I use the Post Office quite a bit. I like it because it’s cheaper than FedEx or UPS, and when I want to send a package across the country to my dad, or ship out one of my comic books (Where the Witches Lurk, buy it here!), the USPS is right there waiting to answer my questions.
But the line is long. Usually (at the nearest Post Office on Wilcox) the line is ten people deep, sometimes longer. The people in line look behind the counter at the sweaty, sometimes overweight folks, and wonder why they lumber along at a snail’s pace. But I don’t mind the wait. The Post Office is a great place to people watch, and research how people react under stress and impatience. Also, at the Wilcox station there’s this adorable short old woman, I can’t remember her name, but she’s delightful, helpful, and very direct about the information you need to get your package where it needs to go.
Yesterday, a woman in front of me called her boss to let her know she’d be late seeing as she “didn’t expect the line to be this long when the post office opened.” First of all, welcome to the Post Office. Secondly, she turns to me and says, “What do they only have one person working? They need to learn how to run this place.” Sure lady, sure. Because their top item on the “how to run the Post Office” memo is “keep the lines long and the customers unhappy.”
Now, I’m not going to go into the budget history of the USPS or the problems they’ve incurred over the years. Instead I want to offer just my thanks for the USPS services over the years. I moved across the country in 2004, and every two months or so my dad sends me a care package of some supplies, books, and things I might like from home (and usually Dunkin Donuts coffee, being that there is no Dunkin Donuts shop in sight out west…until 2015). These packages arrive in a timely manner, safely, and right at my doorstep.
I personally haven’t experienced an issue with the USPS over the years, other than extended waits at the Post Office. I think that if you’re going to go to places like the Post Office or the DMV you should go in planning to wait a while. We hear enough jokes, see enough Facebook posts about the wait, why not just plan better and show up early? If you’re in a hurry, then wake up sooner. But don’t take it out on them, or me while I’m standing next to you in line.
Bring a book.
My good friend Dan would say, “If you’re not early, you’re late.” Adhere to it.
And hey, let’s cut a little slack to the USPS and the Post Office employees. Most of us have had service industry jobs, we all know what it’s like. Let’s gain just a bit of perspective now and again. Perspective is an incredible asset to take on when approaching a problem or a conflict, so let’s use it when and while we can.