bellefior (bellefior) wrote in bad_service,

Holiday Time at the Post Office - Maybe Not Exactly Bad Service, But Definitely a WTF!

There is a reason why I generally try to limit my visits to the PO this time of year. Thankfully, mercifully, I made my last trip until after Christmas and survived to tell the tale.

Let me preface this by saying that I understand that working with the public day in and day out is not the easiest thing in the world, and that customers can and will drive you nuts! The people that work my local PO are very amiable (thank God), but they have some quirks (not only limited to the holidays) that can sometimes get to you. Especially when there is a line halfway out the door.

This is what happened this morning:

-Only one person working the counter with an ever increasing line, with all the others in back distributing the mail to the PO boxes. This may be a small post office, but it is an extremely busy one at the counters even when there isn't a holiday. I don't know, but it might be prudent, especially since it's the holidays and people are going to be mailing a lot of stuff, to have more than one window open to serve the customers coming in to mail stuff, and not have everyone else in the back distributing box mail, maybe get some extra staff in there if needed? (I saw a sign in there saying that the PO was looking for casual, seasonal help, but apparently not at that office!)

-Mr. Postman, I understand that you are trying to be friendly to your customers. It's one of the things we like about you. However, when someone comes in and asks for a book of Christmas stamps, when you have a line of people out the door, for the love of God, use some common sense. Please don't whip out every single type of holiday stamp you have to display to the customer and ask which they would prefer. Because all it does is slow down the line. I kid you not, he had maybe 8 - 10 different books of Christmas/holiday stamps (including some of last year's designs) for the customer in front of me to look at. He does this every single time a customer asks for stamps. Just give them a book of Xmas stamps and get the line moving, they are buying a stamp, not a Picasso painting! Or if you are going to ask if there is a preference, how about limiting it to religious or non-religious? (He does this at other times of the year too - go in and ask for a book of stamps and he will whip out every design he has available to choose from so you can pick.)

-When you ask me if my packages contain anything fragile, liquid, hazardous or perishible, and I tell you the box contains a tin of Xmas Christmas cookies, please don't just go ahead and write "COOKIES" on the box with your big black magic marker. Had I wanted the person who is getting the box to know what was in it and not be surprised, I would have had it shipped straight from the bakery. And when I tell you I wish you hadn't done that w/o asking me first because now the recipient will know what is in the box (or someone else may see it, know what is in it and maybe decide to take the yummy cookies I mailed), it doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence in the post office's ability to handle mail when you say to me, "well I put it on there because these packages get thrown around and they could end up with crumbs". I thought you guys were supposed to handle the mail with care regardless of what it contains, not fling it around like a football! It is okay for you to go ahead and write "fragile" on the box (which is what ultimately we did after he covered up his original writing with more priority mail stickers). It is not okay to write what the exact contents of the box that you know probably contains a gift without asking the sender first - and then give me the snake eyes to boot when I ask you not to do that. (I generally wrap my boxes with lots of packing material inside and nothing moves, so unless a ton of bricks gets dropped on it, they should get there fine.)

-PS. Telling the guy in front of me who had a letter returned from Italy and couldn't understand why the letter had been sent back to him, that the address is not legible and needs to be printed clearer is okay. But telling him it's illegible, that you can't read it, but that maybe you could read the address it if you were Italian (fostering a stereotype that Italians have bad handwriting) just was not cool at all! It wasn't written in Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew or Chinese which have totally different characters - the Italian and English alphabet use the same exact characters (with the exception of one or two less letters in the Italian one).

ETA: When I arrived at the Post Office, there were maybe five people in line, including me. When I left, there were a dozen people in line, so I wasn't imagining the slowness in dealing with the customers in front of me. I was at the window maybe 3-4 minutes tops because I knew how I wanted the packages sent and had the cash all ready to go (would have been even quicker less if we hadn't had the issue with his writing on the box)

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