Panopoly Creations

Post Office Horrors

So, I didn’t exactly make my “seven entries in seven days” goal, but at least the effort gave me lots of ideas for, and interest in, this blog, which will continue to help for some time!

Speaking of which, I’m now going to relate the tale of why I have vowed never to go to the post office to mail something again!

I’ve been mailing my packages by going to the USPS office for years. I never really had a problem with it. I almost always used the APC (Automated Postal Center–which, if you’ve never used it, is shockingly easy), but when I didn’t, the people at the counter used to be friendly and helpful.

But things have changed. It all started last year, when I started mailing a lot more packages than ever before, and simultaneously moved to an apartment with a post office just a few blocks away. It sounded so perfect! But the lines for the counter were always ridiculously long there, and although the employees were still all friendly, a lot of them gave me incorrect information. Once the new “nonmachinable surcharge” went into effect, I also found that several packages that I had given to someone at the counter were returned to me for insufficient postage–because the USPS’ rules have gotten so convoluted that even their employees can’t keep up with them! So I stopped going to the counter, because at least when I used the machine I always got the postage right.

At that time I considered switching to some kind of at-home mailing service, either through Paypal or Endicia. But it didn’t really seem worth the effort to change my whole way of doing things just because I didn’t feel like walking down the block. And, when I brought up the possibility of mailing from home to one of the postal workers, he practically begged me to keep coming to the post office instead, because he was worried about layoffs if everyone switched to print-at-home. Since I like to support my local economy as much as possible, that kind of cinched the deal.

Fast forward to just a month or so ago, when I walked into my local post office and found out they would be removing the APC from their location, because apparently I was the only one who used it, or something. Who knows. So I started needing to either catch the bus or get a ride from the boyfriend to the next-nearest post office. This was a big pain, but manageable, and I did it for a while.

But the last few times I’ve been there, it’s been completely unbearable. There are long lines for both the counter and the machine. People are rude. If I wait in line with my bag of 25-or-so packages to mail at the counter, the service is horribly slow once I get there. If I wait in line with the same bag for the machine, and whiz through them as fast as possible, people behind me in line are always complaining about having to wait for all my packages. Or, they ask politely if they can cut ahead because they only have one thing–which seems fair until this has happened 4 or 5 times, sequentially, and I’ve been there forever, and my packages still aren’t mailed! And it’d doubly frustrating because most of the people who go in the PO are completely clueless–which isn’t, for the most part, their fault, but is pretty frustrating when I just want to mail my things and leave.

The last time I was in there was the last straw. It took me over an hour to mail 35 packages, when it should have taken me about 25 minutes. A lot of that is my fault for being a nice person, but I can’t help but assist people who ask me questions, or inform someone who doesn’t know where something goes, or whatever. It’s just how I am and it would make me feel bad to do anything else.

So I left swearing that I would just cut out the whole process entirely. I went home and ordered a digital scale (I have an analog one but it’s not very accurate–I only use it for estimating postage sometimes). I have decided to sign up for Endicia, because I see people raving about it, and I figure the $10 a month fee is worth the time and gas money I’ll be saving. And besides, I got a two month free trial!

I will definitely report back with how my experience goes with the service.