Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
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Rotten Service at the Post Office
A few years ago, I got so fed up with waiting for service at the post office on the west side of town, I stormed through the employee's entrance and went to the back to find someone to wait on me. But that was nothing compared to the lousy service I received this week. The clerk I'll call Grumpy (not his real name) was so down and discouraging, I vowed never to go back again.
Grumpy is usually okay but something is obviously getting to him and I don't deserve to have it taken out on me. When I handed him my entry for the writer's association contest, he acted as if accepting my mail would kill him. He rolled his eyes, made a face and groaned. Then he gave me a ten-hour dissertation about the "one-pound rule." Apparently, the post office will return any package that is dumped in a mailbox and weighs more than sixteen ounces.
This amounts to a major catastrophe to Grumpy, who apparently doesn't get around much.
I realize this is devastating news, but I think the ladies at my writer's association can handle it. They've put on this contest for years and certainly know the drill by now.
But that explanation wasn't good enough for Grumpy. He had to discourage me from sending it altogether. I asked why he was making such a big deal over this, and he replied, "I'm just sayin' that's all."
I hope Grumpy doesn't ever have to handle a real problem like escaping from a burning building or tending to a seriously ill child. He wouldn't survive for more than ten seconds.
Today, I had to return to the post office to mail my second entry. I prayed to God that I wouldn't get Grumpy again, but the odds weren't working in my favor. Not only did I get him again out of all four clerks, but he was just as disparaging as he was the other day and gave me the same "one-pound" spiel all over again.
You'd think I was trying to send a bomb through the mail instead of a hundred- page manuscript. We have wars and famine and deficits. The whole world may collapse but God forbid my fellow romance writers should have to take a bunch of contest rejects to the post office for delivery. What is the world coming to anyway? Had his superiors told him to discourage package sending no matter what it took? Perhaps they lose money on the six-dollar deal. Then charge me seven and shut up!
"You have to go to the post office to mail it," he said.
I stared at him, seeking to understand. "Isn't that where I am?"
"The person who receives it will have to take it to the post office. If they dump it in the box, it will be returned."
"Who cares? So what? That's their problem."
A few weeks ago, I decided to turn over a new leaf. The new Mindy was going to stay calm and collected no matter what. But after dealing with Grumpy two times in seven days, all bets were off. I could feel the old Mindy rising again and she wasn't pretty. Grumpy may have been losing his house or on the verge of getting a pink slip, but the world hasn't exactly been pelting me with roses either.
"You know," I said before dashing off. "You don't have to take your problems out on the rest of us."
"Ha! I don't have any problems, lady," he shouted.
I shouted even louder so that his supervisor could hear me all the way in the back. "You would if you worked for me. I'd fire your ass. Good thing you've got a civil service job."
I vowed to never go back to that post office, even if it takes my last drop of gas to go somewhere else. Escondido has two other branches with many other clerks to royally piss me off. Why settle for just one?