Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Day 192 - 08/31/2007

I went to the Post Office during lunch to file an insurance claim for the place settings we bought on e-Bay recently. Two of the cups were broken upon arrival. I waited in line (no numbers at the Centreville office) and after a few minutes of people watching, I was called to the counter and explained to the two (!) clerks at that position what I was there to do.

Clerk 1: T handles insurance claims.

I'm not sure who T is, but I guess s/he's the person I need to talk with.

Me: Ok. Blank stare. Uh, how about you either go get T or tell me where to go.

Clerk 2 (after a 3-4 second pause): T's not here.

Me: Ok, who can I...

Clerk 1: She's on vacation and won't be back until next week.

Me: Ok, who can I...

Clerk 2: She's the only one who handles insurance transactions.

Clerk 1: She's on vacation and won't be back until next week.

Me: Ok...

Clerk 2: You can go to the main Centreville office or the Chantilly office.

Me: Is there a form I need to fill out so that I can be ready when I arrive?

You'd have thought I asked her to call T on vacation and find it the way she gave me the evil eye. But I guess my blank stare and non-movement gave her the impetus to get moving and start getting me the form. Ten minutes later she comes back out and looks in the cabinet that is right behind her.


It's amazing the level of competence you get at the front lines of the post office. I wonder how successful they'd be were they a private business?

Yet I can send a letter across the country for 41¢!

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