Post Office Personalities

Let me preface this post by saying I love mail. Always have. Even junk mail. If I were a kid these days, I have a suspicion that my favorite song would be the mail song from Blues Clues:

Here’s the mail
It never fails
It makes me wanna wag my tail
When it comes I wanna wail…

I credit the beginning of my love of writing with the sending and receiving of letters. I used to write my grandparents who lived in Idaho. When I moved towns in 5th grade, I would write my best friend Susie Quigley (yep, really her name!), and I even corresponded with a pen pal from West Virgina through watching a show called The Big Blue Marble. I used to love writing letters, and, even more, I loved getting letters in return.

To this day, there’s something about the approach of the mailman — oh, sorry, mail carrier — that makes me get all excited, even when I know at this point in my life my mail is mostly junk and bills. Don’t care. Still love to see my name on the envelope even if it is only from Time Warner.

But this post isn’t really about my love of mail. It’s about the post office. Because I have had to go several times recently, and it seems no visit is really that much different from any other. Each visit is as frustrating as the last. Did you ever notice (Holy shit, I’m sounding like Andy Rooney!) that no matter which post office you visit, they all have the same cast of characters, or postal personalities if you will:

First, there is the Curmudgeon. Customers are obviously inconveniencing this person, even though, hello, it’s his job to be there. “Next!”

Then there is the Just-Doin’-My-Job person. This one can’t really be engaged beyond postal speak. Try to exchange pleasantries. Not interested. Crack a joke. Not even a smile. Eye contact is limited. “Next person in line, please.”

There is also the Anal Rule Follower. This is the one that weighs and measures everything at least twice, offers every service to every customer (“Would you like insurance? Delivery confirmation? Are you sure there is nothing fragile, perishable, or potentially hazardous in this package?”), and will be happy to explain IN DETAIL exactly what the difference is between registered and certified mail, or anything else you would like to know. “Do you need any stamps today?”

Maybe to make up for these other types, there’s usually the Superfriendlyhelpful person. This one wants to help ALL of the customers in line. Problem is, it’s usually all at the same time. Folks know him by name, and each transaction comes with a complimentary personal conversation, slowing down the line with a smile. “Have a nice day now!”

So I guess my question is this: when are they gonna hire the Competent-Service-With-A-Smile-While-Still-Keeping-The-Line-Moving person? Maybe I wouldn’t mind the other personalities so much if at least more than two at time had a window open. Or if they opened a Starbucks inside since no one seems in a rush to get you out. Hey, wait, I think I’m on to something here. “I’d like a grande two-pump mocha and send this Priority with delivery confirmation, please.”

Categories : journeys in life


  1. LeeAnn says:

    YAY! Your blog is back. I love this. Wow, who would of thunk that the Post Office Personalities are nationwide?

  2. Minimeltdown says:

    Yup, we have the same cast down here in the South. And since I’m selling my book collection off piece by piece on Amazon, I’m now in there all the time. Filled with grumpiness.

    Strangely, it’s the one place in the South where the people are grumpier than they were in California. And people here (other than at the P.O.) are SUPER hospitable and friendly. They live up to their reputation.

    I truly miss my South Pas Postal people. I didn’t know how good I had it at the time. My man Romeo…I loved him.

  3. Kelly says:

    Gee, Redhead, I thought for sure you’d be commenting with stories of how your post offices are filled with friendly southern folk! (I remember your post about the DMV!)

  4. Helene88 says:

    Okay, I am full of big TEARS. You may feel lucky to have your muffin but I think there is a muffin in this world that is lucky to have YOU for her MOMMY.