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East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Coots At The Post Office - A Lethal Combination

Maybe I'm just unlucky. About three weeks ago I went the the Agaña (sorry, Hagåtña) post office to collect a package. For some inscrutable reason the Postal Service only had one clerk working the counter. I stood in line for 45 minutes waiting to pick up a package, along with about 50 other people.

Now the wait is going to be long whenever there's only one dude working the counter, but this line was particularly stymied by one old man. Hell, if ever there was a definitive 'coot' this guy was it. Old salty sea Navy veteran, washed up on Guam's shores and looking like Robinson Crusoe. Wiry build, wild white hair, bushy white beard, scrimshaw tattoos all over his arms, cracked look in his eye... in other words, a crazy ass old coot. Mind you, not the deranged homeless type of coot, just a stubborn old fart with too much time on his hands.

That old coot tied up that poor clerk almost the entire time I was there, complaining about how some tires got shipped or something. Who the hell ships truck tires? Old coots apparently, though they don't like paying the postage due when them big ass tires arrive. He yelled, cussed and pleaded with the beleaguered clerk for 30 long minutes while nobody else got served. I was pretty damn steamed, hell everybody was pissed off in that line - just because this old fart's got nothing better to do than harangue postal workers doesn't mean I need to waste all afternoon waiting for my package.

Partly it's his fault for being an old coot, but mostly I blame the Post Office for only having one clerk working the counter during lunch time rush. Hell, I was all excited when a second clerk slowly came forward, assembled his materials, logged onto his terminal, counted his cash, set the date on his postmark and finally started seeing customers. Finally two clerks to handle this unruly mob. Of course as soon as the old coot was finished ranting and wandered off in a disgruntled fog the original clerk promptly shut down his terminal and walked away. Now that's customer service for ya baby. Fuck those people, I'm a lazy mope with a federal job. Think I'll go take a nap now...

Fast forward to this morning. I received another package slip in yesterday's mail, so I stopped off at the post office to collect my new booty. And who's standing in line three people ahead of me? Crazy old coot! I know this is going to be ugly and sure enough, when he gets his turn at the counter off he pulls out a oily sheaf of documents and starts in on the hapless clerk about how the post master needs to apologize and he better yadda yadda yadda or else he was gonna write a letter yakkity yak yak.

Mercifully there was another clerk at the counter so I was able to bypass the coot and get my newest toy, a Garmin eTrex Legend GPS from REI. Now I know that the office in Tamuning is a 13°29'45.5" N and 144°46'54.8" E and 49 meters above sea level. So I guess my new toy more than makes up for the inconvenience of old coots.

2 Comments:

  • The same thing happens at the post office here, Thomas. Not the old coot part, but the part about there being just one clerk when you've got 50 people in line. And another worker will come in do something in that area and leave again. And you just want to yell, "Hey, can't you see all of us standing here?! How about some service here!" It's no wonder the USPS has got some competition with FedEx and UPS, but really there are things the USPS does that no one else can help you with.

    By Merm, at 11:20 PM  

  • Come on, don't you know lunch time is for lunch? Federal employees gotta eat too, ya know. You are asking WAY too much to have them upset their busy schedules and arrange their lunches in a staggered manner sometime other than the hour between noon and one.

    I thought this was just a Guam phenomenon, but Houston is exactly the same. Just that there are TWO large post offices in my neighborhood running at 10% capacity during the lunchtime. Plus when you actually DO get to the counter, you get even more attitude than I recall at the Hagatna PO.

    And where do "old goats" fall into the heirarchy? I'm aiming for old goat status down the road, but will fall back on geezer if I need to. I will also be cruising most cool in my Honda Stranger.

    By CC, at 12:49 AM  

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