Going to the Post Office around here is always an experience. I’m not going to add an adjective here, the word “experience” explains it pretty well. I live between two post offices, each about a mile away in distance. I tried the one that is a little closer (one subway stop walk away), down by Flushing on Debevoise St once. Never again. I stood in line for about an hour, while people kept pushing past me because they “only needed stamps”. Great. I “only needed to mail a letter abroad”, but that obviously didn’t mean anything.
So I tend to go to the one that is two subway stops away, on Gates and Broadway. The line is never too long, and the employees are really friendly. Which always surprises me a little, because every time I have been there there is always a customer causing unnecessary drama. Late last year I sold a load of clothes on eBay and was waiting in line to send a bunch of packages when a woman started screaming (yes, screaming) at a Post Office employee, because her social security card hadn’t arrived in her mailbox and because of that she had nowhere to stay that night. Within five minutes we had heard her whole life story twice, because she demanded to see a manager, and had to scream the whole story all over again. I don’t know if she thought that the manager was going to magic her social security card out of thin air, or miraculously create it for her, but I didn’t stick around to hear the end of the story. The screeching voice started to give me a headache. There was another time I was there and one guy held the line up for about 20 minutes because he needed to repack his package in a smaller box so that it was cheaper to send, but wouldn’t let anyone be served while he was repacking the stuff. Today someone started yelling at one of the employees because his package wasn’t there. For 15 minutes he bitched and raved about how everyone was so rude and had stolen his package, until he realised he was at the wrong post office. People really need to read things correctly before exploding into a tirade of expletives at some poor employee.
Which reminds me… What is this deal with the Priority Mail package boxes?! The “large” one is no bigger than a shoe box! One of my close friends lives in Brazil, and due to the insane import taxes slapped on to anything purchased outside of the country, she had a pair of boots sent to me, which I was then going to send on to her. I didn’t want to just send the Steve Madden box along with her address stuck on it (sure fire way for the package to disappear somewhere between here and Rio), so I grabbed a “large” box and repackaged the boots in it. When I got to the Post Office I was told that it would cost $60 as I had used a “large” box, but would only cost $40 if I used a “regular” box. There was no way the shoes were going to fit in a “regular” box (maybe they were made for sending a small book, because that’s all they will fit), so I had to just to sigh and go with it. And anyway, I didn’t want to be THAT person taking everything out of one box and shoving it in a smaller one, just to see that it would never fit. Smart way to make you pay more than you thought you were going to pay.
I asked the woman helping me if it would be possible to have a tracking number. Her response was that it wasn’t possible, because there was no reliable internet in the destination country. In BRAZIL?! I wasn’t sending the boots to someone in the middle of the rain forest in the Congo! I was sending them to an extremely large and well-known city called Rio de Janeiro. I didn’t say anything because she gave me a customs tracking number which is all I really needed anyway. But come on… No reliable internet in Brazil?! I honestly feel like the Post Office here is still stuck in the 80’s and is having a lot of trouble catching up with today’s world. But in the end I would rather still use them that FedEx or UPS, because they are cheaper (even with the inflated box prices and the little add-ons they convince you to get every time you go there to buy a stamp). Thankfully today’s experience only took about 20 minutes and I was able to get out of there before another person came in to shout abuse at the staff.
Oh… Has anybody tried using the machines that they finally have in some of the post offices (not in Bushwick yet, but I have seen them in some Manhattan locations)?! They are SO hard to use. Why on earth can’t you send multiple letters and packages without having to pay for each one separately?! Such a waste of time! I am so glad that nowadays I only have to go to the post office a few times a year…