I said earlier, I’m here today because your numbers are down and we all want that problem fixed. After walking around, I noticed your mail for the Dead Letter Office is considerably higher than average. I can’t help but wonder if the mail in here is actually dead, something you’re supposed to be confirming yourself before it’s added to this pile. So, here’s what’s going to happen from now on. At the close of business every day, the other managers and I are going to review every item in this pile. If one item — just one item — could have been delivered, we’re calling in the inspectors, launching a formal investigation, and anyone it declares responsible for wilfully misdirecting mail will be fired.”

(I walk away and motion the rest of management to follow. No sooner than my back is turned, I hear the pile being deconstructed. I settle into my office afterwards. Not even five minutes after I close the meeting I receive a phone call.)

Me: “[Location] Post Office. This is [My Name]; how can I…”

Caller: “Who the f*** do you think you are?”

Me: “Who is this?”

Caller: “What are you, an a**hole?”

Me: *hangs up*

(The phone rings again almost instantly.)

Caller: “Did you just hang up on me?”

Me: “Who is this?”

Caller: “Answer the f****** question!”

Me: *hangs up*

(The cycle repeated for a bit until he finally figured out I wasn’t going to let some random person talk to me like that. I later found out from another manager that he was the union rep, and was not very pleased when he found out what I said during the meeting. And for those curious, I didn’t have to stay late that night looking up forwarding addresses, or any other night, because there was almost no mail being sent to the Dead Letter Office after that.)

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