P.O.ed at the Post Office

Jul 11, 2011 | Random Thoughts | 29 comments

Here’s my heads up: This post reveals the more crass side of me.

Here’s my confession:

I hate going to the post office.

I would rather pump gas, run out for diapers. Even vaccuum.
It’s one of those errands that just seems monumental
to me even though I know it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Our post office is maybe three miles away but the traffic to get there is hellacious.

I swear it takes 15 minutes to get there.
I could probably ride my bike there faster.
That is, if I could bring my knees up that close to my chest.I am now at that stage where it takes me five minutes to put on and tie my shoes.
I’m left panting for lack of lung space.So I finally carved out a moment to ship some Parisienne Farmhouse goods out and was on my way to my “favorite” government run business.
The line was small, surprisingly.
The ensuing hassle was not. Unsurprisingly.

I grabbed a stack of flat rate boxes (that I normally try to keep around the house) and began to address and pack them at the “looser” counter. It’s the looser counter because it’s set up RIGHT where people stand in line and you feel like such a looser standing there addressing, folding, packing and taping, right in everyones way… the line getting longer by the moment. Thankfully this time I remembered my own packing tape because
the post office tape the top of your package shut should you forget it. If you forget your tape they treat you like a leper… as if YOU’RE the reason the United States Post Service is broken –

You irresponsible tape hog you!

As I was going about my looser business I could not help but overhear the transaction going on between the one of two agents available (Two counters out of eight open!). Even though my back was turned, it was obvious what was going on…

Agent: “You need to write the address on this package.”


Agent: “This is just a taped on customs form. What if it comes off? You need to write the address on the package.”



Customer: “Russian.”

Agent (Doing her best to now completely humiliate this young man):

Customer hopelessly shrugs his shoulders.

By now I’ve turned around and taken my place in line watching this disgusting display of humanity going on. I wanted to slap the bitch. She could have just done it for him, it would have taken her thirty seconds. But no, this was her shining moment.
To shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame him.

What is it that happens to people when they think that
is going to cause some sort of linguistic, epiphany-like moment?
I mean good night, when was the last time you flipped on Telemundo, wondered what the scantily clad telenovela star was saying, grabbed your remote and turned it up full blast only to miraculously completely understand the story line?


I’m sure we have all done it, raised our voice so someone would hopefully understand us. Let’s just agree, here and now to NEVER do it again. If I have never mentioned it before, I HATE it when people speak loudly. It aggravates the crap out of me, I am mortified when I do it and thoroughly irritated when anyone speaks louder than needed. We, especially women, only need to speak loud enough so that the person we are talking to can here us, there is NO NEED to project into the next room or twenty feet away for that matter. How about a little self awareness?

I digress.
As I often do.

Look, I am not saying the kid shouldn’t need to be able to speak English. It aggravates the CRAP out of me when people don’t know the basics of our language. I mean, do we really have to print the word for “tampon” in Spanish on the Tampax box? I think if you live in this country and can’t walk into Target and figure out how to attend to your basic feminine needs in ENGLISH than you’ve got bigger problems than white jeans. But there is NO REASON to belittle another human being in public with your loud, big, condescending yapper if they don’t happen to understand you. I was a good twenty five feet away from her or else I don’t know if I could have controlled my own yapper I wanted to tell her to shut up so badly.

I stood there praying she would not be the one ringing me up.
God always answers prayers…
He says, “Not right now”, “No” and “Yes”.
I got my answer as she barked,


Ok Lord, what are you trying to teach me now?

I held my tongue over her previous behavior and I handed her my three self-taped boxes, and the first two where no problem, “Where is this one going” she asks. Um, not only are you loud but you’re apparently geographically challenged too – it said,

“United Kingdom”
You work at the post office – shouldn’t you know where that is?
I proceed to explain and she cut me off, “Did you fill out customs paperwork?”
Well no, I didn’t.I don’t ship overseas, it’s not a friggin’ sofa, it’s a dish, so no, customs paperwork didn’t cross my mind – I was too busy being appalled at your behavior to the poor Russian kid.So you guessed it. I had to get out of line and go back to the looser counter. She said it was TONS of paperwork.
It was TWO addresses and the value of the contents.Apparently I don’t do well in public.
I’m crabby, I’m hot, I’m pregnant.
I’d rather be vacuuming.
My blood was beginning to boil.

I stood in line…

Now what I didn’t mention was that I wasn’t going to originally ship “the dish” to the mysterious, other-side-of-the-world United Kingdom. I was simply going to get a price for the shipping but while originally standing in line I saw the sign over the flat rate boxes…

“Convenient Flat Rate Shipping Worldwide”

…Now this happened a few days ago, so I may be a little off on the exact wording of the sign but it had the word “convenient” and the last four words where “Flat Rate Shipping Worldwide”.
I read it a couple times and thought,
“No way! That is so incredible! Worldwide? Really?”
So I read it again, and again and then grabbed a box big enough to hold this dish… fast forward back to me in line with my customs form.

She rings up the first two packages, then rings up my dish to the land of William and Katherine… my ten dollar flat rate box rings up FORTY FIVE DOLLARS. So, I say,
“Whoa, it says “Flat Rate Shipping Worldwide” and she says,
“That’s domestic, this is overseas.”

Miss Can’t Speak Russian.

Stupid me, as if I am going to win this fight,
“But WORLDWIDE means overseas.”

Agent: “No, the flat rate is for the domestic price.”

Me: “Then WHY does it say FLAT-RATE…WORLDWIDE???

She just stares back at me.
Like, get out of here you idiot. Don’t question the post office.

I snatched the box off the scale and snarled,
“Forget it!”
I wanted to rip her smug face off.
I wanted to “Go Postal.”
I had to get out of there fast.
So I ripped my debit card thru the machine, I am surprised there was a magnetic strip left. Pounded in my pin and hightailed it out of there drawing on every iota of self control in my body lest I make a complete
of myself.

I don’t speak Russian.
I don’t speak Spanish.
Apparently, I can’t read and comprehend English.

Did I mention I hate the post office?


  1. Josephine Rose

    When I stand in our mile-long line back to the door, I want to yell to everybody waiting, “Welcome to Obamacare!”

  2. Theresa

    OH I so wish you could mail your packages from our post office, we have truly the most helpful and nicest people working there. OK one cranky one, but she is stil helpful and sometimes I can even get her to crack a smile! Your experience sounds horrible but I was sitting here laughing at the way you told it! I would have wanted to smack her too and well I hope someone soon puts her in her place. There should be a law against trying to humiliate anyone. Especially when you are being paid to help them.
    I was totally cheering you through the whole ordeal. t. xoxo

  3. Gail

    Haahahahahah! I soooooo feel your pain and angst! Did you know that the P.O. is in serious financial trouble? Shocking, I know, but probably as bad, or maybe even worse the the U.S. government….which we all know how in debt that is!
    I’m not sure you’ll have to wrestle with that ineptness too much longer……:).
    No go have a dish of vanilla ice cream with strawberries on top….guaranteed to make you feel better!
    I for one am proud that you didn’t go “postal” on them.
    Not too sure I would have had that restraint!

  4. Hollie

    Sing it, Sister!

    You crack me up, by the way.

    After my last Post Office experience when I needed to borrow a smidge of packing tape and was read my Post Office rights, my husband has agreed to take care of all Post Office needs in the future.

    I love him.

    Thanks for sharing – can’t wait to show this post to my husband and let him know I’m not the only one in the world to have P.O. episodes.

  5. Rhonda

    I could not agree with you more. Twice I have had the lovely experience of having my mail “held” at our post office even without requesting it. I go and inquire why I haven’t received mail in days and was told they were holding per my request. I explain, I didn’t request and ask for MY mail. I am then told I have to have ID to pick it up. (purse in car with teenage daughter) I scream, “You didn’t ask for ID to hold it!”. This exact thing has happened to me TWICE!

  6. Cecile

    tsk. tsk… and she’s supposed to be doing a “public service”…..

  7. Kate

    I dread the P.O. too, which is sad seeing as how I love to mail letters. And honestly, no bad experiences, I just dread the monotony of it, and the fact that most of them never ever smile. I’ve had most be really helpful though.

    I think it must be a really boring job because they all seem so unhappy. And I think that woman you dealt with probably needed a lecture on her behavior. Right or wrong I would have wanted her to understand that shaming someone like that is so not right or professional.

  8. Christy

    and that, my friends, is why i don’t “do” ebay. making a buck wouldn’t make up for the PO grief! Hope your blood pressure has returned to normal now 🙂

  9. Mourning Dove Farm

    I am so with you! But why does it say “worldwide”? This kind of stuff really makes me crazy.

  10. Mac n' Janet

    Except for one lady, who is so surly you just want to smack her, at our post office the staff is so nice, but I made that $45 overseas mistake too. I’ll make better arrangements next time.

  11. cityfarmer

    she failed to ask … ” is there anything explosive, contaminating or illegal in this package (can you see someone saying yes to that)…”? which is our branch’s favorite line … oh and then when you’ve done the entire transaction, they proceed to try and upsell their goods!

    they ask(beg) …”do you need any stamps, tape or packing supplies today…?” like I want to pay 10.00 for a roll of their tape …why is why they can’t tape up your package …IT COSTS TOO MUCH hahahaha

  12. Elizabeth

    I love this post!!! I fell the exact same way about the post office! Many of the workers, or at least the ones in my neck of the woods are nasty! Rude, mean, enough said. Each time I go there and have a problem I remind them that this is why the post office is going broke, that and the fact that they purchase houses for all of the postmasters, and that even the big guy, the Post Master General” of the USA did not know about that!

    By the way, save yourself the time and do it online, you save a little money and they pick it up at your house!

    Take care of yourself!

  13. Amber

    I really think they hire people who have some missing links there. I had gone in to pick up my order of chicks, which clearly states on the box full of holes, LIVE ANIMALS, and nothing but cheeps coming from it, “What are those?”. The return address: McMurray Hatchery. Umm… I think they’re bear cubs. 🙂
    I love your writing style. You make my day every time you blog!
    xo, Amber

    p.s. Just got my Romantic Prairie Style book on Saturday. LOVE your place!

  14. Priscilla

    Boy, I’d like to live where ever Theresa lives. Nice post office people? They are really letting their standards down there. Hiring nice people – somebody’s head will roll when the PO big-wigs hear about this!
    Yup, Josephine Rose, can’t wait to see all those postal worker types get hired when Obamacare starts!
    My new mantra is: “privatize the Post Office” Let orange or brown ship, who writes letters anyway. All my bills are electronic, too. I only open my mail box once a week to remove the junk mail so the postman can fill it up again with more junk mail.

  15. Pondside

    Sounds pretty awful, I agree.
    On the other hand, I’ve been a tourist in a foreign country (Russia, Netherlands, Italy and I don’t speak any of those languages) and gone to the post office to mail something home and been treated with respect and even interest.

  16. Catholic

    Love, Love, Love it when you rant! How is it that I feel better after you go off on something? Thanks for the therapy. What did you do after to get your blood pressure back down…..?

  17. Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig

    No, but you speak common sense and common courtesy, two things in very short supply at the post office.

    We have a nasty shrew at our local branch too, so I feel ya!

  18. Victoria

    Yeah, why are we being told our economy is in “recovery mode” when even the GOV’MENT jobs are in short supply??

    Once, after I volunteered to go to self checkout instead, the p.o. lady said “Well, now, YOU don’t have to get out of line just because WE’RE short staffed! Ha.

    They’ll probably go out of business. Fine! Ups and Fedex are faster, friendlier and have tracking, something the post is sadly lacking.

    They’re the losers, making people get in other people’s way at the loser counter!

  19. Stephanie

    I go to a smaller branch in my neighborhood and lately there is a duo of women there working who are hilarious, friendly, kind and helpful. I know! I appreciate it so much I’ve even told them twice. They will even tape the top of your packages for you and if you did a poor job of taping, they re-tape no questions asked. I feel really lucky now!

  20. Morisot

    I’m really not a violent person, really I’m not, but while reading this I had an overwhelming urge to go smack that lady’s face for you. I’ve been very fortunate and have never had this experience in the post office.

  21. Joannah

    What a nasty woman! I’m sorry your trips to the USPS are dreadful. We have the tiniest, cutest post office within walking distance from my house. You would love it. The clerks are Barbie and John and they are the nicest people. John always fills out paperwork for me if I’ve forgotten something, and they know most of their customers by name. Michael always said there was a lot of “talk story” going on in there. 🙂

  22. Jena Williams, Not So Shabby Interiors

    My husband who has worked for the post office for 19 years and I just read your post and are both on the floor laughing. He said he feels your pain as he is instructed to interrogate Granny about her package of cookies she is mailing to her grandaughter across the street. He has to know if the chocolate chip cookies are explosive….even though he has known her for 13 years from church. Oh, and now after he has verified she is not mailing an explosive package then he is required to ask her if she would like to insure the cookies and add delivery confirmation so she can check time and date of delivery which by the way will not go directly across the street to her grandaughters but rather 90 miles away to a processing facility where there may or may not be enough people to show up for work just to get her package of cookies back to the original address! Also, in order for the the clerk to achieve a passing score for his mystery shopper program that the post office thinks is such a great deal, he must keep granny at the counter a little longer by asking her if she needs any stamps, money orders or if she would like to open a PO Box today? This could protect her mail because it is the safest way!! Sometimes I really wish he would just quit the post office so that we may open a pack and mail store called, GOING POSTAL! That would be perfect!

  23. Splenderosa

    Angela, imagine how all the other government agencies are run? Like the Department of Energy, Education, Commerce, Interior. I think the post office should deliver mail to home addresses 2X a week. Period. Alternate the days, get it all done within Monday-Friday. Business mail is a very different animal, they need 5X a week. Hire intelligent people (imagine the person who constructed the “worldwide” sign?), keep all windows open during business hours (like have temps in the back who fill in for people on breaks). Problem solved. Back in the black.
    Will they do this? NO!

  24. RobinfromCA

    Oh my gosh!! I feel your pain! Our post office has one competent person and the rest you just pray won’t call you as their next victim! AND hardly anybody in our town speaks English so those of us in line who do can’t decide who we want to smack more – the post office worker or the person in line who keeps asking the same dumb question over and over! For all of this “service” they keep raising our postage rates!

  25. montanaeurofarmgirl

    Ok-so in the sake of full disclosure, my husband is a Postal worker. He is a great guy and I know that he takes much pride it the job he does and is kind to people. That said, yes the postal service is going broke and it is really sad. He got the job when he was like 22 years old and wanted to make a career out of it because it was a ‘good government job’-secure right? Well for the 15 years that I have known him, he had had so much frustration watching the thing go down the tubes! He watches as ‘management’ does their level best to get rid of workers and not replace them, watching coworkers work their tails off all the while ‘management’ never is downsized so while they might be working with 30% less staff but have twice as many managers while they have each other’s backs. If a manager gets into trouble and does a terrible job, he isn’t fired-he’s moved to a different location. 0 consequences! Not all the postal workers are bad. Lots of them are crabby though being micromanaged to the point where they have timed ‘potty breaks’! Sad! I hope my hubby has a job this fall after 25 years of really great service!

  26. Joy

    That’s a very interesting story. The folks at our small town Post Office are very nice and helpful. They laugh and joke, I think it’s a small town thing. Lots of drawbacks to living in a small town, but lots of postives too.

  27. Alex Saiz

    You remind me of everything that is wrong with America. You admit that you go in unprepared every time you go into the Post Office. Then you complain about the long lines. Pack it at home like everyone else and the line will move along smoothly. The same people that are the most inpatient are the ones that have no problem having everyone else waiting on them. There is Priority tape in the lobby for people to use. You are capable preparing your own package are you not? If the clerk felt you were handicap he would probably be more helpful. Also, If clerks gave away tape and taped it at the counter then everyone like you would come in and EXPECT it to be taped, while everyone else waits on YOU! You want it all but don’t want to pay for it. Go to UPS and see how much they charge you to package it. “What do you mean it’s not free????” If everyone had the same respect and courtesy they expect from other people the rest of the world might actually not hate us.

  28. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Um, Alex… maybe YOU’RE what’s wrong with America.

    Did you even READ this post?

    I NEVER said I go in unprepared every time. I never said I needed packing tape.

    WHAT are you talking about?

    There is NOT priority tape in the lobby at my P.O. by the way!

    The post SAYS I had my boxes ready.

    There is NO mention of me wanting it all. The post was about a horribly RUDE postal worker who had NO COMPASSION for someone who didn’t speak her language. IT was about me not realizing I needed customs paper work. There is NO mention of me holding up the line… in fact, I mention being out of line at the LOOSER COUNTER doing my customs paperwork. Clearly, you didn’t read this post.

    Perhaps you don’t speak English either based on your bizarre rant about this post.

    Why don’t you take that Priority Mail sized chip off your shoulder and READ someone’s blog properly before you go off on them and blame them for being the problem.

    PF, 9/11/13


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