I despise going to the Post Office and am somewhat boycotting them. I really could care less if they go under (other than several thousand slow, lackadaisical, angry employees will be out of a job).
Unfortunately, when I am not able to pay for my postage online, stick it on my packages, and click “pick up at front door” I find myself getting worked up enough to physically go into our local government slow-job.
A couple of weeks ago I had to do just that. I thought if I asked my cohort in crime (my gal pal across the street) if she needed to go with, it would make it less painful. It just so happens that she needed to go so we loaded up the sports car and began our journey. I remember my FB status update, “I’m going to the Post Office. Ya’ll pray for me.”
Traffic was a mess and it was already starting to appear that the Christmas crazies were on the road and we just knew we were in for it – especially at the post office.
I’m sure there are great local offices around the globe but our two closest PO locations are the worst. The closest one, and the one in my own village of Suburbia, has this atmosphere of awfulness due to their god awful customer service. The employees appear unhappy, overworked, and down-right Postal. In fact, every time I have to go in that facility, I wear my bullet-proof vest just in case.
Where was I? I just got side-tracked.
Anywho, back to the other location. So my friend and I pulled into the parking lot which was more crowded than usual (all us last-minute gift-senders) but we finally found a space. We walked in to find a line a mile long and proceeded to get in line. There was this thick cloud of Christmas anxiety in the air as we all huffed and puffed in line (some more than others).
The lady in front of me has decided she needs to get her passport. Wait, what? At Christmas? Okay, so I give her some slack and chill out thinking, maybe she just found out that she has to be in Paris for the Spring.
I remember discussing “what could possibly be the reason there are only two workers behind the counter at Christmas” when another worker comes out to announce “If there is anyone in line that is using a debit or credit card – meet me over at the do-it-yourself pay and ship machine” and she proceeded to help everyone that went that way. I wondered why she couldn’t do that behind the counter and move things along.
As soon as it was my turn I walked toward the counter the associate put up the sign “next counter, please” and I had to wait again. A new guy came in and was having problems with his register and / or scale so we were down to one employee working behind the counter. I promise you I was trying to be patient.
After all, what were these employees having to deal with?
- Angry and agitated holiday customers
- The threat of the possibility of losing your job in the near future
- Old or worn-out equipment
- People who forgot to send their packages early or just procrastinated
- People who didn’t bring the appropriate documentation for their passport and had to return a second time
- Overworked and understaffed because of cutbacks
To name a few. As I reflected on some of the reasons why all of this was going on around me, I tried to put myself in their place. How would I feel if I were in their shoes? Would I feel resentment, anger, anxiety? You betcha!
And suddenly, I felt sympathy. Then my friend leaned over to me and said, “My driver’s license has expired – I wonder what the DMV is like?” (enter deer-in-the-headlights look)
Photo Credit: TodayIFoundOut.com
Did you know that the first time the term “going postal” was used was in the St. Petersburg Times on December 17, 1993?In his article Violence at work tied to loss of esteem, Karl Vick stated; “The symposium was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which has seen so many outbursts that in some circles excessive stress is known as ‘going postal…”
Here is more on the origin of the term “going postal.”