Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Postal Service – “We are cheaper so expect the worst possible treatment”
I just need to vent or I’ll explode. I don’t expect sympathy from everybody, some of you might have relatives working for them or you live in the post-card perfect town where even the postal service is a pleasure, but this has never been my experience. In 17 years I lived 5 different cities and it has always been a nightmare.
This particular branch that I am using is in a very crowded business area of the city and it is very large. It has 14 different desks, but usually between 11 am and 2 pm only 4 of them are manned causing enormous lines to form. I guess someone in his enormous wisdom, figured out that lunch time is not the time working people have to go to the post office, so they better leave only a skeleton crew.
I got used to that idea unfortunately and I bring along a book to read. But it is hard not to notice that out of the four clerks available, one is always doing something else. Nobody seems to care that there are 100 people in line anxiously looking at their watches and wondering when all the stamps will be aligned, phone calls dealt with, badges adjusted, stories finished, so that service can resume. You look at their faces and you wonder if they don’t do it on purpose. How thick-skinned do you need to be not to feel uncomfortable when stared at by 100 pairs of hostile eyes?
And after an hour’s wait, I am at the counter with my flat rate priority mail box, with a delivery confirmation sticker attached. She charges me $11.80 from the $10.80 that I paid last time and I am thinking the rates must have gone up again. Must be this amazing service I am getting. But then she notices the delivery confirmation sticker (hard to make out with its bright green color) and charges me $0.65 more for delivery confirmation. Swipes my card and hands me my paperwork back.
I ask how much is the flat rate priority mail? Did it go up? She asks: what flat rate? I say: that was a flat rate box. She picks it up from the bin, turns it around and can’t see the flat rate marking. When I point it out to her she says it is not visible enough. NOT VISIBLE ENOUGH? THEIR OWN PRINTED BOXES?
Fine. She concedes to void the transaction and re-charge me. At the same time she says: there is no reason to be upset mam. (no reason????). But she does not know how to void the transaction, she asks around but decides she must go in the back to customer service to find out more details on how to do it. More time elapses. At this point I say forget it, grab my card, and my receipts and leave.
I go to the post office only when I have to, but I wonder why do we put up with this horrible service and the (numerous) rate increases? I know they are cheaper, but we pay with money for their service, not with peanuts. We work for that money and we are not allowed to behave like that at our place of work.