Yesterday I had the very rare pleasure of visiting my local post office. I am one of the people who is putting the Post Office out of business, as I pay 100% of my monthly bills either via bill pay, through my bank, or on the business website. However, I had to mail in some material to the IRS and it forced me to visit the Post Office to have it sent out. What a mess that experience was.
First, to set the picture, I went mid-afternoon, on a Monday. I pulled into a packed parking lot, in doing so, almost got hit twice, by people in a rush. Once I entered the building, i noticed a horrible smell, it smelled like urine. I believe it was the person panhandling in the lobby, in front of the PO Boxes.
I make my way to the separate area where the Post Office clerks are and discover that there are about 18 people ahead of me (yes I counted). I figured the place would be empty since it was in the middle of the afternoon, hours after most people take their lunch breaks. Thankfully the line moved surprisingly fast, since it appeared that there was a clerk at every station, which is the first time in my recent memory that I’ve seen that.
The area I was in appeared to be dirty and outdated. There were old signs on the wall that looked liked they had been there for years. However, I was impressed to see that they had a few display units offering packaging supplies and greeting cards. It is about time that the post office tried to increase their revenue from the people there to use their mailing services.
As I reached the front of the line, I see a basket with hundreds of forms in it, with no explanation or directions. I thumb through the basket, as I was hoping to get some sort of delivery confirmation for my package.
I hear ‘next’ and made my way to the open clerk. I hand her my envelop and ask to have it mailed first class with a email confirmation of delivery (I was pleasantly surprised that offered this service for only $1.25). The clerk proceeded to tell me that I used the wrong kind of tape to make sure the overstuffed envelope was secure. I asked her if I needed to redo it and she replied in a very curt manner that she would fix it for me.
A few moments later she tells me that it is going to cost $6.85 for the envelope, which was a bit more than I expected, but took my credit card out to pay. I ran my credit card through the processing machine, like I have done thousands of times and was told to wait a moment. It has always been my experience that if someone tells you the amount you owe, they are ready for you to pay.
A moment later I hear, ‘it’s ok for you to slide your card’, so I did. Then as I’m putting away my card, she asked me to see it. I handed her the card and noticed that she took the security code off the back and entered it into her computer. I have used that card and other credit cards, thousands of times and have never had anyone, in a retail environment do this. I am used to having to show identification in rare instances, but never this.
The clerk then hands me my receipt and I take a look it. I then realize that I’m sending my envelope via priority mail. I was shocked in that it wasn’t what I asked for. I mention this to the clerk and she proceeds to tell me that due to the weight of the envelope, priority service is my only option. As this point I didn’t really know what to say and just put the receipt into my wallet and walked out.
I read recently that the Post Office is looking to start delivering alcohol to increase its revenue, I think this is a good idea. I do hope that the Post Office starts to realize that they have competition and in order to be competitive, it needs to update its locations, improve service and expand its services.