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.)

They’re Not Always Alt-Right

, , , , , , | Working | July 25, 2018

(I became a manager in the post office back in the early 1980s, and quickly gained a reputation with the union workers. One of the more memorable incidents that forged it came with a dispute between two women. One is tasked with loading the mailbags into the trucks. The other drives the loaded trucks and delivers the mail. The problem is simple: the loader consistently fails to load the mailbags when she is working with the driver. I call them both into my office to settle this, but only after doing a little of my own diligence. In this case, that means going over their history. Turns out both women are still on their 90 days; basically, the contract signed by both USPS and the union states that within the first 90 days of an employee’s term, management can let them go for any reason — downsizing, too many sick days, bad chemistry with the team, arrest, anything. The meeting goes as follows:)

Me: “So, [Loader], [Driver] tells me you’re not loading mail into her truck.”

Loader: “That’s right.”

Me: “Y-You don’t deny it?”

Loader: “No, I’m not loading mail for her. She can load her own mail! I don’t load mail for a [racial slur]!”

(The driver and I just sit there with our mouths agape for a moment. Thankfully, I gather myself together first.)

Me: “Pack up your stuff and get out. Don’t bother finishing up today. And don’t come back tomorrow, or ever again. Your racism just cost you your job.”

(Their reactions to my words make me thankful for two reasons. First, [Loader]’s look of pure shock and rage is amazing, but doesn’t extend beyond that; she packs up without a scene. Second, [Driver] doesn’t revel in it. Not then, not ever. I assume this is going to be the end of it, but then the next day rolls around. Just after I get in, [Loader] came into my office on the heels of a man. I happen to recognize this man as a union rep.)

Rep: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Yes. How can I help you?”

Rep: *pointing to [Loader]* “Is it true you fired [Loader] yesterday because of what she said about [Driver]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Rep: “You can’t do that. The union’s contract says you can’t fire her for what she said. She has to get her job back right now, or…”

Me: “No.”

Rep: “What?”

Me: “She’s not getting her job back.”

Rep: “The contract says…”

Me: “The contract also says, in black and white, that we can release any employee for any reason within the first 90 days of employment. She was still on her 90 days. I can fire her for whatever reason I want.”

Rep: “No, you can’t!”

Me: “Of course I can. ‘ANY! REASON!’ If you’ve got a problem, go over my head! Now get out of my office before I throw you out!”

(Both of them left, with the rep cursing every other word. Nothing ever came of their threats, so I assume either the union finally realized she had also confessed to allowing her bigotry to take priority over doing her job, or my superiors laughed them out of the building. Regardless, I noticed I got a lot more respect from my employees — including the union workers — after the rep walked out.)

It’s REAL-ly Long

, , , | Right | July 13, 2018

(I have long hair, which I am lucky enough to be able to wear down at work. I am counting out a big pension pickup for an older lady, slowly so as not to make any mistakes. As I am counting aloud to her, she interrupts.)

Customer: “Your hair is long.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(It’s not really a compliment, more of a sweet, obvious statement. I smile politely, before starting my count from the beginning, as I’ve lost my place. As I’ve nearly reached the total, she interrupts me again.)

Customer: “Your hair is long.”

(Again I smile politely, and begin counting again. She interrupts me twice more to remind me about my hair before I finish. I hand the cash over.)

Customer: “Is it real?”

(I honestly don’t think she paid attention to how much money I was giving her!)

Making You Go Postal

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2018

(I get to the post office late, but before they close at five. I wait at the counter for almost ten minutes.)

Employee: “I’m closed; you have to come back tomorrow.”

Me: “When did you close?”

Employee: “5:03.”

Me: “Its only 5:01 now, and I’ve been here almost ten minutes.”

Employee: “My watch says 5:10.”

Me: *pointing* “The clocks there, there, and there agree with me.”

(I have him get a supervisor, explain the story, and she verifies.)

Supervisor: “Can you please get this man his package?”

Employee: “I can’t.”

Supervisor: “Why not?”

Employee: “It’ll take ten minutes to get the system back up then shut it down again.”

Supervisor: “Sorry, there’s nothing he can do.”

(I was not impressed with the supervisor. If you decide to not do your job and hide in the back so you don’t have to do any work for at least ten minutes, a little unpaid “overtime” seem reasonable to me; balances the books.)