I recently wrote about how much I enjoy going to the post office because something interesting always happens there. Well, last week was no exception. I went to two different post offices. One of them had me scratching my head and muttering, “What the heck?” when I left, and the other had me laughing out loud.
The first post office I went to was one I hadn’t been to in years, but I was in the area for an appointment and had some packages to mail for eBay, so I decided to stop there.
The clerk took the first package from me and then proceeded to enter the data into the computer using only his index finger and the “hunt and peck” method. Long minutes passed and still he was pecking away at the keyboard. I knew that the woman’s address wasn’t a very complicated one, not like some of the foreign addresses I have to mail packages to that have streets with names like Vanderhaskensenden Blvd., so I couldn’t imagine why he seemed to be entering the entire alphabet into the computer.
Finally, after every other window clerk had assisted at least five customers each, he looked up at me and said, “The computer is telling me there is no such street or address in Norco, California.”
I told him it was the address both eBay and Paypal (the customer’s method of payment) had given me, so I was certain it was correct.
He shook his head. “No, the closest city with that street address is in Sacramento. Does she live there?”
I said I had no clue.
“Well, sometimes the computer acts up like this,” he said. “It wants me to send the parcel to Sacramento. Maybe Norco is a suburb. But don’t worry about it.”
Three packages and 20 minutes of his one-finger typing later, I finally got out of there. By then, my feet hurt, my back ached and my mouth was so dry, I think my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth.
When I got home, I checked my receipt and noticed the destination had been changed from the Norco, California zip code of 92860 to 95815 – Sacramento. I searched on my computer for a street map of Norco and located the woman’s street within seconds. I also checked the distance between Norco and Sacramento and it was about 400 miles. That’s one mighty big suburb.
Finally, I went to the US Postal Service’s website and entered the tracking number on my receipt so I could track the package in question. It said, “Not found.”
I have a strong feeling my eBay customer’s package is going to end up hopelessly lost somewhere in Sacramento. What she bought from me was Joe Di’Mousio – a little mouse figurine dressed like a baseball player.
I’m really worried that poor little Joe Di’Mousio may never be seen or heard from again. But even worse, I’m probably going to be stuck refunding the woman’s money.
Two days later, I went to another post office to mail more packages. It was nearly closing time, so there was only one customer ahead of me and one behind me.
The customer ahead of me was a bride-to-be who was mailing wedding invitations…only to find out the decorations she’d put on them made them unable to be machine sorted and therefore, required additional postage.
She didn’t seem upset about the extra postage, but she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to find a stamp that matched the pretty flowered ones she said she’d so carefully selected and applied to each envelope. For one thing, the selection of stamps in the additional denomination she needed was limited.
The clerk showed her several stamp designs, none of which matched or complemented her flowered ones. Finally, an employee who’d been working out back came to the counter and offered to help the woman find a stamp so the clerk could assist me and the customer behind me.
All I can say is the poor man tried his best to help the bride-to-be, but all he succeeded in doing was making her (and the rest of us) laugh.
“How about Abraham Lincoln?” he asked hopefully, holding up the stamp for her to see.
The guy behind me in line and I burst out laughing.
“Lincoln was very big on emancipation and freedom,” I just had to say. “He might not be a wise choice for invitations that represent tying the knot!”
The employee showed several more designs to the bride-to-be.
She shook her head. “No, none of these would look good next to my flower stamps. I do have more of the flower stamps at home, so I guess I’ll just have to put another one of those on each invitation, even though I’ll be losing about 28 cents on each one. The only problem is, I know I’m going to be one stamp short. Do you have an extra flower stamp?”
Unfortunately, he didn’t.
“Tell you what,” the male employee said to her. “Are any of those invitations to one of your husband’s buddies?”
“Well, mark my words, you can put any stamp you want on that one, and the guy will never even notice it! I guarantee it!”
The bride-to-be picked up the stack of invitations and leafed through them.
“This one,” she said, holding up one of the envelopes. “Jessie.”
The guy behind me said, “I’ll bet if Jessie’s like most guys, he’s not even going to the wedding!”
I said, “Well… he might, if there are free drinks!”
“You’re sure now?” the employee asked her before giving her the stamp. “You know, you still could make everything a lot easier and just elope!”
So I think poor Jessie ended up with both a flower and Abraham Lincoln on his invitation.
At least he’s a lot better off than poor little Joe Di’Mousio.
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