Monday, July 16, 2007

Going Postal - A Boxful of Boobs

Sometimes people volunteer information when they are mailing stuff. Sometimes we are dumb enough to ask.

The other day, we had a customer come in to ship a plain brown cardboard box. But she wanted to insure it for $8,000. Now, we do not insure for more than $5,000 here at our contract unit (some kind of regulation or something). She was obviously from a medical office from the looks of the scrubs she was wearing. She said the box contained breast implants that needed to be insured.

We sent her to the main post office, because it was obvious that she should send these securely. Don't want a boxful of boobs to go missing......

Another regular customer is a very nice older man. Very nondescript, very nice. He regularly mails out "media mail". His packages are square and flat, sort of like calendars or photos. I assumed he was a photographer, judging by the types of packages he mailed. So I made the mistake of asking him. Just nice, polite conversation that you make with a 'regular'. "Are you a photographer?" He replied that yes, he took pictures. Then he proceeded to tell me that he was in the "bondage lifestyle and he takes pictures and write manuals... ". My co-worker B almost choked. I mean, it's just way too much info, if you know what I mean. What do you say after that? Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong it. To each his own. That's cool. No problems. But it just makes it a little weird for someone to announce themselves that way. I really do not want that information, ya know? And he will be forever known in our shop as the "spanker guy". It has taken awhile, but I can actually look him in the eye without thinking about it now. He's a really nice guy. But really? Some things are just left unsaid.

Today, I had to mail someone's cremated remains. Certified mail, of course.

I imagine there is quite a lot of interesting things that pass through our office that I don't know about, nor do I want to know.

Damn, I love the Phillies!

When I was a little girl, I was crazy for the Phillies. There was no bigger treat than a trip to Veteran's Stadium with my dad to see a game. When I was 13, we spent the summer at my grandmother's house in central PA and I couldn't get good radio reception for the games. My dad somehow attached a radio to the roof antenna so I could get minimal reception. I would sit by that radio and try to listen through all the static. I would make a daily walk to the only store in town that carried the Philadelphia Inquirer to check the box scores.

I remember the year that pitcher Steve Carlton won 27 games. That was almost half the total games the team won that year! One of my most prized possessions is a scrap of paper with the autographs of Steve Carlton, Greg Luzinski, and Larry Bowa. My dad worked at the airport and saw the team when they were traveling.

Yesterday, I watched them lose their 10,000th game on ESPN. Living in Texas, it is always a rare treat to catch a Phillies game on tv. Not only do I love the Phillies, but I love the brutally honest Philly fans (of any sport). Yes, they are obnoxious sometimes, but look at the teams they support. And they do support them through the good and the bad. Well, mostly the bad. It's very rare to have a winner in Philadelphia! And seeing the fans on ESPN last night with signs celebrating 10,000 losses made me smile.

It is a great thing to Celebrate 10,000! (I'm going to get me one of those tshirts!)

My favorite morning radio show, from WMMR in Philadelphia, dumped 10,000 marbles down the art museum steps in celebration (thanks for the podcasts Preston and Steve). Thanks to the internet, I feel like Philly isn't really that far away!

I do love them Phillies!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Bag Lady

Paper or plastic? Actually.... neither. I have my own bags, thank you very much. Yes, I'm one of those people that carry canvas bags to the supermarket. My son (who is a bagger at our local market) calls me one of those 'hippie freaks'. But I am not a tree hugger. I have been recycling for over 20 years. It really is a simple thing, once you get used to it. Where I live now, we have curbside recycling. Which is okay.... but it has actually cut down on my recycling.

When I lived in upstate New York, we had to pay for trash pickup. Jim and I were living in our first home. Money was tight. He had a pickup truck. The dump was about ten miles away. It was just logical that we would haul our own trash to the dump. Our dump had a great recycling center. We recycled newspaper, plastic, aluminium, tin, glass, styrofoam, junk mail, plastic, cardboard..... And the more you recycled, the less you paid to dump your trash. I had an entire recycling center in my basement. I recycled everything possible.

Then we moved to Florida in 1994. Curbside recycling. Awesome! They gave us a little plastic container. What the heck? Oh, wait a minute. I can only recycle plastic, aluminum, and newspaper? That's it? Oh well.... And Texas is the same way. Oh sure, I could go find a recycling center, but I don't. I recycle everything that is picked up at the curb. But we don't have a truck, I don't have a basement, and so that's it.

About those grocery bags.... I do recycle plastic grocery bags. I would stockpile them and then drop them off in the bin provided at the store. When I would remember them. And they make great pooper scooper bags when you walk your dogs, too. But I really do hate those plastic bags.... It is such an obvious waste. So when our supermarket starting offering these nice big canvas bags for sale, I bought one. Each week, I would add another. Now I have five. Enough for a grocery order. And I love them mostly because they are sturdier than the plastic bags, so I can pack more groceries into them. And I can sling them over my shoulder and carry the stuff into the house when no one is around to help.... and I don't have all those plastic bags accumulating. So it's a win-win situation, right?

I do worry about the environment. I try to do my part, but I'm certainly not about the give up my air conditioning, and I don't want the government to start regulating stuff which is going to cost lots of $$$s to people who can't afford it (including me). But I do little things... and I'm doing more of them. Now, if only manufacturers would go back to cardboard boxes instead of those awful plastic shells that everything you buy is packaged in!! Puhleeze..... they are a pain to open, and I can only imagine the mountains of plastic in landfills from packaging.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Going Postal - No Free Tape!

Dear Ms. L,

I am sorry that you left our store angry today. You came to the drive through with two boxes, both "Flat Rate Priority" boxes. All taped up and addressed and ready to go. The problem was, one of them was going to Germany. That flat rate box would have cost you $37 to mail. "Flat rate" means the price is always the same for that box, no matter the weight (which is a bargain for heavy stuff. For things under 3 pounds, not so much). When I put it on the scale, I saw that you could ship it first class international for only $18. I am sorry that I pointed that out to you. I am sorry that you then had to buy a plain brown box from us for 1.49. And when I told you that it was going to cost you another dollar to tape it up, I am sorry that it upset you. "You mean I have to pay for tape? I've never done that before!" Well, I don't know where you get your tape, but I can give you the name of our supplier and show you the invoices. It doesn't magically appear in our drawer. And I am sorry that you had to take ten minutes to repack your stuff in the box AND fill out the customs form required for international packages. I am very sorry that the three cars who were waiting behind you got tired and left, and missed getting served. To answer your question, "Yes, it was a very bad day". There were six people waiting for counter service inside the door, and only two of us working. So you can see, the extra work that was required to serve you, as well as waiting for you to fill out the paperwork and complain about the service, took me away from helping other people in the store.

I should have just put that box on the scale, hit postal meter, and charged you $37. Instead, you paid $18 for postage and $2.61 for the box and tape. And you also prevented the cars behind you from being served.

So I am sorry. Next time, I won't try to save you money. If paying $1 to tape your box is too much money, then pay the friggin' $37 to mail it as is. I hope that you'll accept my apology because it will be our pleasure to serve you again (without the drive-thru divas like yourself what would I write about on my blog?)

Yours truly,

Your friendly neighborhood contract postal unit worker

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Heading back East

It has been 13 years since I set foot in the northeast. But I am heading back to Philly for my niece's wedding at the end of the month. I am excited and nervous. I am flying by myself, renting a car, and heading into central Pennsylvania. It's been so many years since I made that trip. I wonder if I'll get lost?

Since I've been in Texas, I really haven't missed the northeast. But for the past year, I have been feeling nostalgic about it. I would love to go to the Jersey shore. Not on this short trip though. There are so many people I'd love to see, but I won't have time. Why have I stayed away so long?

I am really excited about going up into central PA though. I've been doing so much work on my family history, and it will be great to be in the coal region again. I wish I had time to do some digging into historical records while I'm there. But I only have four days. I really have to plan a longer trip one of these days.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Going Postal - Those Damn Cell Phones!

We have signs all over our shop asking people to please turn off the cell phones. There is a reason for this. It's just plain rude to carry on a conversation while we are trying to provide service.

Twice in one week I was given the finger trying to wait on a drive thru customer. No, not that finger. The one where someone raises their hand in the international "Wait a minute" signal. Why would someone in the drive thru ask me to wait a minute when I try to wait on them? Because they are busy yakking on their cell phone!! The first time, I walked straight past Mr. "I have to finish this call" and went to the next car. He got more than a minute to finish his call, believe me. The second time, I simply closed the door and waited on three customers in line inside before I turned back to the rude beyotch who had to finish her "oh so important" phone call.

Don't even ask me how tempted I was to give them a different finger right back at them.....

The absolute rudest and most repulsive cell phone abuser yet? My boss was waiting on a customer. She had taken the credit card, run it through the scanner, returned with the receipt. In the meantime, customer got a call from her friggin' gardener on her cell phone. My boss placed the credit card, the receipt, and a pen on the counter in front of her to sign. The customer (still talking to Jose the gardener) starts waving a hand at my boss. What the hell? Finally, customer reaches across the counter, GRABS my boss's hand, and places it on top of her receipt to hold it still so she can sign it without removing her other hand from her cell phone!!!! Can you even imagine the nerve???

Here's a clue for all you people that can't stop talking on your phone while someone is waiting on you: Feel free to keep talking on your phone as long as you like. Don't mind us if we wait on the other customers who are ready for us. You can wait. We won't.

Seriously people, get a clue.