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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Post Office Panic!

I just had to tell whoever reads this about 1 thing in my life that makes me literally panic.

Like the thoughtful person I am, I decided to throw my friend a baby shower. Every first time mom deserves to be showered with cute baby items as they anticipate the coming of their bundle of perfection, right? So off I go to the Hallmark store to find some invitations that of course match the theme of their nursery. I fill them out, address them all, put stamps on them, and suddenly I feel this tight pain in my chest. As I begin to perspire, I realize what my next step is......the post office.

Now, normally, most people wouldn't think twice about going to send out a few letters. However...how many of you have been to the post office in Newton? Going to the post office in Newton is one of the most dreadful events a person can experience. I have never had a pleasurable post office trip for 3 main reasons.

First, the traffic around the post office is horrid. I don't know why people don't understand that the intersection between the post office and magnum isn't a 4 way stop. There are cars coming from all directions some stop at the stop signs while others don't. Others don't stop at the stop signs while others stop when there is no stop sign. Some even stop to wave people through the stop sign. This is not because they are trying to be generous. It is because they don't understand the simple concept of a 2 way stop. It's like the intersection is a puzzle that people just can't figure out. Perhaps someone needs to contact the city about this conundrum.

Second, there is always a line as long as the Nile at the post office. I'm a patient person, after all, I teach kids with special needs. However, when placed in an unnerving situation like being at the post office, waiting in line can bring out the worst in a person. Standing there, knowing what is to come is so nerve-racking that you stand there, constantly glancing back at the door you entered, only to see a sign that reads "entrance only". The only way out, is to summon up your courage and go through the line.

Finally, the third reason why I despise the post office is the customer "service". Notice I used quotes around the word service. Why? Well, let's see. Encarta dictionary defines the word sevice as, "meeting of the public need". I am a very sensitive person and live to please, so when I go out into the community I always use the magic words of please and thank you and have a nice day. I understand that sometimes you just are not happy to be at work "serving" the public all day so I like to let people know they are appreciated. Do the workers at the post office deserve to be appreciated? No! Sure, they serve my postal needs, but do nothing for my emotional well-being!

Let me enlighten you on how a place such as the post office can cause such distress. I have never been in a public place where I have been treated so poorly. It's always the same. You're next in line, rocking from foot to foot trying to figure a way out of this situation hoping to get the nicer of the two workers. With a crash of lightening, Don, calls out in his ill-tempered voice, "can I help you?" The way he speaks makes you wonder if you can even approach his window without being shot down. You must proceed though, as there are others waiting in line behind you. With a deep breath, I ask for a book of stamps. Without a word or choice of stamps, he slides them across the counter and gives me my total. As I fumble with a baby, my credit card and the stamps that he so kindly handed me, he drums his fingers on the counter. My anxiety is climbing with each finger tap and the higher it gets, the more fidgety I get. I sign for my purchase and hold out my hand to obtain my credit card back. Instead of kindly handing me my card, he flings my credit card back across the counter so that it falls to the floor. I look at my empty hand with disbelief and while holding a baby, bend down to pick up my card, giving those in line a view of my not so good side. I quickly throw my receipt and card in my purse and scurry out the exit door, calling out a "thank you...have a good day" over my shoulder. Before I even get the friendly closure out, he is monotonously saying, "can I help you" to the next customer. As I drive away I silently pray that I will never need stamps again. Still recovering from my horrid encounter, I decide to take the back way home, in all attempt to avoid the ever so perplexing intersection.

Before you all think, well this man must have been having a bad day. Stop! I have had this experience numerous times. Each trip to the post office I have high hopes that I'll get a smile and a your welcome. I have come to the conclusion that it will never happen. Well...until the day Don decides he has had enough with "serving" the public. On the bright side, the baby shower invitations are sent out and the mother-to-be will soon be cascaded with adorable baby gifts!

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