Going Postal (la reprise)

The post office in my neighborhood is utterly worthless.

Really …

First off, they have only three windows open at 3:45 pm on a Friday, of which only one deals with actual postal business. The others deal with money orders and … wait for it … phone service. Since when does a post office need to be in the telecommunications business?! Anyway, I wait in this kilometer-long line for almost 20 minutes to talk to the one guy at the post office who sells all of their envelopes:

Me: “Hello. I need some 16 cm x 11 cm postage-paid envelopes.”
Post Office Guy: “How many?”
Me: “Two.”
Post Office Guy: “I only sell them in packs of ten.”
Me: “Oh.”
Post Office Guy: “They sell them at Super U [the neighborhood grocery store]. You can buy blank ones there …”
Me: “… and get stamps at the machine over there?”
Post Office Guy: “Yes.”
Me: “Okay. By the way, I’ve never seen a 16 x 11 envelope here. Does that even exist?”
Post Office Guy: “Oh yes.” (fumbling around in his drawer) “Like this …”

He holds up a 22 cm x 16 cm envelope.

Me (doubtfully): “That’s 16 x 11?”
Post Office Guy (with scientific confidence): “Yes.”

To visually demonstrate the difference: The envelope at the top is what Post Office Guy told me was 16 x 11. (It's actually 22  x 16.) The middle envelope is what we Americans think of as standard envelopes (here, about 22 x 11). The envelope at the bottom is what I asked for (16 x 11). Not quite what you see at top, huh?
To visually demonstrate the difference: The envelope at the top is what Post Office Guy told me was 16 x 11. (It’s actually 22 x 16.) The middle envelope is what we Americans think of as a standard envelope. (Here, it’s about 22 x 11.) The envelope at the bottom is what I asked Post Office Guy for. Not quite what you see at top, is it?

Me: “Okay. Thank you, sir. Have a good day.”

I mean, after all, who am I to question the guy who’s responsible for selling all the envelopes at the post office?

So, I make my way back through the crowd to the stamp machine and select two 0.58€ stamps, drop in my 2€ piece, get my stamps and my receipt, and wait for my change …

… and wait for my change …

… and wait for my change …

I look over at the guy at the welcome desk right beside me, and before I could even open my mouth:

Post Office Guy #2: “It didn’t give you your change?”
Me: “No.”
Post Office Guy #2: “You have to take your receipt to third window.”

The third window … the one where’d just spent 20 minutes in line to get envelopes … um … I mean, to not get my envelopes. I looked down at my receipt and, sure enough, it was actually some sort of claim ticket for 0.84€.

I looked at the line …

I looked at my claim ticket.

I looked at the line.

Laisse tomber.”

I walked out without my change and headed straight to Super U to get my envelopes which, as I already kinda knew, were not the size Post Office Guy said they were. Maybe I’ll go back to the post office tomorrow or Monday to get my 0.84€. Or maybe not. I’m not sure 84 cents is worth the effort.

In any case, I now have my stamps and my envelopes and — despite the post office’s best efforts — they’re the right size.

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© 2013 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

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