Service at the Post Office

It’s interesting. A trip to the Post Office is always a good study in customer service and interpersonal interaction.

I was at the small local Post Office last Wednesday to mail a couple of envelopes of hair to the Locks of Love organization. My girls have been donating to this organization for many years.

As usual there was only one clerk working the line. The customer at the counter had an envelope and a stack of paper. She apparently had many to mail and wanted to know how much postage to purchase for each envelope. She set the envelope and papers on the scale and asked how much postage each envelope would need. The clerk tells the lady she needs to fold the paper before she can weigh it. The customer asked if folded paper weighs more than flat paper. Clerk answers “yes”. Customer looks at the clerk and decides not to push the case and folds the paper then buys her postage. All of us in line are just looking at each other over the clerks comment.

Next up is a man who sells on eBay. We see each other occasionally at the Post Office. He has Flat Rate Priority Mail envelopes already addressed with postage attached. He just wants the envelopes scanned into the system. Usually a five second task at best.

Our clerk picks up the first envelope and starts to weigh it. He asks what she is doing. “I’m checking to see if you have enough postage.” He points out it is a Flat Rate envelope. There is no additional postage. She says there is a weight limit. The man tells her the limit is 70 pounds. She says “I just need to check and make sure it doesn’t exceed the limit.” Apparently her picking up the envelope to put on the scale was not enough to tell her it was under 70 pounds. We all look at each other again. Then she repeats the process with the second envelope.

After mailing my envelopes I ran into the first lady in the lobby still folding and assembling her mail. I walked up to her and said “folded paper does not weigh more than flat paper.” She told me that is what she thought but did not want to start a scene and hold things up.

I recently closed my Post Office box after 15 years because the cost was too high and the service at our Post Office makes it almost impossible to pick up a package without spending 30-45 minutes in line. The next closest large Post Office is two towns over and it takes about the same amount of time to drive over there as it does to stand in line.

I shared the two stories above because I found them humorous on the surface. But underneath it is frustrating to be served by someone who is supposedly trained to help you but in reality knows less than you do about the very topic at hand.