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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Going Postal

We have major post office issues here in NOLA. Major. Like, it would usually be faster to hand deliver all my mail by holding the envelope in my teeth as I crab-walked backwards to the destination.
Case in point #1: Our mailman comes at 6:30 pm, if at all. If we don't have outgoing mail (we usually don't), he skips our box until our mail piled up to the point of causing him discomfort, at which point he unceremoniously dumps it on our welcome mat. His late hours have caused all kinds of dark-night panic when I momentarily thought the clanging mailbox was someone breaking in.
Case in point #2: Once upon a time a certain engaged girl stood in line for FORTY MINUTES to purchase stamps for her invitations, only to be told at the counter that the post office was out of first class stamps. But she could buy a combination of four stamps, one of which had a picture of a bulldozer on it, that equaled first class postage. I am not naming the girl to protect her because she may have expressed her annoyance rather strongly.
The post office near my house is so bad that I have started going to great lengths to avoid it. After waiting over 30 minutes in line last time, I vowed not to return, and the next time I needed to mail a package I walked to the post office on nearby Loyola University's campus. Fail. They were randomly closed for "processing" (aka smoke break?). I tried again the next day, this time driving. Forget it. No parking for miles. Silly me, it was the first day of class - you know, when people still care about going to class. Today I decided to visit a post office out of the way from my house, but nearish to work. The line seemed short - 5 people - and I decided to wait.
First person in line: "Didn't you used to have glasses?" Postal worker: "Yes, but I got Lasik!" A long conversation was not finished by the time I left.
Second person in line: Presents a china merry-go-round with moving parts plopped in an open priority mail box. "You can tape this," she demands. The postal worker explains that the item will break if not wrapped in bubble wrap. The customer stands in line grilling the employee about how much the bubble wrap costs, can she get it for free, etc. She demands tape and commences to package her item at the counter.
Third person in line: Long conversation in broken English about a package from Romania. Postal worker glares and informs him that it was returned to customs on the 23rd because they had held it for over a week. "Told me month! Month!" the man insists. Upon conferring with a manual, the employee realizes she should indeed have held the package for a month, but she shrugs and pretends she can't understand the customer.
Second person in line again: "How much this wrap is? You can price it for me? You can give me a little piece?"
Fourth person in line: "I need to return this television. It's postage paid." Employee: "You have to tape the box up." Customer looks confused. "I ain't got no tape!" Employee: "Well, I can't mail it like this." "Well I can't buy no tape! It's postage paid! I'm not paying for tape!" Employee: "Look, there is no way I can send this. There's tape over there for sale."
Fifth person in line: "These idiots need to show up with some tape, what the hell!"
Fourth person in line again: "Let me have your tape." Employee: "I don't have any". "Yes you do!" cries the customer, pointing to merry-go-round lady, who is taping up a storm with postal tape. "Well, that's the only tape I've got," shrugs the employee, "And she's got it, so no, I don't have any tape."
Fifth person in line: "Gosh I waited in line for twenty minutes, all for these stupid problems! All I want to do is send this with delivery confirmation! I had to open the envelope back up once I sealed it. You got some tape?"

Yes, I did manage to finally mail my boxes. But I think from now on I'm going to have to add a "handling" surcharge to my Ebay auctions. I need some compensation for standing in that line!


  1. oh honey! i know. mine is the same way. we have outgoing mail sometimes and he STILL doesn't come up to the door to get it!

  2. Haha! When I used to live on Prytania, I routinely failed to receive anything of value that had been mailed to me- like internet purchases, gifts, netflix dvd's, etc... I'm convinced that my strange, twitchy postman was stealing my stuff!

  3. Oh my gosh, I laughed out loud multiple times when reading this post!! Seriously hilarious. I can totally relate. I swear the post office attracts the crazies or something!!! So bizarre...

    Our mail comes late - but not THAT late. It comes at 4:30 which is late for around here... I grew up in a house where our mail came at like 9:15. It was glorious!!!

  4. Add a PITA (pain-in-the-ass)charge. When I was in construction, occasionally I'd add one to certain bids because a few of my customers were just that bad.

    I want to come to your post office for a few days. I need some comic relief