Thursday, March 6, 2008

Does It Really Have to Be This Hard?

Within a mile of my house, there are four post offices. None of them are the one that actually brings me my mail. And even though I know that the USPS is no longer a government agency, I can’t help but think that perhaps they took the worst of the bureaucracy when they spun off.

Case in point:

I ordered something on eBay and was anxiously awaiting its arrival. Since I “work from home,” I am almost always here to receive packages. Which makes every day sort of like Christmas. Or my birthday.

Anyhoo, when I go out to check the mail on Monday, I see a package slip, saying that they had tried to deliver, but I hadn’t been available. Funny, I had been sitting at my desk all morning. No doorbell. No nothing.

But since I figured it was my new purchase I put my nose back in joint and trotted dutifully to the post office that actually does deliver my mail. About 5 miles away.

What do they tell me? The package is still on the truck and won’t be back at the post office until after they’ve closed. Ooooooookay.

Nose back out of joint.

Luckily for me, there’s a place you can sign on the slip that says, “just leave the fucking package at my door.” (I paraphrase) So I signed that and stuck it in my mailbox first thing Tuesday morning.

When the mail came, I trotted happily down to the box to find NO slip and NO package, just the day’s junk mail. “Well,” I thought, “They’ll probably deliver it tomorrow."

Nope. Wednesday found me with another “we missed you” slip. But this one clearly said that the package was “at the post office.”

Cool. Back in the car. Back across town to my “neighborhood” post office. Different slack-jawed clerk, the flickering fluorescent lights slowly drawing the life from him.

“This package is still on the truck.”

@##@$@%@$@!#!##^&***&&%$@#!@@!!!!! Are you people fucking programmed to only offer 3 pat responses?! I calm myself. I can tell that the Living Dead could give a rat’s ass about my dilemma. I'm just another thing he has to get through to reach beer-thirty.

“Can you help me understand this situation, and perhaps help me get my package?” I inquire, as civilly as I can.

“Would yew lack tuh speek tuh a delivery supervisor?”

“More than life itself.”

I was directed to one of those quaint Dutch doors, reminiscent of simpler times and early Pee Wee’s Playhouse. And I wait.

Once the upper half of the door is opened, I guess that the reason for the delay was the need to wake the slumbering giant who was standing before me, rubbing his eyes. This guy appeared to have the intelligence of a troll. If only I had Harry Potter’s wand to shove up his nose and into his pea brain.

I lodged my complaint as politely as possible. Trying my best to keep my words in the three syllables or less range.

“Do you have a slip?”

“Sure do. Right here.” I handed it over. I explained that I had signed for the package to be left.

“Oh, you can’t sign for registered mail.”


“Um, is there maybe another form that you could use to indicate that, because this one clearly says I can.”

“That’s our marketing department. I don’t have any influence over that.”

I didn’t ever know I could be mad and amused at the same time. That was some funny shit, the troll expounding on the difficulties of the “marketing department.” Ha fucking ha! No influence, indeed!

Flies with honey. Flies with honey. My new mantra.

The Troll looked at the slip again. “Oh, this should be here. Let me go get it for you.” My glee was mixed with hatred for the original slack-jaw. I shot him a meaningful look. He just stared, glassy-eyed, into middle-distance.

But wait, the troll is back. And there’s no package in his hands.

“You’ll need to go over to that woman. This type of package is kept under lock and key. And she’s the only one with the key.”

What is it a fucking PLUTONIUM wallet? Damn!

As you might imagine, they had appointed this particular Postal Worker to be the keeper of the key, most likely because her smile resembled the jagged teeth of the key she was keeping. I guess it’s kind of like how dog owners start to look like their dogs.

Not that she was smiling. Oh no. She was dead serious. And then she came back empty handed.

“This package is still on the truck.”

Keep. It. Together. O’P.

Back to the quaint Dutch door. I was starting to hate the Dutch.

Another round with the troll only elicited the helpful advice that “next time maybe you should use express mail.”

“I don’t generally have any control over other people’s shipping habits. And believe me, if I did, this would have come FedEX, not USPS.” I was starting to sound frantic.

Glassy stare into middle-distance.

“Great. Well, THANKS!”

The good news is, I did finally receive my package. Turns out the genius postman was knocking on the door of the storage room in the garage. Why does that not surprise me?


Anonymous said...

have you ever seen those ads in the classifieds saying the post office has openings and they'll help you pass the exam? said exam has two questions you hate people? much?

Anonymous said...

Oh my god is that hilarious, seriously though the storage/smallest closet in austin?
And just so you don't feel to alone, I am dealing with the post office about a package that came and wasnt accepted and they say they left a slip and they didnt so now because it cant be returned to the foreign country from which it came it is somewhere in "dead mail" and no one seems to know where that is or how to revive my package which is henna from india for mehndi because I like doing it and it's very calming and pretty to work with but now it's dead and somewhere unknown OMG!!!!! flys with honey flys with honey flys with honey.....honey is not vegan.

hokgardner said...

I love that the postman was knocking at the storage closet. Fortunately, we have the world's coolest mailman. The fact that we've given him barbecue sandwiches and hot coffee has probably helped our deliveries reach us safely.