A Positive Experience at the Post Office
December 11, 2013 4 Comments
The United States Postal Service has had a rough time in recent years. “Snail mail” just seems so slow, now that we can do a lot of things online. FedEx and UPS have made their services more convenient to use, so a lot of people no longer choose the post office as their method of sending a package. As the USPS struggles, it’s had to raise stamp prices frequently and cut staffing at some locations so that customers wait in line longer. Even I have complained about the post office vending machine and its horrible fake “stamps”. The Christmas season is an especially busy time for the post office, and we grouchy citizens tend to focus on the tedious standing-in-line and the worries about whether our gifts will arrive in time for Christmas, instead of marveling at the number of cards and packages that arrive promptly in perfect condition despite icy roads and runways.
But this week, I had a great experience with the post office!
It started last Saturday, when my eight-year-old and I went to mail a gift to my uncle in Hawaii, on our way to the library. Yes, we did stand in line a long time, and it was dull, but while we were waiting I remembered that I was running low on stamps; I could make this errand do double duty by buying a roll of stamps as well as mailing the package.
The clerk placed the roll of stamps on the counter and began weighing my package and asking me all the questions about whether it might rot or explode and so on. I guess I got distracted. That evening, when I unpacked the library books from my tote bag, I found that the roll of stamps was not in there with my post office receipt. Maybe I had put it in my purse, which would be more secure than the bag. But it was not in my purse, and as I cleaned out my purse to make sure, I realized I had no memory of actually picking up that roll of stamps and doing anything with it at any point. Probably I’d just left it on the counter.
Well, I paid $46 for those stamps! Sure enough, they were listed on my receipt. That’s a lot of money; I didn’t want to just go buy another roll of stamps. I noticed that my name was on my receipt because I had paid with a credit card. I could show the card and my receipt, and could show ID proving that I’m me…but how could I prove that I did not have the stamps?
I hoped that the clerk had noticed my abandoned stamps soon after I left, looked up my name (either in the credit-card processing records or in the return address on my package), and put a note on the employee bulletin board or whatever, indicating that if I came back asking for my stamps they should be given to me. I figured the odds of that were about 50/50, and I might have to just suck it up and consider myself to have made a $46 donation toward the good cause of maintaining reliable mail service.
What actually happened was that I received far kinder, more efficient customer service than I had imagined was possible.
Monday, I went to the post office as soon as it opened–but I was not the only one to have that idea, so I had to wait in line for a while anyway. I thought that one of the clerks looked like the same one I had worked with on Saturday. Things happened to work out so that she was the clerk available when it was my turn. I had just started my explanation when she said, “Yes, I remember. I found your stamps after you left, so I put them in an envelope for your mail carrier to deliver to you. They should be in your mail today.”
I never even thought of that option! I thanked her effusively and went on to work. Sure enough, when I got home my stamps were waiting for me.
This was a time when the United States Postal Service really worked for me!