Thursday, February 07, 2008

(Not) Going Postal

I hereby interrupt the regularly scheduled programming (happy 10 months, little Baby Bumpy Gums!) to wonder about the requirements it takes to be employed at my local post office. Apparently it's not the ability to heft a package and estimate its approximate weight, comprehend their own postage weight charts or even read a scale correctly. I've had good experiences there recently, but today's was so bad that I can't help but speculate.

To his credit, today's employee was proactive in looking for people he could "help" and led me back to his little independent package station. At this point I should probably note that there was only one other person helping customers and there were approximately six people in line before me. I had a small, extremely light package to mail to the US and a registered letter to pick up. He took the package over to a scale along the wall (far enough away that I couldn't read the amount), came back, consulted a chart, and informed me that would be 72 euros, please.

!

I informed him right back that was too expensive and I wanted to ship it the cheapest way, assuming he was accidentally giving me the super priority next day rate. This started a rapid back-and-forth discussion in which we determined that he was not giving me the price for the right zone. I had to tell him that the US was in zone 3, which he denied but eventually caved when I took his chart from him and showed him where the US was listed.

The next price he gave was 42 euros which was still ludicrously expensive. We then started another back and forth discussion in which he referred to the weight he had initially scrawled on my package, starting with a "4" and ending with 2 numbers that neither of us could read. I do realize I have a slight advantage over him in that I've been hauling a baby around and am pretty good with weights under 7.5 kilos, but still it should have been obvious that my package was nowhere near 4 kilos. He ended up going back to the scale, realizing that it was in fact POINT 4 of a single kilo which brought the price down to 21 euros. I looked back at his chart and that was apparently the cheapest price I could get so I accepted.

Now, I ask you what would have happened if someone (I can't imagine who) had actually been gullible enough to accept being overcharged by 50 euros. Was he trying to cover his gambling debts at the racetrack? Was he part of a hidden camera experiment trying to study people going into rages at government employees?

Anyway, it doesn't stop there. When he found out I didn't have cash, he said he couldn't take checks and told me I'd have to get back in line to be served at the other window. As I was turning around to check out the line (7 people in front of me at the moment), he grabbed my ID and went back to get my registered letter. While I was waiting for him, 3 more people got in line to make a total of 10.

In the past I've seen people really rip into the post office people, although I seem to limit my outbursts to the Secu. Today I didn't have the energy to argue, plus my daughter was there and I try not to yell in front of her. I also believe in karma so merely satisfied myself with giving him a look to let him know I was inconvenienced by my potential position in line as Customer #11, heaved a big sigh and walked out the door.

Maybe I can sweet-talk my husband into mailing the package next time...

6 comments:

Samantha said...

Oh lord, don't even get me started! The post office in my town is unbelievably slow, so I often run to the one in the town where I teach in between classes. I swear the lady there is bi-polar. She is so nice to me if it's just me and her, but the minute anyone else is around, she turns into an uber-bitch. It's like she doesn't want anyone to know she's being nice to a foreigner.

I was in there Monday trying to mail Flat Stanley back to the US asap, and she started off being all helpful and friendly, but the minute another customer came in, she got all cold and kept rolling her eyes and doing the French sigh. I was like "WTF?" It really pissed me off b/c she was in the middle of offering to go get me some bubble wrap from the back office to protect Flat Stanley when the lady came in. So I asked her about it while paying, and she just said "Listen, it's not my problem you didn't think of that beforehand"!!! I was so pissed - but the LP people in my own town are completely incompetent, so I don't dare start going back there either!

L-Dizzle said...

I'm delurking to say hi! and also to say ARGH!!! right along with you. I know La Poste can be such a nightmare all over France, I've mostly had good luck, but I'm bound to run into something like that one of these days...

Leah said...

Ok, ignore that name...for some reason I get signed in as that sometimes even though I have no recollection of making up that name! Weird...

Chris said...

Eep! What a story! Btw, I gave you an award on my blog.

Pardon My French said...

Sam -- Your story is as bad as my story! But on the other hand, maybe you are the only one who gets to see her nice side and she's scared the other people will take advantage of her once they find out she doesn't eat babies for dinner. Hee...

Hi, Leah -- thanks for delurking and I'm looking forward to checking out your blog.

Chris -- Thank you so much! Totally made my week. :)

Taj Nahal said...

Oh the woes of La Poste! They've dramatically increased their prices in the last few years (from 2005 to 2008), and shipping to the US usually yields horrific rates. I remember moving from France twice to the States, and spending hundreds of euros on shipping several boxes back the States.
I also noticed they almost always pushed the pre-boxed packages that were first class, even when I insisted that I could put more in my own boxes that weighed more, and pay less to ship second class...