Tag Archives: delivery

The Postal Service: We Deliver Zombies

RT, Prority Mail, 008Today’s the day. I can just feel it. It’s 10:15 – exactly between the time the Post Office opens when everybody’s trying to get ahead of everybody else and noon when everybody’s sneaking over on their break. I already notice the parking lot’s far less full. Not a whole lot of people mulling around the place either. Yes!

I enter through the squeaky, automatic glass door, turn left, and there they are – twenty-five people, all holding packages, snaked around the long desk in the middle of the room. The shock and awe on my face must resemble what I look like after having sat on a tack. Or the face on the guy in Munch’s painting, “The Scream.” All I want to do is get the right postage to send off an 8×11 manilla folder containing a long letter to my friend.

I should have known better. Next time, I’ll write my letters here, right on the desk while I’m waiting in line – I’ll have time to compose ten pages if I want.

As Customer Number Twenty-six, I try to regain control by calculating just how long I might be here. Too depressing. Bored, I read the poster on the wall, “Summer Stamps.” It’s November now, not summer, which reminds me it was June when they discontinued the automated customer ticket system. Yet, on the digital wall counter, number 32 still flickers, presumably left over from Customer Number 32 on that long-lost June day. I imagine him still standing here, a zombie, holding a parcel in his rigor mortice-stiff arms.

As Customer Number Twenty-seven enters, I now get to enjoy his look of shock and awe. Same with Customer Number Twenty-eight. (Edward Munch must have frequented post offices.) Customer Twenty-nine turns around and leaves (along with impatient Number Eighteen who follows suit). Now we’re getting somewhere!

There’s five clerk postal bays in front of us. I’ve never seen five postal clerks in here – ever. Today’s there’s three. If the customers looked dead, the clerks come across as coldly limp, at best. One goes in the back and never returns. Did she die back there, die with all the others who’ve never returned to serve us? Just wondering.

I notice one clerk’s been with a customer for ten minutes. When did sending mail get so complicated? What could they possibly be talking about? What’s he mailing – air bags, cremated remains, ammunition?

But now I see the clerk smile. Hey, he’s not supposed to smile or chill or chat! He’s here to serve us – and fast. But can I blame him? Why speed up and service 500 irritated customers a day when you can get away with 300? Even 300 – isn’t that slow death for any clerk to serve in one overworked day?

I see the next customer has 8 packages. I hate Christmas. I hate it already. And it’s only early November. Someone embalm me – now.

So, as I stand here waiting in line, I compose my “Ways to Improve the United States Postal Service” list:

*Just sell stamps

*Let customers redeem their two foot-long Post Office receipts for stamps

*Eliminate Christmas altogether

*Or just disband, like aging rock groups do. Living Death, Crushed Butler and Lucifer’s Friend did (their names gone, but not forgotten, explaining exactly how I feel right now – probably Postal workers, too).

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Filed under Blog, The Daily Thought

Remember This? COD – Cash on Delivery

codfish 003We’d just moved to another city. Change was everywhere in my life. Mom and Dad worked full time now to pay for our new, swanky mortgage, leaving me alone with lots of time on my hands.

That’s when I got into trouble.

“Send no money! COD. Order today!”

Send no money? Get free fish? Codfish? The white meat stuffed in our fish stick dinners?

Then I realized how cod would go bad, really bad, if someone sent it in the mail. Reading the COD magazine ads closer, they weren’t for codfish but all kinds of things, and things you didn’t have to pay for. Wow, how’s that possible? Who cares – what should I get first?

I tinkered with acquiring the incredible weather balloon offered on page eighty-seven. I couldn’t take my eyes off a photo of the tiny man standing next to a huge balloon in his yard. For only $2.98, plus tax, I could get my own balloon and never have to pay a dime in charges, tax, or postage. No wonder the tiny man looked so happy.

Then again, why should I get something so cheap when I wasn’t paying for it?

One Saturday afternoon a few weeks later, I heard footsteps on our front sidewalk. The mailman was here to deliver my package, care of the kind people at COD.

When I looked through the gap in the window curtains, it wasn’t the mailman, but somebody in a dark suit holding a suitcase. Oh, no. Somebody from school. What did I do wrong? Mom and Dad are home. They can’t know he’s here.

I ran to the front door before my suited caller could knock.

“Oh. Hello. How are you? Are you Master Michael Andberg?”

“Uh, no, I’m not.”

“You’re not Master Michael Andberg of 9218 Whitney Street?”

“I think that’s my father, but he’s not home.”

“Your father?”

“Mom’s not home either.

The man looked over at the two cars parked in front of our house.

“I see. Well, I’m from Miracle-ear, and what I have here was ordered by a Master Michael Andberg at this address for cash on delivery $39.95, plus tax.”

“But it’s COD. It’s free. There’s no cost, tax either.”

“May I speak with your parents?”

I wanted to say, “My parents aren’t here. They’re at the polio clinic,” but settled on, “No one here is deaf, sir.”

“Are you sure your parents aren’t home? Because I’d be happy to answer any questions they might have about the revolutionary Miracle-ear.”

“It must be for next door. They’re old.”

“You don’t have to be old, Michael, to use a Miracle-ear and reap the benefits that improved hearing brings for people of all ages.”

“We all had our hearing tests in school this year, and Mom and Dad are still young.”

“Well, I’m sorry to have taken your time, Michael. Perhaps another day soon when your parents are home, all right? Till then, good-bye.”

What if he came and Mom and Dad answered the door first? What if the police came, too, not to mention guys from the magazine? What would I say? “It wasn’t my fault. COD is false advertising. I thought COD meant free fish, free fish for our whole family to eat.”

It was time to cool it for a while, try and be a normal kid for a change.

Change, change, change. I’d need a miracle to get through it.

miracle-ear 002

 

 

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Filed under Blog, Remember This?