Hats Off To Their Patience

, , , , , , | Right | December 30, 2018

(I am in the post office this morning, behind a woman at the counter who wants stamps.)

Customer: “Do you have any with reindeers on them?”

Clerk: *rooting around in box under counter* “Got some somewhere. Let me see…”

(The clerk pulls a box out from under counter, continues rooting, and eventually pulls out a sheet of stamps and shows them to the customer.)

Clerk: “There you go.”

Customer: *picks sheet up and holds it about an inch from her nose* “Do you have any with antlers?”

Clerk: “Not antlers, no. But you asked for reindeer; I thought you wanted reindeer.”

Customer: “Not just antlers, reindeer with antlers. These don’t have antlers.”

Clerk: *pointing to stamps* “Yes, they do, there, see? Antlers.”

Customer: “Those are antlers? I thought they were hats. They’re very small.”

Clerk: “Reindeer don’t wear hats. Those are antlers, normal size.”

Customer: “They seem very small to me. Sure they’re not hats?”

Clerk: “Definitely antlers.” *holds up a sheet of stamps up for the customer to see them*

Customer: “Let me put my glasses on.” *digs glasses out of her purse and puts them on* “No, those are no good. I want bigger antlers. Do you have any with bigger antlers?”

Clerk: “Sorry, those are the only stamps we have with reindeer with antlers.”

Customer: “Even with my glasses on, they still look like hats. Do you think they might be hats?”

(I am mumbling to myself, “Do NOT make the mistake of turning round and asking me if they look like hats! Don’t do it. Just DON’T!”)

Clerk: “I think they look like antlers.”

Customer: “Okay, well, I don’t want those. Do you have any with elves?”

(How the clerk resists asking if the customer wants elves with antlers is beyond me.)

Clerk: “Yes, we have elf stamps.” *puts reindeer “with hats” stamps back in the box, pulls out a sheet of elf stamps* “Are these okay?”

Customer: *looks closely at elf stamps* “Yes, that’s better. I really wanted elves, anyway; they’re much cuter than reindeer.”

(I shake my head slowly. If she really wanted elves, why have I just listened to a five-minute conversation about antlers?)

Clerk: “How many do you need?”

Customer: *pulling letter from her purse* “Just one, for this, please. Could you put it on for me? I don’t see too well.”

(She pushed the letter across the counter, and the clerk affixed the stamp and tossed the letter into a box behind her. Seven minutes of reindeer, antlers, hats, and elves, and the customer never even TOUCHED the stamp!)

These Workers Come In Completely Different Packages

, , , , , | Working | December 27, 2018

(I order a package for Christmas that is scheduled to be delivered by Thursday, December 21st. Sadly, it doesn’t come. On Saturday the 23rd, I get a pink pickup slip in my mailbox which essentially tells me to pick up the package whenever the post office is open. Unfortunately, my post office closes early on Saturday. Sunday the 24th and Monday the 25th, the post office is closed. I am away on Tuesday the 26th visiting family for Christmas. Here’s what happens when I try to pick up my package on Wednesday the 27th. I go in around 2:45 pm and I have to wait about ten minutes before getting to the counter.)

Worker #1: “Hi. Welcome to [Post Office]. My name is [Worker]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I need to pick up a package.”

(I hand her my license and package slip.)

Worker #1: “Okay, great!”

(She then disappears in the back room for ten minutes. She comes back and tells an older man who I think is a manager that she can’t find my package. She completely ignores me, and they both disappear into the back room. After another ten minutes, they both come back.)

Manager: “Okay. I currently have two workers in the back looking for your package. We can’t find it right now. We’re going to contact the driver to see if he took it with him.”

Me: “Okay, how long should that take? I’ve already been here for twenty minutes and there’s a line out the door.”

Manager: “Just wait a little while, no longer than five minutes.”

(He rushes off to a side office.)

Me: “Okay, then.”

(I am currently waiting off to the side so other people can be helped. After waiting another ten minutes, the manager comes back with another worker that I recognize from previous package pickups. The other worker has always been very courteous and helpful. It is now almost 3:30.)

Worker #2: “Okay, we have two guys searching the back room for your package. There are a lot of packages back there from the holidays.”

(The first worker comes over and interrupts him.)

Worker #1: “Okay, honey, I am so sorry but we don’t know where your package is. I copied your packaging slip. I need you to leave your name, phone number, and address. We’re going to contact the carrier again because the manager didn’t get in touch with them the first time. We’re also going to call the driver again. He probably took it for delivery.”

Me: “Okay, how is it possible that a package that was supposed to arrive last Thursday is now missing after I got a packaging slip on Saturday?”

Worker #1: “Well, it happens.”

Worker #2: *glaring at the first worker* “Miss, I’m so incredibly sorry. I know you’ve had package delivery issues before. We will get this resolved some way. Please, just give us some time to try to find your package. It’s either here in the jumble of packages or was accidentally sent out for delivery. It’s not acceptable, and I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

Worker #1: “Jeez, way to suck up.” *eye roll*

Me: *addressed to [Worker #2]* “Okay, first of all, thank you for at least trying to do your best, even if you weren’t originally involved, and doing your best with customer satisfaction. As for you—“ *addressing the first worker* “—are you kidding me? I’ve been here for almost an hour now waiting for a package that was supposed to arrive before Christmas, but has somehow disappeared, and you’re giving him grief for being sympathetic, even if it is ‘customer service sympathy’? Seriously? In the meantime, here is my name, phone number, and address. I’m going to check up again at the end of the week. I’m hoping you will have some information by then.”

Worker #2: “Thanks for your patience. Again I’m sorry about this.”

Worker #1: “We’ll call you, honey!”

(I’m still waiting for any update at all! I’ve contacted the seller to let them know what was going on and their records show that the package was brought to the post office. It’s all on them now.)

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.)