Saturday, May 9, 2020

A Post Office Of Yesteryear - Today

Sold some Tapco 10 round AK-47 mags recently to a guy back in NY. Received the money order from him yesterday; only found it in the mail box when it was already too late to get the mags sent out so waited until today. Took a look to see which post offices were open near me and as per Google Maps, none near me were open. There was one open that was about 17 miles away in Hope, AR but it was closing with 20 minutes of me checking. There was another in Ogden, AR scheduled to open within a half hour of my inquiry, and I figured since I was not doing anything else better I'd head there.

The ride was pleasant and the post office easy to find. It was one of those quaint little post offices consisting of a small building and had its own parking lot in which you could squeeze about all of four to five vehicles. Sign on the door said masks were required so on mine went and I went inside. Only one person ahead of me but while I had the package with the mags to send out, I had forgotten the $40.05 money order in my car that I wanted to cash and use to pay for the postage. Went outside and got it and then there were two folks ahead of me. The clerk seemed very confused dealing with the guy already at the counter. Once he was done with, she handled the next person quickly. My turn and I asked the clerk if she could cash the m/o. She did not know, said she was new and had to make a call because she was uncertain if that was allowed. Made the call and said she could not cash it because she only had $100 in her drawer.

Oh well, I'd pay cash to send the parcel. She looked up the postage for the medium sized flat rate box I was using at told me it would be $14.35. Being she was new, I asked her to check again because as per the USPS website, the postage is $15.05 for a flat rate medium Priority Mail box. She looked at the aged chart stuck to the counter top and said something to the effect that 'No, it's $14.35'. I said okay, I would not argue and be glad to pay less. She took $15.00 from me and gave me 65 cents change. 

I waited for my receipt until it became obvious she was not going to give one and then I asked her for it. She fumbled around, slowly punched the keys several times on her calculator, printed up the result from the calculator, stamped that little maybe 3" stub of paper with a post mark, fumbled with the post mark then stamped it again. Then she handed it to me with another small slip of paper with a thin band of a sticker on it. When I asked what was that -she said the receipt. I was flummoxed. I asked where was the typical register receipt, printed out with the tracking number, the zip code and town to where being sent, the date it was being sent, the time it was being sent, the amount paid, and the expected date of delivery among other things. She looked at me with kind of a panicked doe in the headlights gaze and said "WHAT"! I explained I wanted a normal receipt as I have gotten in every other post office I have used in the past ten or more years. She said what she gave me was the normal receipt along with the tracking number. 

I handed her the 65 cents change back and told her to give me a refund and that I'd send the package elsewhere. She handed me cash back that I did not bother counting (shame on me because it was a dollar short, as well as being a new postal clerk she also was no math wiz). I realized she had shorted me when I got in my car but just drove away, I figured she'd maybe start crying if I told her she had miscounted.

The box will be mailed from a real post office, where I will get a real receipt, on Monday and not from one that is using the type of receipt they used in small out in the middle of nowhere podunk post offices in the middle of the last century. It's a wonder the post office is still in business.

All the best,
Glenn B