Yesterday morning after dropping the kids off at school, I went to the post office. Not an unusual thing for me to do, but I usually use the post office on base. It was out of the way for where I planned to go next, so I instead went to the branch nearest the church, on Benton Road for anybody local.
I was a little leery of it. I've never been in this particular post office without having to wait a while, and the parking lot looked pretty full.
Once inside, my fears were assuaged. Only four or five people preceded me in line, and each of them held something small. No one with two cartons full of mail to send. Sweet, I'll be out of here in no time.
Upon further inspection, I realized that both postal workers were assisting people with passport applications - one man and a family of four. The family must have given the impression that they were unsure of their answers, because their applications were being read aloud as they answered each question again orally. After about ten minutes of this, all but one of the folks waiting ahead of me got fed up and left.
Since it seemed that the man was nearly finished with his application, I figured waiting through him and one other person would be no big deal.
At this point, the people behind me start grumbling. After remarking about how fun it will be when they government takes over healthcare and receiving a few snickers in response, the man behind me grew bolder. Some of his comments were completely uncalled-for. For instance, when he said, "I hope they're planning on leaving the country with those passports!" I mean, I'm sure they are...for a vacation, hence the need for passports. It's not their fault it's taking forever.
Soon, the man was gone, and the worker who had been helping him begins calling for..."Anyone else who needs a passport?" Wait, what?! No takers. Phew!
"Anyone just dropping off packages?" A girl from the back of the line comes forward, and the disgruntled man behind me gets loud again. "This girl has packages!" (pointing at me) The worker addresses me, "You just have to drop off packages?" "Well, no, I need postage for them." And he's back to ignoring me.
He moves on. "Is anyone picking up a package or certified mail?" The man in front of me and another man from the back of the line step forward. There's more grumbling. Whatever, I'm next now.
The packages are retrieved and I hear, "Passports?" A woman brings her application to the counter and settles in. Seriously?
Not really. What is with the passports? Is the post office no longer interested in selling postage? I hear these complaints on the news about how less people are using the postal service and they want to drop service on Saturday as a result, but maybe it's not entirely the consumer's fault? Maybe some of the problem lies in understaffed offices and disinterested employees.
This particular branch seemed to be picking and choosing which services they wanted to perform rather than meeting the customers' needs in a fair manner. What was the point of the line I stood in? These postal workers seemed not to care how many people walked out their doors and went someplace else. There was no remorse or apology for the amount of time we wasted standing in line. There was no explanation as to why some of us were being skipped over.
The part that confuses me most is the importance was being placed on passports. I mean, there were two employees in the office. Could there not have been a designated line for passports and one for everything else? Probably, but that would have made sense.
I can safely say that I will never return to that post office. I will drive out of my way to avoid it.
The end. (for real)