Friday, January 9, 2015


I keep hearing that the post offices are losing business due to the Internet. People are sending cards online, paying bills online and sending emails instead of handwritten letters. All of this means people are buying fewer stamps.

I don’t know about other people, but I would miss the post offices if they weren’t around. Over the years, I have had a lot of interesting experiences at post offices and even have made new friends there.

I remember when my husband and I first moved to town and I went to the local post office. It was a warm day in December and I was wearing what only can be described as an ugly Christmas sweater. It was bright red and green with pine trees on it. Standing in front of the trees was a big moose with a Christmas wreath around its neck and ornaments hanging from its huge antlers, which spread across my entire chest.

When I walked in, the two male clerks immediately stared wide-eyed at the sweater.  It was so hideous, it probably destroyed their corneas. I could tell that the clerk who waited on me was struggling to say something complimentary about my attire.

Suddenly, he smiled and blurted out, “Nice antlers!”

The moment he uttered the words, the other clerk burst out laughing and said, “That didn’t come out sounding right!”

Never have I seen a guy turn so red.

From that day on, whenever I went to the post office and that particular clerk was working, the other clerks would tease him by greeting me with, “Hi, Moose!  How are you today?”

Other people in line probably thought they were being rude to me, but they didn’t know about our private joke.

Then, because I’m a terrible procrastinator, I developed the bad habit of rushing into the post office two minutes before closing every day, often with five or six packages to mail (I sell things on eBay). If I were one of the clerks, I probably would have wanted to jump over the counter and wring my neck, but instead, every time I came running in, they’d laugh and say, “Sally’s here! Must be time for us to go home! Lock the doors!”

I wasn’t the only last-minute customer, however. Another woman usually came dashing in after I did. The clerks nicknamed us the “last-minuters” or the “late twins.”  Well, that woman and I ended up talking and joking, and discovered we had more in common than just being late getting to the post office. We now are good friends.

A couple weeks ago, I headed to the post office earlier in the day than usual because I knew it was going to be crowded. I wasn’t wrong. The line nearly was out the door.

As I stood there, struggling to hold an oversized package that weighed about as much as a small child, the woman behind me said in a sympathetic tone, “Here, let me hold that for you. You need a rest. I lift things all day at work, so it’s second nature to me.”

I have to admit I felt kind of strange just standing there while she held the package for me – especially since I towered over her.  Still, I had to admit my back was grateful to her.

That particular day, everyone in line was female, except for one male. He finally made it to the counter and was told he had to fill out a form for his package. The clerk said to leave the package there and then bring the form back after he filled in the information. Meanwhile, she helped another customer.

The man was fast, completing the form in record time. He then stepped back up to the counter and handed the form to the clerk.

We women exchanged smirks and winks behind his back, as if we all were thinking the same thing…we were going to embarrass the poor guy.

“Hey, you stepped out of line!” one female customer shouted at him, her tone stern. “That means you have to go back to the end of the line again.”

“She’s right!” the rest of us chimed in. “It’s only fair!”

He turned to look at us and his eyes were as wide as saucers as he stared at the seemingly endless line. “B-but…” he began, obviously flustered.

We all started laughing. He rolled his eyes and groaned.

“You’re the only guy in here, so you should’ve known we’d have to pick on you!” another woman said.

And then there was the time a woman came in to pick up a parcel that contained five pounds of imported fine chocolates she’d ordered. She opened the box right there and offered them to everyone in the post office. They were the best, most decadent chocolates I’ve ever tasted.

Nope, you just can’t have experiences like that online.

That’s why I make certain I always have a good supply of postage stamps on hand so I can mail bills, thank-you notes and cards...and keep the post office in business. 

That’s also why I donated my moose sweater to Goodwill.
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