Going Postal

The automated postal machine was being cleaned today, which meant I had to wait in line at the post office. This is a terrifying prospect even on an ordinary day, when the line snakes out the door and only two clerks are working behind the desk. Today, however, was not ordinary. There was only one guy in line, but there were only two clerks behind the desk, one of whom was helping a customer and the other was being berated by a very angry woman. From what I could gather, her mail had not been delivered properly. The unlucky recipient of her tirade remained calm the entire time, patiently explaining that the postal workers were doing their best to deliver mail, but it was hard given the cold and the snow. The complaining woman would not be deterred. At one point, it looked like she was about to leave, but then another postal employee said something about the streets not being cleared of snow which set her off again (the first employee reached her arm out, as if to say, "no, stop, don't set her off again," but it was too late, the lady screamed that the streets had been clear since Monday, which is all well and good except the big snowstorm didn't start until Tuesday, but luckily no one pointed this out.) The complaining woman than began to address those of us waiting in line, telling us that if we hadn't received our mail we were out of luck. We all tried to maintain as blank an expression as possible, sympathetic to her circumstances, but hopefully, not encouraging her to continue screaming. When she left, I turned to the woman behind me in line who said to me, "I've gotten all my mail." We talked about how sometimes you get other people's mail, but mail carriers are human and the snow has taken its toll on all of us. Then I said to her, "Maybe she is just really angry because she didn't get any Valentines this year." We chuckled. I don't mean to make light of someone else's troubles. It is possible she is waiting for checks and bills and not getting your mail can be annoying. But wouldn't a phone call have sufficed? Think about it. She trekked through snow and bitter cold to go to a post office in order to bitch out an overworked government employee. She didn't get her mail or do anything which would get her mail delivered. Frankly, something like not getting the love letters she was sure she was meant to receive seems like a far more reasonable explanation for her behavior. Of course, if I believed the Valentines had been sent and that it was only a matter of time before they were delivered, I would not be sent over the edge. I can be patient when I have to be. I can, however, understand being driven crazy from a lack of love. And the snow and bitter cold is taking its toll on all of us.


Francesca said…
I agree that the cold is getting to all of us. I'm also more than a little sympathetic to the madwoman since Ed went down to our postoffice today to find out if they were hiding any packages that might belong to us and indeed they were! AND had already sent another one back to Nevada because we hadn't magically just known that we needed to come to the post office to pick it up.

Our crazy post office is currently the only thing I'm looking forward to leaving behind in Philly and that's only because it's so cold. Mostly I find their aura of mystery about packages almost endearing and I go down there regularly and ask them to dig my packages out from the hole they've buried them in and actually give them to me.

But screaming at the poor person behind the desk? Nah. Where is that going to get you?
Anonymous said…
One of the postal workers at my local is so kind and sweet that I often wonder if she is real.

Her demeanor aside, the place is a pit and I always chuckle when I pass the sign claiming a "top service" award, when I walk out after waiting inside for 45+ minutes.

Angry woman should have gotten on the internets and bitched on a blog or sent an angry e-mail missive. :)
Anonymous said…
To hell with the cold and snow. I'm imagining myself in Aruba right now. Care for a margarita?
Judy said…
Our mail man is great. But one of the people at the post office keeps screwing up and sending our mail back to us. Very frustrating!

I have been known to complain a little to people who I know are not responsible for the problem. I do usually preface with, "I know this is not your fault, but this system (or whatever) is really, really stupid, and I'm really frustrated," or something like that. And then I go on with my business.

But to go off on someone who isn't responsible and can't do anything about it? Just stupid. I usually kind of feel for those people, too, because what in their lives is so bad that they feel the need to do that?

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