Yesterday, I was pointing the moral equivalent of my middle-finger to the post office all day in my heart.
I reiterate what I have previously said. I don't mean to be redundant, but the experience I had this week is, I believe, much more convincing as to the evils of monopolies, particularly those run by the generally incompetent government.
Let me start at the beginning.
So, Jay gets a phone-call from my dad, the Saturday during my surprise visit , to let Jay know that my family has switched from Cingular to Verizon (yes, I'm still on my families' plan...) and so he may not be able to get a hold of me as my phone will no longer work. (Don't worry, they didn't bother trying to tell me about it at all). So all of a sudden, I have no cell phone. Luckily, I had only slight delays flying back to SJC, because if I had another 5 hour incident, having no phone would have been terribly inconvenient. So anyway, my mom double-checks my new Stanford address and sends it on its way on Monday, October 22, 2007.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007, evening, Lyman mailroom:
Yessss, a package slip! My cell phone must be here now! On the slip it says my package will be ready to pick up at the Stanford PO the next day. Having learned my lesson about the slowness of every USPS office (yes, I've sampled quite a few across the country) and having a rather large impatience problem, I decide to go first thing in the morning, to avoid waiting in line.
Thursday, October 25, 2007, 9AM, Stanford PO: Yessss, only 3 people in front of me. (10 minutes later...) I hand the dude my slip. He looks at it, "Oh," he says. "We have not received the truckload of packages yet today. I'll go check, but it's probably not here". He leaves. (10 minutes go by...) "Yep, I was right, come back sometime after 1pm today. It should be here by then".
Thursday, October 25, 2007, 1:15PM, Stanford PO:
Of course, there is quite a line... 30 minutes pass and it's finally my turn. I begin to realize that convenient communication will finally be mine. I hand my slip to a lady this time. "I'm sorry, but we have not received any packages today. You better come back tomorrow, sometime after 1". I leave, very deflated and slightly annoyed. No worries, I will at least get my cell-phone for the weekend.
Friday, October 26, 2007, 1:00PM, Stanford PO:
Yesss, there is only one person in front of me for the package line! We wait, behind a closed door. I turn to the kid in front of me "Did you ring the bell already?", "No, but the guy saw me". Ok, this is a Stanford student, he must know what he's talking about. 3 minutes pass, a line is accruing behind us, the kid finally rings the bell. 2 more minutes pass, one of the regular PO people yell, "how many times have you rung the bell? Maybe try it again". (Note to self, always ring the bell multiple times because perhaps when the sign says "ring bell for service" it actually means that it can only be heard when you know the secret number of times you're supposed to ring it.) So he rings it again. A short dark-haired man emerges from the door next to the one we're waiting behind, bearing a sign that reads "Please pick-up packages in main line today". He tapes it on the service window and goes back into his hole. By this time, we have probably 10 or so people waiting in line. We all snake around and get in the back of an already 7-person line.
20 minutes later...
I finally have made my way up to the desk. I can almost feel the cold, hard phone in my hands and see my reflection in it's shiny new screen. I hand her the package slip. "One minute please" she tells me as she walks off to the left.
4 minutes pass... she emerges from the right. "I'm sorry," she begins, "I can't find it, so I'm having my supervisor look for it. Would you mind stepping aside while I help the next customer?" I politely step aside and stare off into space, wishing they would just let me back there...
8 minutes pass... the same short man emerges. "I'm sorry, we have not received our shipment of packages yet today. The truck has just pulled up and we're expecting 3 more. Would you mind giving me your phone number so we can call you when it gets here?" A nice gesture, I think, "Actually, no, you can't call me because the package contains my new cell-phone", realizing that they'd probably never call me ANYWAY, I add, "could I get yours, so that I can call you?" and then realize that I have no phone and won't be able to do that either... He gives me the number and tells me to try back later that day. Yeah right.
On a slightly related note, my mom emails me today:
Subject: Where are you?
You haven't responded to my phone calls. Are you still in MA? I thought you were there for just the weekend. Let me know you're ok.