Friday, February 10, 2012

The Post Office

So I went to the post office yesterday to send a gift to my parents for their anniversary. 

Ideally I would send home classic novels and passes to the Smithsonian, but alas I was not blessed with “those” parents. Instead I packed a box filled with incense, candles, and matching hemp jumpsuits. 

I arrived at the post office, already feeling embarrassed about my package, and patiently waited in line. 

I watched as a fat man with a greasy parcel sailed though. An old woman carrying a package literally tied with string, no problem. A bearded man in a turban wearing an “I hate America” shirt walked passed me with no problems. Okay, fine. Maybe his shirt actually said “Miller Lite” and his beard was blond, but I stand by my initial judgment. But, somehow, when it’s my turn to mail a package, I need to be inspected. 

Anyway, so the all-powerful woman behind the counter asks me, “is there anything flammable in there?” I say, “No.” She says, “I’m sorry, we need to check.” Apparently I’m customer 100! Yea me! So, I open up my box and the woman behind the counter turns away and requests backup. 

Seriously? “Is there a problem?” I ask. The woman converses in concerned tones with several co-workers before returning to me and stating, with all sincerity, “I’m sorry, but you cannot mail these candles. They’re flammable.” 

I took a moment to look around for some sort of candid camera; any indication that this was all a big joke. But there was nothing. I leaned in and quietly asked, as a way to preserve her dignity, “More flammable than the cardboard box they’re packed in?” “I’m sorry,” she said, her face not budging an inch, “we just can’t allow candles to be shipped because they are flammable.” 

Looking back at the inpatient line of mailers who clearly had no interest in my battle against the imperialistic postal system, I had no choice but to succumb. “Fine,” I said begrudgingly as I removed the wax candles from the cardboard box. 

You’ve won this match post office. They won’t all be that easy.

Dr. Em


  1. Give up on the USPS, the UPS guys have it under control. Apparently it is against the law to mail beer (look into the three tear sales system the US established years ago for the sake of distribution) the USPS will prosecute if the discover you have mailed beer through them even if it is homemade. Over the holidays my friend received a sincere letter of apology from the UPS people offering to replace one of the broken bottles of beer he sent to family. More than anything I believe the USPS employees know their days are numbered and the UPS folks are more than willing to accept any ones business.

  2. Well, it's nice to know I'm not alone. Wait.... you don't work for UPS do you? That'd be extra sneaky of you. I do agree they do much better work though. You know how the liquor stores always give away old boxes? So, a few years ago I tried to mail some non-alcoholic things in said boxes and was turned away by the evil postmen. UPS simply put stickers over the liquor labels and sent them off with a smile. Seriously, i could go on for days. Thanks for the advice!

    Dr. Em