Monday, August 29, 2005

Going postal

Just after my run-in with the idiot receptionist, I had another run-in that pissed me off a whole lot more. On my way home I stopped by the downtown post office to mail some CDs I'd sold on half.com. Here's a transcript of the incident:

Postal clerk: Help you?

Me: I'd like to mail these three packages through media mail and this one through first class mail.

Postal clerk: (holding up the first package) "What's in this?"

Me: "A CD."

Postal clerk: "OK, that's covered under media mail. I wanted to check because it's so light. If we don't know what it is we'll open it."

Me: (thinking) Huh?

The postal clerk proceeds to weigh the first package and affix it with a mailing label. The price is something like $1.80. She continues for the next two packages. As she's weighing the third package, I notice a message flash past on the screen in front of me that says something about upgrading to a better service for a lower price. Because she was moving through her process quickly, though it disappeared before I could read it.

Me: "I'm sorry, what was this saying about sending for a cheaper rate?"

Postal clerk: "First class mail would be $1.06."

Me: "So I could actually pay less and they'd get there faster?"

Postal clerk: "Yes, first class is usually faster."

Me: "Oh, then can I send these first class instead?"

Postal clerk: "You could have, but you said media mail."

Now, I understand that'd she'd already printed and affixed the stickers, but that was the wrong answer. Nevertheless, I kept my cool.

Me: "Why didn't you tell me, then, that first class would have less?"

Postal clerk: "Because you insisted on media mail."

Me: "I didn't insist on anything. I..."

Postal clerk: "When I axed you how you wanted to send these, you said 'media mail'."

Check the transcript, folks. She didn't axe me that. In fact, she didn't even ask me.

Me: "Yes, I understand that I said I wanted media mail. I'm just asking why, if there was a different service that was cheaper and faster, that you didn't mention it to me."

Postal clerk: "Because you said you wanted media mail. And I axed you what was in this because it was so light. And you said it was a CD, so that's covered under media mail."

Me: "Yes, that is absolutely correct. I'm not questioning anything you said or anything I said. I'm asking why you saw it on the screen in front of you, but you didn't suggest first class mail if it was faster and cheaper."

Postal clerk: "You said you wanted media mail. We have that screen right there so you can see what the other rates are."

Me: (thinking) No fucking shit! That's why I'm asking you about it in the first place!

So far, I had been firm, but I had not yet lost my patience. Now though, I was indignant.

Me: "I would like to send these first class instead of media mail."

With a scowl, the postal clerk ripped the labels off the three media mail packages and printed out new labels for first class mail.

Postal clerk: "Stamps or anything else?"

I hope the people I'm sending the packages to actually get their mail. Considering that woman's attitude, she might have just thrown them in the trash after I left.

Obviously there are people who do their job and just don't give a damn, and there are people who do their job and make that tiny little extra effort for the customer's sake. But if you're one of the former, and a customer asks you for some help, there's no need to be a bitch about it.

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