Friday, January 20, 2012

Post Office Conversation


We have an odd arrangement for postal services in my wee outport. Some families receive delivery to their homes, other, 'newer' (from fifty years ago and sooner) families have to go to their designated PO Box inside the post office and use a key to retrieve theirs.

All well and good, one might say. Except the sole post office master also runs the hardware, grocery and gas divisions of the store and has to go across the street to his house for housekeeping reasons and shut up shop many times during the day, without notice.

His hours are mysterious and unposted on his door. He is often spotted behind the counter cutting up vegetables for his dinner on top of outgoing post. And slicing cheese for sale in the shop with no protective gloves, hairnet or sanitized surface.

I could write a comedy about the post office. But I have to live here after all. But to gutsplitting laughter I have performed a skit for a few close friends on how it all operates. I won't even start in on telling you now how the post office became computerized. That is an entire post by itself.

Yesterday I go to pick up my mail and as usual the flyers are jammed into my box and the legitimate mail has barely enough room to fit. On top of this there is the baffling card ("parcel behind the counter for you!") which I hand to Peter (not his real name). His tongue finds his cheek as he puzzles the card and he looks under the counter, over the counter, into a box full of how many unfortunates', and possibly long dead addressees', mail.

"Don't see it", he says to me.

"Well I did receive one parcel in the mailbox" I say to him helpfully.

"Let me see that," he says.

I hand it over.

"Ah that's it!" he says, fussing with his computer.

"How do you know there aren't two parcels?" I say. I have long since developed an enormous tolerance for the weird happenings in my post office. I no longer wear my Big City Girl Pants. And notice how I haven't even gotten into outgoing mail challenges have I?

"A good guess." he says, leaving me wondering when I will get the call that he found the carded parcel.

"Look Peter," I say as I leave, "You must be forgetting. I don't want the flyers, they cram my mailbox, I don't read them and the paper is too shiny to burn in the woodstove so they end up in the trash. I just hate the waste and...."

"You keep asking about that," he says, "For years now."

"And you keep saying you will take care of it. I know you're busy...is there anyone else I can call about this, like head office?"

"Ah, no, no, don't do that. I'll take care of it."

"If you don't mind me asking, what do you have to do to stop it going into my mailbox?"

"It's simple really," Peter leans over the counter confidentially.

"I'm all ears!" I smile.

"I put a red sticker on the backside of your mailbox for the postal guy to see and he knows not to deliver the flyers."

"Could I help you then? Could I go into the room and put the red sticker on for you?"

"I wish it were that simple, girl. I really do."

"You mean I can't go back there, like rules are rules?"

"No, I ran out of red stickers a while back."

26 comments:

  1. that is hilarious (if you don't live there i guess LOL) you have to write some more about this ;)

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  2. CC12:
    I'm sure glad this blog is anonymous, there would be a contract out on me for sure!
    XO
    WWW

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  3. I loved it. Bring him one red sticker next time you call!

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  4. next time your in a "big" town, buy 'ol Peter some red stickers ;)

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  5. Thanks for the chuckle! Let's hope you really are anonymous.
    I'm amazed that the Post office in our little outport is open 6 days a week - I can't imagine what there is to do for all that time.(It's not a multipurpose building!) We do get the flyers as we don't get much other mail while we are there and it gives us the excuse to go in for a chat!

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  6. It's a good thing that you can laugh about it because it would raise my hackles. I guess I'm not as tolerant as you are. The man is obviously incompetent.

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  7. I shall never complain again about the minor annoyances at my local post office. I shall be grateful for the streamlined efficiency of our postal service. I don't think I would have your tolerance for Peter's mysterious arrangements.

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  8. GM:
    He might be insulted. We tread carefully in the post office water of the outports!
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Pauline:
    Then I'd never get my mail from him!
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Linda:
    Ours is actually 'open' 7 days a week, in between the closings. he is a very nice man, holds my mail when needed, lets me run a tab for outgoing mail which I can leave outside the door when he's closed, etc.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Nora:
    Oh that is a bit harsh. I have no choice living where I am and as I said above he is a nice man. Just the job is way beyond what it was even 5 years ago and there is no one on earth who would take on the job.
    XO
    WWW

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  12. Nick:
    I had to get used to it. Leave all that big city stuff behind me. No choice out here on the edge of the Atlantic!
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Aha! It seems like a great marketing idea: make everyone call in for their mail - and purchase groceries from him while there.

    After some time away from blogging world, I've just been catching up on you.

    It proved a delightful half hour - as always.

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  14. See - I knew there had to be more positives than negatives! After all it is Newfoundland! ;)

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  15. Small town life, isn't it fun. I can sing a song about that too. We have a proper postmistress - the post office is in the grocery shop - with a little cubicle and a computerised cost calculator. If, for some reason, the computer isn't working, you can buy a stamp but there is nobody to tell you to which value.

    If your letter or parcel needs weighing, or needs to go outside the country, you've had it. And if that happens to be before Christmas, you're in trouble.

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  16. Thanks for the good words, RJA. No I don't buy groceries there as they are all past their "sell by" date and I don't dare even touch the stuff he cuts up so unhygienically (cheese, cold cuts.)
    XO
    WWW

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  17. Oh Friko,
    Yours sounds so very much more sophisticated than ours....cubicle?
    Wow! :)
    XO
    WWW

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  18. What I want to know is this.Did you buy him some red stickers?

    Hilarious post WWW!!!

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  19. Lovely post, WWW! :-D

    Reminded me a bit of my parent's stint in sub-post offices-cum-shops in the UK. Not that my Dad was anything like "Peter", but we certainly had some fun and near scrapes trying to balance the books on Friday nights, whenever I was at home helping out. (Before computers, of course!)

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  20. GFB:
    I've bought him stuff before but it winds up in the massive black hole that is somewhere under the all purpose post office table (cards that people beg for in the shop and that he won't carry, tape for parcels).
    Waste of time.
    XO
    WWW

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  21. T:
    You wouldn't believe the image of Peter with pencil and paper (seriously) and a tattered notebook doing his balancing.
    Yeah, you would!
    XO
    WWW

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  22. I wish that I could be a fly on the wall when you next visit the post office!

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  23. By my magic powers, Ramana, I hereby make you a fly on the wall this afternoon!
    XO
    WWW

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  24. I like to see that master having two position a post master at the same time businessman, a real multi skill.

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  25. I once forgot to empty one of my families mail boxes because I didn't know you had to do that with a apartment. Thankfully it wasn't overflowing with mail.

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