Monday, June 06, 2005

Finding Georgia

As most people know, I sell things on eBay. I sold most of our CD’s when the MP3 became the standard. Our VHS tapes went after we got our DVD player. Plus the numerous things I can’t mention or Larry will actually know they are gone.

I now mostly sell our used magazines. Seriously; people buy these! Primarily I sell my Entertainment Weekly and Advocate magazines, but I’ve sold some home magazines as well. I can’t justify the reason someone buys them. I just know they sell. I once got $10.75 for a Lord of the Rings Entertainment Weekly even though it had an address label on the front. My best was $27.75 for a House Beautiful. That paid the subscription cost for the next two years.

Last week, I sold our old queen-size bed skirt, two magazines and Corey’s old bibs. The payment system is always pretty easy through PayPal, however I loath the packaging and shipping part of the transactions. Luckily, I use the abundance of boxes my company tosses so I never run out of packaging materials.

But, the main burden of this sales adventure always happens at the post office. Since I’ve moved to Tyson’s Corner, the new post office is right down the street. This isn’t one of those fancy new ones; it’s antiquated, undersized, and painstaking. Let’s just say that say that Fisher Price has a better post office than Gallows Road.

Going in off-hours didn’t seem to matter last week as there were already seven people in line ahead of me. One of the stations wasn't functioning so there was only one employee assisting customers.

Let me interject that most postal customers are pretty stupid by nature. They act as though this were the first time they’d ever heard of the postal system. “You mean you can track the package? For how long?” My guess is they are just on break from the Arlington Animal Shelter.

Not one person in line needed stamps; everyone had an issue or a problem. This couple already at the counter had three large, but feebly wrapped packages. There seemed to be some confusion as to where the packages were being delivered.

Woman (in broken English): I need these to go to Georgia.
Post Office: There are too many lines in this address to go to Georgia.
Woman: No, Georgia Country.
Post Office: Is that a county in Georgia?
Woman: No, Georgia Country.
(As if repeating the exact phrase would clarify the previous misunderstanding.)

Innocent Bystander: She means the country Georgia.
(Long Pause)
Post Office: There’s a country named Georgia?

(I make a mental note to write my eBay folks apologizing for the likely delay in receiving their purchases.)

Post Office: Where?
Innocent but-now-stupidly-involved Bystander: It’s in the former Soviet Union.
Post Office: Why didn’t she just say the Soviet Union?
Bystander: Because it was dissolved almost 20 years ago.

I’m realizing a post officer needs to know as much about geography as pet shelter Tom needed to know about birds.

I’m proposing an addendum to the Postal Creed:
“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night shall stay these carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds... But freaking ask them to update their records on the fall of communism, and that will take an act of God.”


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