Thursday, February 19, 2009

Post Office Love

This may seem silly, but yesterday the Post Office employees managed to lift my spirits from the basement. You see, in a rush, I had printed a lot of mailing labels (woohoo, sales!) and not changed the "sent from" zip code from my South Dakota address to my actual location where the packages would be mailed from. So I voided all the postage, then printed new postage, brought the packages to the RV park office to be mailed and went about my day. Until I realized that one of the packages went out with the voided label. Oh crap. I didn't even know what to do in this situation, so I got angry at myself, of course and was unable to think for awhile. I called the general USPS number, but that was just a big automated maze that compounded my frustration. So I just went to the post office where a real employee would hopefully take pity on me and tell me what to do.

The very nice woman at the counter seemed genuinely concerned for my plight, despite it being my own fault and reassured me that there are ways to get packages back once they've been handed to the carrier. Halleluja! I just had to wait a half hour until the secretaries got back from lunch and I'd be in business.

After a hurried lunch at the Safeway next door, I headed to the secret door off to the side of the counter at the Post Office and rang the bell. I was admitted to an office like any other office and greeted by a lovely woman named Caroline. She was just as concerned for my plight as the clerk and was very encouraging. Apparently, if you're going to screw up and have to recall a package, buying postage online with a tracking number and knowing the address where the carrier picked it up is the best thing you can do. Now you know. After a brief form and an assurance that she WOULD find my package, I went on my way. I totally trusted her, because she was a fellow lefty.

Sure enough, at around 5 o'clock I got the call that my package had been found. I picture Caroline ambushing the carrier as he walked in the back door and rooting through his mail bags, though that's probably not quite how it happened. Since it was after business hours, she told me to pick it up with Tina, a night supervisor and gave me instructions to get to the bulk mail acceptance door. This is not my first experience with bulk mail as I used to be in charge of a non-profit newsletter from start to finish, and this included bulk mailing it. But in Concord, NH, the bulk mail acceptance was not in the middle of everything. In Redding, it is.

I rang the doorbell as instructed and was buzzed in to a warehouse filled with activity. People were unloading mail trucks, carrying mail to and fro and the noise was incredible. A man noticed me by the door and came and buzzed me through a second gate after I told him I was there to see Tina. He led me to an even bigger room filled with all the sorting machines. It was awesome! I've never seen what happens to the mail once it goes into a box, but it's amazing everything doesn't get lost. Redding is a town of 90,000 and the quantities of mail were immense. Boxes and boxes and huge sorting conveyor belts and machines I had no hope of identifying.

The man who opened the door for me had developed a very loud voice and managed to shout to a woman who was so far away she was practically a speck and let her know what I needed. She interrupted whatever she was doing to bring me my package and was sweet and nice, making small talk while she checked my ID and I signed the paperwork.

So there you have it; a two fold lesson about why you shouldn't rush (that's how I screwed up in the first place) and also that even when you're having a terrible day, there are people willing to help you. If I did this every day, maybe not so much, but they were incredibly helpful. I was very careful to not let my anger at myself seep over to my interactions with them, which probably didn't hurt their desire to help me. Because, really, who wants to help a grouch? No one.

I realize this may be the most boring post ever, but I was just so thankful I had to give a shout out to these folks!


  1. So good to hear! I've had nothing but good experiences at our local post office. I can see this totally happening to me too so I'm glad I can have faith that a mail mistake can be fixed!

  2. I know, it made me feel better to know that mail mess ups can be fixed! Glad your post office is good too - I think the stereotypes are wrong! Have a great day!

  3. Hey! I work for the post office (but I work in an office which oversees mail for three big town with a population of 60,000 and two smaller towns with populations of 2,000 and 4,000.)

    I'm a substitute carrier but in case you were wondering....Caroline didn't tackle your carrier as soon as she found him! I'm guessing you have city carriers in your area (ones who mainly walk from house to house and only drive from block to block to park the truck and walk in a circle). City carriers usually work well past office hours and arrive back to the office anywhere from 3:30-6:30...which would explain why you had to go pick it up after hours!

    I'm a substitute for rural carriers in my office, and we get back a bit earlier than the city carriers. I know that if you had been my customer, I would have probably gotten called on my cellphone and told to put the package aside, and if I didn't hear my phone ring I would come back to a note taped to my case (where we sort the mail in the morning). Only once has my manager actually chased me down on a route, and he had a hard time following his own directions! LOL

    I found you from Artfire, btw. :)

  4. Hi Megan-
    Thanks for visiting! I was having such fun imagining a tackle in the backroom, but I guess reality is more efficient!