I would like to take this day behind the barn and dispatch with it swiftly. I had to go to the post office. TWO post offices (posts office?), in fact. The first one was to pick up a package.
See, what had happened was I wasn’t wearing pants and I was on the phone with my bank. As one does. I couldn’t get to the door in time and didn’t get my package. My lovely postman rang several times because he’s obviously been there before and knows I’m often wiping Nutella off my face before I answer the door. Now, my friend Desi was a bit stumped at this because don’t all Southern ladies have bathrobes? Well, yeah, I reckon. But that never occurred to me, honestly. Probably because my bank was calling to verify two very legitimate charges, which I appreciated since last year I had THREE different debit cards due to security breeches. Note to self, find another bank. Anyway, I was so stunned that they were actually like monitoring stuff that all I could do was kind of freeze in place, my phone in one hand, and my precious cargo being loaded back up and taken away.
Taken away to the depths of the Mendenhall Post Office. Where it could not be found. So. That should have been a sign, BUT OH NO! Did I heed said sign? No. No, I did not. For I am an idiot of the highest caliber. For various reasons, I needed a mailbox. So I’d gotten one online at a post office location that I preferred. I printed out everything the site told me, got all my ID (strangely, no one accepts one’s belly button as proof of birth), and trekked to Southern Avenue. BIG mistake. Let me just cut to the chase. By the time I got back in my car, I had no post office box and I was in tears.
By Billy Hathorn (National Portrait Gallery, public domain.) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Me. IN TEARS.
This is why EVERYTHING at the post office should be done by machines. Machines do not tell you things like it does not have to do what the website says. Machines do not tell you, “Y’all just don’t know. Y’all don’t know how to fill out a form. Y’all can’t come in here with stuff ain’t doing you no good.” This woman was the most heinous individual I have ever encountered, and I once got stuck in a KKK rally in Brandon, Mississippi. Truth. So I went and finished my errands, got home, canceled my mailbox online, and wrote a complaint that was, as my friend Dean says, pointed yet poignant. I know USPS doesn’t care. I know nothing will be said to this woman, and even if it were, it wouldn’t matter. Some people are just toxic.
Over the years, I interviewed many people for many jobs, most of which dealt with the public in some form. There are a few guidelines I had when interviewing candidates.
- Did the person smile? You honestly have NO IDEA how many people go into an interview for a customer service job and never smile. WHY would I want you as the face of my business? FAKE IT! If you aren’t looking at me like I’m Gary Collins and you’re Miss Alabama, this ain’t working.
- “The customer is always right” is a phrase that will NEVER get you hired. One, the customer is rarely right. Two, it doesn’t matter. Three, put a little elbow into your answers. Don’t give me trite crap I know isn’t true. Such as
- “I’m a people person.” Here’s who says that. People who hate people. I’m a people person. Never said I like people. Now, unless you truly are like Frankenstein’s monster and are MADE OF PEOPLE, leave that shit at home.
- “I love helping people.” Go work for Red Cross. We’re here to make money. People who say they love helping people are the ones who get busted shoveling extra bras into their friends’ shopping bags.
- “I’d just love to play in clothes/shoes/makeup/tablecloths/small appliances all day.” This ain’t Ronald’s playground. I’m paying you to work. If you happen to like it, great, but it’s NOT play. Unless you are telling me that you play the tuba in your spare time (which you fully understand will be nonexistent if you take this job), “play” should not be used in an interview.
- A customer service job is not the place to take out your revenge on the world. The customer is not your enemy, no matter what you may feel, think, and what your loss prevention manager tells you. If you’re telling me nothing but horror stories about service, I’m going to start to think YOU’RE the problem.
- A smooth transaction can change a person’s day. This is the honest to God truth. You can be having the worst day ever. Run in your hose. Zayn left One Direction. There’s a black fly in your chardonnay. But one joke from the woman at Freds about how those select-a-size towels probably have a Napoleon complex, and it looks a lot better.
- A terrible transaction can change a person’s day. This is the honest to God truth. You can be having the best day ever. You don’t have to wear pants. Black Sabbath decide to play your favorite neighborhood bar. Someone gives you something besides chardonnay. But one “I don’t have to do ANYTHING the website says,” and you are suspended between hopelessness and rage to the extant you both clutch your pearls AND say screw everything, go to Taco Bell, and binge on Netflix and remorse the rest of the day. Because
- PEOPLE SUCK. We all suck. We’re all egotistical, shallow, self-aggrandizing assholes. You know why Ghandi was a pacifist? He never had to stand on line at the DMV. He never had a toddler who decided to eat nothing but Gummi Bears for two weeks straight only to suddenly THROW A FIT AND FALL INTO IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WINN-DIXIE because HOW DARE YOU??? Did you not intuit that three seconds ago your toddler decided to HATE Gummi Bears and now only wants hot dogs with ketchup, in a bun, but the crust taken off, served on the YELLOW PLATE while you sing “The Bing Bong Song” from Peppa Pig???!!!
I know there isn’t anything nearly as trite as complaining about a government agency, but cliches are cliches because they’ve happened enough to be cliche. People with absolutely no power anywhere else in life will always try to create a superpower at work. When there are no consequences for actions, people do what we do. We act like jerks. I did cancel my order, I did write a complaint, and I know that nothing will change because I am the only one in this situation who was inconvenienced. No one else has a stake. It’s the post office, where else am I going to go? So I go get a mail drop. Still the USPS. What the woman wanted, she got. She wanted to tell someone no. She wanted to know–or act as if she knew–more than someone else because she has absolutely no power. People who throw fits and fall in them are no different from that toddler. And when we do that, we’re telling the other person, “YOU are responsible for my behavior,” rather than taking responsibility ourselves. Unfortunately, this woman today exercised her no-power with me. I don’t show emotion with this kind of deal. I don’t get loud. In fact, I get like Alec Baldwin quiet. I speak very distinctly. I ask how we’re going to fix this. Most of the time, it works and we all move on. Today? Not so much. Not only did we not fix the problem, she didn’t get to see me get upset. So we both lost.
Also? That package was missing two items.
In short, I hate everything. But you knew that.