It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I avoid human interaction

I realized yesterday I hadn't had human interaction at the post office for three years, and now I realize that was a beautiful thing.  In Indy, there was an automated system, so I could do what I needed to do, including printing out the packaging slip, without ever talking to anyone.

Fast forward to Chicago.  My nearest post office doesn't have an automated system, because let's face it, that would be too easy.  I had the privilege of getting waited on yesterday by a very unhappy looking woman.  I politely told her I didn't have an address label on it, because I normally did that with an automated system.  She let out a deep sigh, and told me I would need to get out of line, and go to the "Shipping Center" to get a label.  Annoying, because I know she has some behind her desk.  Isn't that a post office worker staple?

So I go to the "Shipping Center" and realize there are 999 labels to choose from.  Great.  I pick one that says "Priority Mail," and I grab a pen to write.  Only I realize the ink part of the pen has been taken out.  I go to the next station, and the pen doesn't work.  I go to the final station, and there isn't even a pen at the end of the chain.  So I get back in line.

Unfortunately, the other workers are busy, so Miss Unhappy calls me up.  I smile and say, "It's me again!" only she doesn't look amused.  She exclaims, "You got a priority mail sticker!" implying my package will now cost $1 million to send.

"Okay," I say, "What does that mean?"
"It will be more expensive," she says and tries to convince me to get out of line and get another sticker.  Luckily I ask her to tell me how much more this will be.  She sighs and looks it up.  She tells me $5.00 total.  Seriously?  I think I can pay $5.00.  I ask to borrow her pen, and she makes me get out of line again while I fill out the information.

My experience leads to this advice: If you have to choose between using a real person or a machine, opt for the machine.  It will treat you with more respect.

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