Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fun at the Post Office

I recently read that the US Postal Service is working with businesses to increase junk mailings as a way to boost the bottom line.  I don't claim to know all the problems at the USPS or how to solve them.  But last week I gained a little insight.

I don't often make trips to the post office.  I would rather put on a bikini and stroll through the supermarket than stand in line anywhere.  Especially the post office.  I have never seen anyone there appear to be in anything resembling a hurry.  I move faster when I roll out of bed in the morning and shuffle to the bathroom.  But last week I had no choice.

I took my envelope inside and waited in line.  And waited.  And waited.  When the clerk finally decided to acknowledge me, I stated that I wanted to mail the item first class with insurance.  Without looking up she asked, "Anything LiquidFragileHazardous...", to which I replied, "No".  She then looked up at the standard sized envelope I was holding and looked at me with suspicion.  Seems I had some 'splainin' to do. "Nothing hazardous,' I said, "just a gift card.  I also need $50 insurance."

For a moment she didn't seem to know how to respond.  To me it seemed the obvious response would be, "Sure, that will be an extra $1.85". Maybe it's rare for someone to insure items in a standard envelope.  Maybe she was certain I was trying to perpetrate a fraud on the USPS for the princely sum of fifty dollars.  All I know is the woman didn't want to sell me insurance.

"Do you have a receipt for the gift card?"

"Nooooo..."  I said, finding it difficult to form the word with my jaw on the floor.  "I need a receipt???"  I've been around quite a while and insured many packages.  This was news to me.

"Yes.  Otherwise you could tell us it was worth any amount."

Yes.  I could also present you with a receipt for a gift card I've already used.  What does that prove?

She seemed to search for another excuse.  "Some companies will refund the money if the gift card is lost."  Okaaaaay...

"I guess I'll have to come back later with my receipt", I told her, all the while thinking,  I wonder what FedEx would charge to send this? 

A few days later I had an additional piece of mail to send to the same addressee.  I packaged them both in a slightly larger envelope and went to do my time stand in line at the same post office.  I took my young granddaughter with me.  Maybe I'd look more respectable and less like a scam artist if I had a cute little one in tow.

"May I help you?"  Crap!  It was the same woman!

I had my receipt with me, along with the packaging from the gift card that read "Gift cards cannot be replaced if lost or stolen" as "proof" that I was legitimately trying to purchase insurance.  You know, just in case.  But I already knew I wasn't giving them a penny more than absolutely necessary to get my envelope from point A to point B.  This time I had no plans to pay for insurance.  I was ready to take my chances.

"I'd like to send this first class", I said.

"Would you like to buy insurance?"

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I don't blame you for being irked. If you're willing to pay additional money for insurance, they should accept it. I've insured packages before and they never looked inside the box to make sure the content value is what I said it was, so how is this different from taking your word on what's in the envelope? Strange! And when you came in the 2nd time with a larger envelope, then there was no problem! Frustrating! :)