Christmastime in the Emerald City











{June 18, 2007}   Going Postal

The last time I checked, Postal Workers were paid an exorbant salary for doing what is, essentially, a shit job. What with all the carrying, and the sorting, and the walking, the driven-to-psychosis postal worker has become a cultural archetype. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone, somewhere, had a fetish for postal gear and all the violence implied therewith.

I have no problem with someone getting paid a rather large salary to do an undesireable job. It only makes sense. We need postal workers, in much the same manner as we need garbage collectors and bubble-gum manufacturing machine operators (speaking from experience on that last one.) My concern is when people collect this pity money without doing said undesireable work, or at least not enough of it to garner my pity.

I’m speaking, in this instant, of the mail carrier for my work. (Naturally, as I would not bother to put to paper anything that hadn’t offended me personally). I work in a very large building. Not a skyscraper exactly, if that term is ever used, but tall enough to be referred to in its very name as a ‘tower’. A large tower, deliciously owned by a large corporation to hold several other large corporations. There are 23 floors.

I work on the 15th floor, for a rather large corporation. We lease office space and provide administrative support services to a multitude of smaller businesses, or satellite offices of massive businesses. Now that my blog has become a little more ranty, I’ll refrain from listing names. However, if they are big and they have money, you can bet they’ve got an office here. We also have, besides fifty-something actual offices, a great number of virtual clients who use our ‘prestigious, class A’ business address to beef up their own small operations. We receive mail and/or phone calls for these clients. And while we do have a great many clients who have been here for several years, some as many as a decade, we do have somewhat of a turnover. Such anonymity, afterall, is sure to attract a few fly-by-night scams, who’s correspondance arrives in our box months after their departure. We have also had plenty of legitimate clients who simply did not bother to cancel their magazine subscriptions upon leaving.

In short, we get a fuckload of mail.

Now, the issue is not time. I have plenty of time to meander around the internet and write blogs, and do all sorts of fun things. It would be no sweat off my back to have to sort far more mail than actually comes in. However, we here in this office do not get paid to sort any more mail than what actually comes in. We certainly do not get paid to sort mail for the rest of this ‘tower’. 

Here’s how it works; upon returning from my lunch break, I retrieve our mail from the handy little box in the lobby. I heft it to the incapacitatingly slow elevators (as there is usually a fair bit of it – enough to surely constitute an ‘armload’) and bring it to our Customer Service Representative. She shares in my distaste for the inefficient, though does not have quite the same hate-on for the mailman. She sorts the mail for our in-office clients, and our virtual clients. She then hands to me the leftovers, comprised of misdirected, incorrectly addressed items, as well as those intended for clients who have long since vacated the premises. There are also a few clients who like to be personally notified of their incoming mail – I handle this as well.

My daily mail ritual, short as it tends to be, generally pisses me off. I get angry enough flipping through ‘please give money to your Alma Mater’ postcards and other unsolicited junk intended for a great deal of clients who are no longer here. Thanks for not changing your address and sticking us with all your crap. It pisses me off further to receive misdirected mail that somehow wound up in our building despite being addressed to a completely different postal code. It irks me to a fantastic degree to receive, for the THIRD TIME, mail that I have indicated as being improperly directed. “This person is not at this address”, is likely to be followed by “this person is STILL not here,” which in turn is likely to be followed by angry scribbling and a last-ditch sticker to cover our address. It takes every ounce of my self-restrain to not write ‘CAN YOU PEOPLE NOT FUCKING READ?!?!?!?!?’ all over it.

What stops me is the brainwashed loyalty to my employer, the fear that the eventual recipient would be in the precise market for our services, and would then be convinced enough of my psychosis to seek out a competitor.

 Now, all of the above can be attributed, somwhere, somehow, to some sorting machine in a post office somewhere, that suffered a glitch. And irksome as it may be, these machines are not paid, and cannot feel the wrath of my anger. To some degree then, I let it slide. What I cannot let slide is when the very human individual who sorts mail for this building drops upwards of ten items in our box that are correctly addressed, but intended for another floor. If we can alphabetically sort mail for over 60 clients, how difficult can it be to sort mail for 23 floors?

Not only am I left with this person’s job to do, but other people are missing their mail. If it’s a federal offence to open someone else’s mail or take it, or otherwise tamper with it, then surely it is not okay for one to simply shove it into whatever box is handy and decide that it will get there someday. NOT OKAY!!! Not okay.

Taking up my valuable blogging time is bad enough, but delaying other people’s necessary business functions makes you more than inept – it makes you a goddamned liability.

I took a little bit of responsibility on this one, got a little more gutsy than I usually am anywhere other than in my head or on paper. I kept all the misdirected envelopes, stacked them together neatly in ascending order of their correct destination: 9th floor, 10th floor, 12th floor, 16th floor, and so on. When the mailman came in today, I first clarified that he was in fact the person responsible for sorting the mail, and not just delivering it. When he confirmed that yes, he was our half-ass of a sorter, I handed him the bundle with a curt “These are for you.” He looked through them, aghast, as I explained precisely how many people we sort the mail for, precisely how little time we have to do his job, and precisely how many people were missing their mail due to his broader than usual lack of sorting.

The resulting sulk of a retreat was heartwarming indeed. I like to think that I’ve done a service to the other corporations in this here tower. I doubt that any fuck-uppery to such a large degree will occur again. If it does, I will demand some overtime out of his far overpaid pocket.

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Talea says:

Ha. Hahaha. I would have loved to be there for the handover of the bastard mail stack.



talea says:

Dude, I totally ‘hyperlinked’ this post on my blog. I shall be sending traffic your way! Look at me, I used hyperlink in a sentence.



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