Monday, August 18, 2008

Going Postal Not Just for Postal Employees Anymore, Sources Say.

Okay. I HATE going to the post office. So much. Unfortunately, lately I've been going more than usual. I won't give you the whole story, even though it's not too long, but basically I've just started selling stuff on eBay, so shipping and I have been getting very close lately. The connection is definitely electric.

But I should start at the beginning so that this isn't quite just an I-HATE-THE-WORLD kind of post, because things really aren't that bad. And I don't hate the world. Just a few people in it. And hate really is a strong word, just like they say, so really I don't even hate a few people. Let's just say I don't appreciate them.

So now, a flashback to where my morning began. Which wasn't too bad. It just sort of...snowballed, if you will.

I set my alarm for 8am this morning. I also set my alarm for 8:15am because I know myself too well and I have a reputation for getting it on with the snooze button for most of the morning. But I had stuff I needed to get done before a certain time, so snoozing wasn't an option.

I officially got up at 8:17, which I think is pretty impressive myself. I rolled out of bed, as is my usual method for 'getting up' and went straight for the shower. Another morning ritual. But all that really needs to be said on that event is that things went off without a hitch.

Out of the shower, dressed and as made up as I'm going to get, I then grab my laptop and head for the office so I can print out a shipping label. Dad's in there playing Text Twist (sidenote: that game is REALLY addictive. Seriously. No joke.) so I stand on the other side of the desk and plug in the printer. Who needs to sit down? This should only take a few minutes.

TWENTY minutes later finds me STILL trying to print out a shipping label. It goes something like this:

Me: C'mon, load! This is ridiculous. This should never take this long.

Paypal's Shipping Center: I'm sorry. I am not available at this time. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience.

Me: ...*blink*...What? You're kidding me. That figures! ...Maybe I've got a bad connection. *reloadreloadreload*

Paypal's Shipping Center: Apparently you've timed out your connection. Hows about you go re-enter your email address and password and we'll see what we can do.

Me: Great. Fine. Okay. Thanks. *makes sure to send little bursts of hate through her fingertips as she punches in her login info*

Paypal's Shipping Center: Perfect, good job. Now let me process that....still processing...Tap your foot all you want, missy, I'm not done yet...Count to five. Maybe by then....Nope. Settle down now, I'm working on it. See, okay. There we go. Is this the right shipping information? How do you want to pay? Credit card, perfect. So all this is right?

Me: For the hundredth time, YES! *enterenterenter*

Paypal's Shipping Center: Oops, you know what? I forgot. I'm still down. I can't make your label. My bad. But don't worry, I didn't charge you for it either.

Me: *heaves a sigh, wants to heave a brick* Okay. Fine. Then I'll just take it to the post office whenever I go down the street to pay my tuition. Let's just print the packing slip then.

Paypal's Shipping Center: Actually, you really can't print the packing slip until you print the shipping label.

Me: ...But you won't LET me print the shipping label!!! *pulls out chunks of hair*

Paypal's Shipping Center: Yeah, but those are the rules. Whatcha gonna do? Cry me a river, ma'am. You need to calm right down because I'm just not functioning.

Me: Any idea when you'll be up and running again?

Paypal's Shipping Center: That's for me to know and you to find out.

Yes. It was awesome. So I get my package all wrapped up and ready to go with the intent of making a stop at the post office after I make sure I'm registered and pay for my classes.

By now, it's sort of raining. Not bad, but just enough to annoy me because I have to get out in it with mail. But anyway, I'm on the road. about 30 minutes later than intended, but I should still have time. No big deal.

I'm about halfway to the school when I realize that while I remembered the package, I didn't remember anything that has the address I'm supposed to ship to on it. Cherry on top. But as I'm going to have to turn around anyway, I decide to go to the school first.

At the risk of word getting out, I'm going to go ahead and let you know that sometimes the people at Navarro are absolutely NO help. At all. With the exception of the counselor. She's nice. But the people that work least the ones I've encountered*, reek of incompetence. Or unhelpfulness. Or something. Something not good. Something stinky.

I fill out my registration form, wait for Lady #1 to come help me out, and she does her thing, prints me out something, and sends me to the counselor, saying, "She'll get you in the class and then you'll come back and pay." 

Cool. That's cool, works for me. So I go see the counselor, and at the same time double check that it's not going to be a problem for anyone that I'm taking two classes, but both at different schools, and she reassures me that that's no problem. See? The counselor is awesome. Go counselor! She also tells me that I'm already enrolled in the class, which means that whatever I did online actually DID work but for some reason blackboard didn't show me as enrolled in anything, but it's still a big whatever because either way all I have to do now is go pay.

So I go to pay, but apparently two guys have requested transcripts, so I'm waiting. That's fine. The workers couldn't know how long I'd be in the counselors office. But here's my problem.

The picture in front of me is basically this. Three desks, three ladies, only one of them -- the one that initially started helping me-- is doing anything. To me, that's a problem. But then Lady #1 --the one that initially started helping me-- asks Lady #2 to do one of the transcripts. See, good job! Teamwork. Double up and get'er done.

Not so.

Apparently #1 was trying to walk #2 through the process or something, because Lady #2 said something akin to "I can't do it, it says I'm locked out," to which #1 replies, "Oh! We can't do it at the same time."

...Which we didn't know before now?


So #2, who by the way is standing RIGHT in front of me and using the very computer that #1 started helping me on, says, "Okay, well while you finish that, I'm going to ring her up."


#2 says nothing, and goes back to her desk. So we're back to that "not doing something, doing something, not doing something" order. 

I look at the time like, are you kidding me? And a few moments later #3, who up until this point has said nothing at all, asks who was next in line. #1 lets her know that I'm next and waiting to pay. So THEN #3 comes to ring me up.


So then I'm done at the school. I go outside. It's raining a little more. Still just mildly annoying because I now have to go home, print out shipping info, and then go to the Post Office.

Back at the house, I try one more time to plea my case to Paypal's Shipping Center, but we're still on bad terms, so I print out the shipping info, pop  my package in a plastic bag so as to protect it from nasty rain waters, and skeedaddle* over to the P.O.

Just to add insult to injury, as I'm getting out of the car I drop my key between my seat and my door. I fish out my car key. My other keychain is still stuck. To be gotten later, I suppose. And I go in. There isn't anyone in line! Perfect! Finally, something goes right!

Except that as I'm pulling my package out of the bag, I realize that I left my shipping information -- the very paper I had to make a special trip to get-- in the car. 

Fine. So I go back to the car for the slip of paper. Then on my way back in, I slip on the tile and catch myself with my kneecap. Which didn't feel awesome, but did once more add insult to injury. Literally. And then I stood in line behind one guy. That wasn't so bad, though. He didn't take long and soon I was back up at the counter, explaining that I wanted to ship with Media Mail. And I handed her the address to ship to. So she told me to go back and write the address on the front. Which, in hindsight I suppose makes sense, but at the time all I was thinking is that I usually print out a whole label for it, so I thought maybe they'd have to do the same thing.

But you know what, I don't work at the Post Office. So actually I don't feel irresponsible when I don't know all of the rules. 

So I write the address on the envelope, get back in the line again, go to the counter, hand her the package, etc., etc. She types, stamps, prints, whatever it is that she does. And I'm standing there, handing over my credit card, waiting. Then she hands me a receipt, which I take, and ask, "Does this have the tracking number on it?"

"No, you didn't ask for delivery confirmation," she says, not a hint of a smile on her face, nor a tinge of friendlyness

Oh, right. I forgot. Again. I'm supposed to know all of the rules. I'm supposed to know that I have to ask for that. Beg for that. Plead for the option. Despite the fact that when I do all this business online, the tracking number basically costs $0.18 and I don't have the option NOT to get it.

My bad.

And so that is why I'm not a huge fan of postal employees at the moment. In my recent experience, with the exception of one very friendly older man, all of the post-emps I've dealt with are much more interested in getting me the heck out of line than they are making sure I'm helped/satisfied/happy.

Maybe part of it is working in retail. Where we have the mantra, "Smile and greet within 8 feet." And where the customer is always right. And where we offer charge cards, ask how you'd like to pay, let you know if something you got is Buy1Get1Free and "Would you like to go grab another one now that I've told you?" and "You have a great day, sir or madam!" Or maybe it's just that I expect a little politeness and courtesy. 

Whatever the reason, I'm not very fond of people working in any field involving customer service who can't even find the energy to fake that they want you to be happy. Or that they care. It doesn't take that much effort to plaster a smile on. And I can bet you I'd get written up, chewed out, or both if after shoving a receipt at you I cried out, "NEXT!" and practically shoved you out the door.

For now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the next time I need to mail a package, Paypal's Shipping Center and I will be back on good terms.


Mary Malcolm said...

Aww! Poor Sarah! That sounds like a horrible *snicker*, horrible *snicker, wiping tears from my eyes* day. Seriously. *Giving up the pretend niceness, I'm just gonna laugh now*

Very funny. Actually, you should absolutely use that in a story. Torture your poor characters the same way you were tortured. The paypal dialogue is he-larry-us. Have you ever submitted anything to Reader's Digest? I think they pay something between $50 and $300 for things like that. I'm not sure which section that would go in, maybe Life in These United States, or All in a Day's Work. Either way, the extra dough might be nice.

And if I may, I'm not certain you should go out today. It's still raining. Just sayin'.

Sarah said...

Haha Yeah, I like that idea. Use the experience to make a funny scene in a story. I could just leave out the part about how that frustrating/forgetful/embarrassing series of events actually occurred in my life. You know, after I've become an alleged "adult". The kind who's supposed to be able to clothe/feed/care for herself. Be independent and all that. And NOT fall down.

I'm glad you thought it was funny. Definitely what I was going for, as I'm sure there's little other reason that reading about my "bad" morning would be interesting enough to keep you going until the end. Because that turned out to be a much longer post than I originally foresaw.

I'd love to submit stuff to Reader's Digest. I guess I should figure out how to do that! :) Thanks for the suggestion and encouragement! The extra dough is absolutely good incentive. I'll take whatever I can get! :-P

Also, just so you know, I did have to get out today (Or the 19th, for while I realize it's technically the 20th, I haven't gone to bed yet and therefore it doesn't count!) but earlier in the day it wasn't raining where I was. And later when it started raining cats and dogs, I was safely inside Kohl's for work. And I did NOT fall down. Although I have totally fallen down at work too. Actually, I fall down a lot. But that could be a whole series of stories. Short ones, yes, but plentiful just the same. :)