2/25/13

I Am Sean's Complete Confusion . . .

The scene of my stupidity, turned angst, turned frustration.
Let me tell you all a little story about a boy named Sean. He's a nice enough fella'. He helps people in need. He volunteers. He's patient with those that need it. He frequently compliments people on their attire and general appearance. He once did something truly nice for someone when no one was watching and didn't tell the world of said heroism. But just once. All that is for another day.

Today's tale is not tied to the above character. Nay. Or, frankly if said the way I might . . . Neigh (long, drawn-out horse noise). Today's story is one of the other side of Sean . . . the part where he gets confused and sorta' rageful.

Let me set the scene . . . at about 2:50 PM CT, I pulled up to the blue box in the foreground of this photo. I had several Thank You notes to mail and, with the weather, I figured they would move faster if I dropped them at the Post Office vs. left them at my apartment for pick-up, etc. There were nine cards. SIX were addressed, return addressed, and stamped. The other three were not yet addressed, return addressed or stamped. I had the three that needed more on the envelopes pulled to the side but I erred and put them all in the box mistakenly.

NOTE - I am taking responsibility for the error on my part. Clearly MY BAD to drop them all in the box. I own that.

I pulled in to a parking spot. Walked inside and explained to the Very Nice Postal Worker (caps denote sarcasm) that I had made a mistake but that I noticed that, according to the signage, the box would be emptied in the next 30 minutes or so. I asked if my presumptions were correct. He concurred - the envelopes in that box were coming inside in the next few minutes. Okay. Good. I then asked what I thought was an easy question . . . do you think someone could pull the three envelopes, two orange, one red, with only names written upon them and hold them for me when I returned within the hour?

What was his response? Dead silence for about a minute. Tapping on a keyboard. Chin scratching. Then - a response. "Sure. For just $11 per envelope we can do that for you." I asked him, very calmly, to clarify. He said that for them to "intercept" the mail would cost $11/parcel. Standard procedure. I clarified there was NO address. NO return address. NO interception was possible since the mail could go nowhere without me being there. He shook his head, agreeably. Then said "Let me check here with the station manager. I'm not sure what we'd do in a situation like this."

Alright - now is where the characters on the screen would freeze (General Lee flying through the air) and the narrator would say "Now y'all think you know how this one's gonna' end, doncha'?" Cut to a commercial for Life cereal. I smiled, broadly, and said "Great." Then went back to mentally spooning my cereal.

He disappeared in to the back but I could actually hear him talking with the manager through the door of the office. The manager didn't understand. The employee tried to clarify. Got just about every detail of my problem wrong. The manager still didn't understand (admittedly, the way the guy told my story was super confusing even for me listening). The employee tried to tell the story again. Changed a few details. Fell flat. The manager mumbled. The guy returned. He said "We can happily help you with your challenge, sir. For just $11 per envelope."

And the General Lee crashes to the ground . . . both Luke boys deceased on contact. "May I please speak with the manager," I inquired. "I'm not sure if my issue is really understood. " (I said, politely, hoping to prevent the costs and tell the real story without accusing the guy of being a dullard.) "No. Sorry. He's really busy right now." I was told.

I went partially blind in that moment. I was overwhelmed with the sound of a massive storm of only-I-could-hear-them birds flocking overhead. The clinical environment of the lobby went crooked and blue. I exhaled, deeply. Inhaled, more deeply. Counted to four in my head (maybe out loud?). Repeated back "So, I have three envelopes out there. One of you is going to go get them in the next few minutes and carry them right in to this building. At which point you will not know where they came from or where they should go and, with no postage, no "revenue" for you to keep should you figure it out or not. So you'll take them and throw them away. And my notes will be lost. OR you could give them to me. I'll throw three stamps on them and address them right now and you can get your revenue for delivery."

"No," I was corrected. "We will take them and send them to a facility where we hold and store lost and mislabeled parcels. Or you could pay the fee for interception and we could give them to you." The birds returned only this time they were defecating on my head. And the blue light of the lobby went red like the rivers of the Old Testament.

"Okay. Great so you'll take them and ship them to some secret warehouse where they'll sit next to the Arc of the Covenant for all of time? All because I won't give you $33 to simply pull them to the side and let me come back in, within the hour, and get them from you?"

"Oh, no. He clarified. We can't give them to you. We'll take your information and we will deliver them back to your home. That is why the fee is charged. For our handling, packaging, and effort." Purple. The room was now a deep shade of purple.

"I bought a BOX of 50 Thank You notes and envelopes for just $10. That means they are $0.02/card and envelope. That's $0.06 in total cost. The postage for these three cards is just over a dollar. So I can save almost $32 by letting you send my Thank You notes to your warehouse. There is nothing "important" or "valuable" in those cards . . . despite appreciation (I thought a joke would lighten the mood and quiet the birds)." "Sorry, sir. I can't help you otherwise."

So I thanked him, genuinely (yeah - you thought I was going to SNAP and scream and yell and flip out . . . admit it) for helping me understand the policies and for the clarifications. I wished him a good day. I walked out. I got in my car. I drove to the box to take the above photo.

And as I was pulling away the employee who helped me was walking to the box - presumably to empty its contents including my Thank You notes destined for an eternity in deep storage.