Return To Sender
Today I made a woman cry at the post office. Oh yeah, Merry Christmas from me!
I got there right at noon; normally they have 3 or 4 clerks at the counter, but with it being lunch there were only 2; one of them was helping a person who had about 15 packages they were trying to get off. The other was taking the trickle of people; there was only one person in line ahead of me, so I figured I’d hit the post office jackpot.
I got in line, and within a minute there were 15-20 people behind me. I felt even luckier, if I’d hit one more red light along the way, I’d be at the end of that line.
And then it happened. The lone person ahead of me got to the counter, and immediately started to whine. I kid you not, this was a fully grown woman whining in the voice one might expect out of a very tired and cranky 4 year old. She’d gotten an envelope from the wall display, where she saw a sign that said “39 cents.” The envelope she’d chosen, however, was 99 cents. And she didn’t want to pay the difference. She really didn’t want to pay the different. She let everyone know she didn’t want to pay the difference.
The clerk very patiently tried to explain to her the cheaper envelopes were right under that sign and she’d picked one from the display just under that, and showed her where, on the envelope, the price was clearly marked.
Well, now she didn’t want it. Not at 99 cents.
Sorry, m’am, but you already addressed it, you have to pay for it.
For three or four minutes, she argued. She demanded to see a supervisor. The poor clerk’s eyes got wide, and he said—nicely—it’s only 60 cents difference. It didn’t matter; she wanted that envelope at 39 cents.
He went to get a supervisor; she, too, told the woman she was sorry, but she’d written on that envelope and had to pay for it. And again the woman whined but I don’t waaaaaant it now.
This is when I’d had it. I wasn’t especially nice, but I piped up, “Look, if it’ll speed things up, I’ll give you 75 cents for the envelope.”
If looks could kill. She spun around and whined “It’s not the money, I have the money, it’s the point.”
“But it’s just sixty cents.”
“It’s the point!”
Thumper no longer cared; I took a deep breath and seethed, “The point is that you’re holding up an entire line of people who are holding heavy packages over sixty cents. Either take it from me, or pay it yourself, just pay it already.”
At least ten people behind me were snickering. The clerk was trying not to smile.
Envelope Lady burst into tears. “But the sign says it’s thirty nine cents!”
Okay, this is when I started to feel like perhaps I’d made a huge mistake. Here was a woman who looked to be about thirty years old crying over sixty cents. She either wasn’t quite stable, her emotional age was not the same as her chronological age, or she was completely stressed out and was about to go postal in the post office.
I felt bad, yet I also didn’t. Kind of that, ohhhh, I should have been more patient and/or kept my mouth shut feeling. Yet if I hadn’t said anything, we probably would have been there an hour later while she argued in that spoiled little-kid voice about having to pay for an envelope she’d written on.
I probably ruined her day.
Or maybe she got to her car and realized how foolish she’d sounded to the entire post office. Over sixty cents.
OTOH, after I left there I went to buy doggy toothpaste (poultry flavored, yum… anything has to smell better than the poop-breath he already has) and decided to buy the PsychoKitty his Christmas present. I’d been eyeing it but it was more than I wanted to spend. I decided the hell with it, Max was getting it no matter that it costs too much.
I got to the self-cashier thingy, scanned it, and it was on sale. Half off.