Thursday, January 12, 2006

Speaking up for a persecuted minority

I mean the US Postal Service.

I've heard a lot of people complaining about the post office generally, and specifically about the rise in rates and the lack of 2 cent stamps. But I think the postal service is getting a bum rap. How far would you carry a letter for 39 cents?

Postal employees are trying to get rid of their negative image. Our mailman is friendly and courteous, and the people in my local post office are pleasant and helpful, but that's anecdotal evidence. Everyone has a horror story of lost mail, packages not delivered on time, and rude behavior or indifference. However, the postal service carries billions of items, 99.8 percent of which get to their destination in a timely manner.

As for the expression "going postal"; perhaps, in the light of recent events, "going high school" would better desribe someone going berserk.

Back in the '80s, it was different. The town with the library where I worked had a post office with a postmistress called Mrs. Van Hassel. Truly. We were the only library I've ever heard of which was not allowed to send packages library rate. Mrs VH insisted that library rate was only for packages sent to the library. The building was suffused in gloom, and the employees were hiding behind their cages, looking morose when you got their attention.

So kiss your mail carrier and give him a nice tip at Christmas.

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