The post office is quickly becoming one of my least favorite places to visit.
It's climbed into the top five of "places to avoid" along with Walmart, Dairy Queen, Hagrid's office, and work restrooms with multiple stalls.
Unfortunately, it became necessary that I head to the post office to take care of a couple things. I generally get myself in the right "state of mind" beforehand. It's kind of like preparing to lift weights, where you listen to loud music, take an energy drink, put on a speedo, etc. To get prepared to enter the post office, I try to listen to Paul Harvey on the way in the car, and drive 10 mph under the speed limit.
I thought I would be smart and show up at 10:45 AM to beat the lunch rush. This was also the idea of 135 ladies over the age of 74. I think the post office at 10:45 AM is the new Sizzler at 4:30 PM.
I tried to be courteous and hold the door for a bunch of old ladies, and ended up 8 people later in line as a result. I swear I heard a couple of them call me a "sucker" under their breath as they passed me in the doorway. Or perhaps they thought that after their transaction, they would get a sucker. That's the bank you blue-hair.
I was prepared for a 20 minute wait, and was not disappointed. Each patron heading up to the next available window inundated the employee with the most ridiculous questions you could imagine.
"When is it going to get there?" "Is fruitcake considered perishable?" "I didn't realize that 14 gallons of lighter fluid was considered hazardous."
It is my estimation that 72% of customers in the post office have no clue what they are doing.
I suggest a 3-line wait system based on the knowledge preparedness of the customer.
The first line would be entitled:
All forms filled out, and you know exactly what you want.
The second would be:
You have more than 5 items to mail, or more than 1 question.
And the third (and longest) line would say:
You have no clue why you're here.
It would be so much more pleasant to go to the post office under these circumstances. Unfortunately, you'd have people slated for line #3, see the short line #1, and move over. They'd get to the front, and ask if they could cash their paycheck to go to Walmart. I'd make them go back to the end of line 3.
While waiting in line, I noticed that their "menu" had changed. No longer was there a shipping type, and a base price. Now it just lists the different "services" they provide. Do they raise their prices so often that they can't put up a normal price list. Pretty soon you'll see "market price" next to most services. Mailing baseball cards sold on eBay shouldn't cost as much as Maine Lobster.
I also don't understand why the post office employees are always trying to "up sell" you to more expensive shipping terms.
For 6 dollars I can ship it 2-3 day, but for 58 dollars, it is guaranteed overnight. I felt like I was at the Olive Garden when the servers push stuffed mushrooms and mocha cappuccino's in order to increase their "up sell" status. Don't forget the Chocolate Bow tie Cheesecake!! (Oh yeah...I worked at the OG for 3 months. I was totally Bona festa)
After mailing my package, I headed over to the "special room in the back" where I needed to submit an application to get a passport. I had previously filled out the application online in order to expedite this process.
I handed the employee my materials, and had them promptly shoved back into my face.
Post Office Ornery Person: Well...it looks like you're not leaving the country.
Me: Why not?
POOP: You need to have this completely filled out.
Me: Yes...I did it online.
POOP: You didn't fill out the birthplace of your father and mother.
Me: I know...these were not required online. The required items had a "red star" next to them. They must not be necessary.
POOP: OK, fine. I'll mail them in, and you can just have them sent back with a letter stating the items you missed filling out.
Me: But this was on the secretary of state's web-site.
POOP: You can come back when you have these items completed. Oh, look here, you also need to fill in your complete SSN.
Me: Is there a special SSN, which has more than 9 digits?
POOP: Oh..never mind.
Me: I'll call my Mom to get the remaining information.
(POOP walks away. Probably to take a smoke break.)
After completing all items, I headed even further into the depths of the post office for some passport pictures.
No sooner had I sat down, when she took the picture.
Me: Oh...I wasn't ready.
POOP: I was.
Me: So....we're done?
(Looking at the picture, I appear to be in some sort of REM sleep as my eyes are rolled back into my head. I suppose that when I listed any aliases on my application, I should have put down "Hellraiser.")
POOP: Yup, you should receive your passport in 4-6 weeks.
Me: (feigning cheeriness) Thanks!
POOP: You'll need to take this slip and pay up front.
Me: Wait..I can't pay back here?
POOP: Nope, we don't process payments here.
So I trudge back into the millennial line of blue-hairs and soccer moms. By now the full lunch rush was in effect, and I waited between a lady shipping a home-made cookies to grand-kids and a guy who went into the post office solely to purchase a Boston Celtics framed mirror. I kid you not.
I wonder if stamps.com will give me an ulcer like the PO....if not, craptacular...I'm in.