Jul 2, 2014

The Post Office

Yes, it's a great book by Charles Bukowski, but that's not what this story is about. It's a short tale of a girl and her overnight mail, in a land far, far away called Hoboken, New Jersey. It's a tale of one of those "things that make you go hmmm..." (Anyone remember that song? Anyone?) 

Anyway, I had to overnight a letter for Sir Richard. So I did this. The post lady asked if I wanted a signature required; I told her I did not. As far as post office visits go, this one was pretty painless. It's still incredibly confusing trying to figure out exactly which Express envelope to use, but hey, no trip to the post office is without some sort of issue. (For all of you Express mailers, the hard envelope is $3 more than the soft envelope, though there is no indication anywhere of this difference.)

I tracked the letter yesterday to make sure it had gotten to Rich's landlord on time. Lo and behold—not so much. They didn't leave it because no one was there to sign. Even though that's the opposite of the situation we all had agreed to. I called customer service this morning and the gentleman on the phone let me know that this situation was ridiculous. His word, not mine. Actually, he was way more upset about the situation than I. He gave me the number of the local post office. 

Next phone call. The post master tells me, yep, it was their bad and it would be delivered today. I asked about a refund since it wasn't so much overnight delivery, she said to go to my local office. And so I ventured on down to my post office. 

There was no line when I entered. 

"It can't be this easy," I thought. Alas, it wouldn't be. 

I tell the post lady my story.

"You have to go around the corner to the customer service window," she said. 

Ok. Sure. So I walk around the corner to the only window. Its blinds are drawn, which in and of itself, made me pause for a moment. Above the window was a sign that read, "Passports." Every piece of additional signage around the window also gave information on passport requirements. 

"Clearly, I'm in the wrong place," I thought, logic leading me to believe this was where passport things took place. So I meander back over the first window. Now there's a line. So I wait and get the same post lady as the first time.

"There's no one over there," I told her.

"Did you ring the bell?" 

"At the passport window? Is that what we're talking about?" I asked, still a bit perplexed at the blind situation. What's going on back there that they don't want us to see?


I meander on back over to the passport/secret customer service window and ring the bell. Up go the blinds and I meet the next post lady. I tell her my story. She said she'd look into it and walked away. At the same time, a man popped out a side door, looks at me, says, "Hi!"

"Hello!" He seemed excited, so I returned his enthusiasm.

"Are you being helped?"


"Are you the girl with the Express mail?"

How did he know? Where did he come from? What's happening? I went with, "Yes."

Enter the post master. Master of all things postal. He swings around to the secret customer service window and tells me that he has to make sure the item was deliverable.

"Paramus already said it was their fault. They had a new carrier and apparently he was confused," I told him.

"Oh they said that?" He was surprised. "I have to check with them."

There's now a line behind me and two postal people working on whether or not the letter should have been delivered. I continue to text a friend and laugh at how my phone refuses to use the word "dull" and will only send the word "full." The post lady comes back with a form and sends me in search of a table with a functional pen to fill out said form. A mail carrier actually laughed when he saw me trying to find a pen.

"Good luck!" he laughed and left the building. 

Eventually I find that the third table has a pen and all of the required bits to make it work. I fill out said form and head back to the window. The post lady tells me she can no longer help me; I have to wait for the post master. Alrighty. I wait. 

After a few minutes the post lady motions me back over. At this point, I question our relationship. She tells me to stay, then go, but wait, come back. My emotions are not to be toyed with post lady! She takes my form and tells me to follow her around back to the front window. And so, I head back to the first line.

The first lady rings her bell to let me know she's open. I tell her that I'm meeting the other lady up here. She sends me back to the line. When the secret customer service lady emerges, she tells me to go back to the first lady, who just sent me back to the line.

I stand there for a few minutes as four people behind the window consult on the paper I had handed over. When the post lady comes back she asks if I have change for a $20.

"What? Can't I just get the credit put back on the card I charged it with?" I asked, once again misplacing logic. 

"No. So you don't have change?"


But then she took out exact change and paid me my refund in cash. Well, hell.

All's well that ends well, I suppose. Happy mailings. 

1 comment:

susanne said...

Bwa Haaa! My thoughts exactly about the super secret service window. The post master is a doll though.