Everyone has that person.
It may be your neighbor, your in-law, or your boss.
For me, it’s Carl.
I mean, IT’S CARL!
Carl works at our local post office behind the check out desk.
When the need arises to mail a package or buy stamps a slight shudder runs through my body.
Since our post office is quite small and only two employees are on duty at a time, there’s always a 50% chance I will have an encounter with Carl. The time of day doesn’t seem to change those odds – believe me, I’ve tried.
While standing in line, usually five or six persons deep, I try and compute how long each person’s transaction will take.
Please let me miss him, please let the old lady get him.
I typically have no chance of avoiding Carl if the person in front of me has an international package. The necessary paperwork will have been filed out incorrectly, Carl will tell them to step to the side, and motion me forward.
Damn it people! Why can’t you get the form right?
I’ve been through this ritual before so I try and be proactive with my information.
Hi. I need to mail this package. It’s 2 books and I’d like to send it the cheapest way possible. I don’t need anything else today.
“DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING LIQUID, PERISHABLE, OR FRAGILE IN THE PACKAGE?”
“DO YOU WANT TO SEND IT PRIORITY MAIL?
“IF YOU DECIDE TO SEND IT PRIORITY IT WILL TAKE 2-3 DAYS”
No. The cheapest way please.
“OK. IF YOU SEND IT POSTAL MAIL IT WILL TAKE 7-10 DAYS.”
“SO YOU ARE OK WITH IT GETTING THERE IN 7-10 DAYS?”
Yes, regular mail will be fine.
“DO YOU NEED A BOOK OF STAMPS? A BOOK OF 100? A BOOK OF 200? A BOOK OF 400?” (followed by huge burst of laughter)
“DO YOU WANT TO SEE THE NEW ELVIS STAMPS WE HAVE?”
“DO YOU NEED ANY ENVELOPES TODAY?
DO YOU NEED ANY TAPE OR BOXES TODAY?”
“CAN I BE OF ANY OTHER ASSISTANCE TO YOU TODAY?”
No. Thank you.
Once I finish playing 20 questions with Carl I grab my receipt and breathe a little easier.
That is, until my next adventure with CARL!