There is one clerk, at one station, however, that I dread working with. She is strict! All I's must be dotted, and T's crossed. She gives advice that conflicts with every other postmaster, and serves to confuse me. She corrects, demands, and sends me to the back of the line. She is reminiscent of Jerry Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi."
I recently witnessed a woman sending a box of baby clothes across the world. On the customs form she'd written "toddler's clothes." CrazyClerk handed the box back to her and said " `Toddler's clothes' isn't good enough—is it socks or pants or shirts?" Seriously, in the event that the box was opened, who would think "No toddler's clothes here; only socks and pants and shirts for a 2-year old child."
Lesson learned for me, though: I would never go to her station after one of our big events! 50 volunteers seal up 150 boxes and I list what is "probably" in them. Most likely some socks and t-shirts, and maybe a toothbrush but maybe not.
I always leave her window, thoughtful: The hoops she makes people jump through seemingly satisfy her own compulsions. And yet I wonder, if she isn't, in the eyes of the USPS, one of their best employees. Every package taped perfectly, every label and stamp affixed with painstaking precision.
Is she crazy or is she extremely competent?
I had the "pleasure" of running into her again this week. There were 11 people in front of me, and 2 clerks: NiceClerk, and CrazyClerk. I stood in line praying that I'd get NiceClerk, and listening to CrazyClerk give odd advice to her customer—if his passport has expired, he should also update those of his children—while she weighed his manilla envelope. Really? Why?
As NiceClerk worked her way through customer after customer, CrazyClerk took forever to get through one transaction. After minutes, it finally rang through, receipts were printed, and she exclaimed "Oh, darn, I messed it up!"
As the rest of the line plodded along, CrazyClerk once again "messed up" the transaction, stating loudly, "Third times a charm, let's try this again!"
I had entered the line at 4:15 in the afternoon.
At 4:45, I was standing at NiceClerk's window, smiling sympathetically to the poor guy at CrazyClerk's station—the one poor guy that had been there since I arrived, mind you—when she triumphantly announced,
"THERE we go, I finally got it right! That will be 36 cents."
As for my question to myself, I'm going with "not extremely competent," and I'm going to choose a different post office for my future transactions.
Do you have a recent or memorable experience with crazy clerks or customers? Share it!