There is something about my walking into the post office that brings about a certain dynamic. It never fails. Yesterday I was in line several patrons behind an older lady buying money orders who had to go through her large purse to find the random piece of paper with the name and address she needed. Then once all that was done, the postal employee completed the transaction and told her how much it would cost. Then she acted totally surprised and had to, once again, go through her purse searching for money.
Next in line was a gentleman wanting stamps, not just any stamp but a certain type. He kept making the postal employee retrieve additional sheets of stamps from the back until he finally was satisfied with a design.
By this time, a young lady (a diva no less) had approached the desk - ignoring the long line waiting to be served. As soon as the finicky stamp customer had been served she quickly approached the postal employee and sent him to the back on some mission. A minute or two a small letter was brought forth and given to the young lady, who turned on her heels, gave the rest of us pedestrian patrons patiently waiting in line a haughty glance and left.
Luckily the next two customers called to the desk moved through fairly quickly. Then came the little gray haired lady who did not comprehend the "security and restricted" question the postal employee is required to ask. (You know,'Does your package contain any nonmailable or undeclared hazardous materials such as: Aerosols, Lithium Batteries, Nail Polish, Perfumes containing alcohol, Pool Chemicals, Paints, Matches, Certain Glues, Live Animals, and Cremated Remains?')
"Well if you mean 'glue'? Then yes, I am afraid there is glue on the box. You see I am sending some of my homemade cookies to my granddaughter Mary Lou. She just loves my Snicker Drops. And I always make a special box for the cookies and of course I have to use glue on the box."
The postal worker assured her that no, that type of glue was not a problem and asked her how she wanted to send the box.
"Oh in the mail of course."
"Yes mamm, I understand that, but what service, First Class, Priority, Priority Over-night?"
"Oh they need to go overnight so they will be fresh when they arrive."
The employee measured the box, weighed it, and declared, "OK, that will cost you $32.42. Do you want the package insured?"
"$32? Why oh my? That seems a lot. I remember when a psotage stamp was 5 cents."
"Yes mamm, I understand. You know you could use one of our Flat Rate Boxes. I think the medium size box would work and that would only cost you $12.95. But you would have to use this box [she showed her the Flat Rate box] instead of the one you have now."
"How much is the box?"
"The $12.95 includes the cost of the box."
"Oh deary that will be nice." And she immediately started opening her box to transfer the contents. Before the employee could explain that the customer needed to do that on another counter so as not to hold up the line, she noticed a bottle of nail polish.
"Mamm, you cannot send that bottle of nail polish," the employee said pointing to the bottle.
"Oh, that is finger nail paint. And it is Rose Pink, it will look so good on Mary Lou. She has the prettiest rosy pink cheeks."
"Yes, mamm but that is on the list of restricted items."
That digressed into a "discussion" of the difference between finger nail paint and nail polish. I truly felt for the young postal employee, who by his response, I was pretty sure had never heard of 'finger nail paint'.
The young man behind of me asked, "Please tell me you don't collect stamps or are trying to slip restricted goods into a package. And for God's sake if you want a postal order please have the name and address ready," he laughed.
The lady behind him added, "And, remember don't be surprised if they asked you pay for your postage."
I just laughed and replied, "Trust me, I am prepared. My goal is to set a record once I get to the desk."
Another lady behind me laughed," My goal is to get to the desk."
[As a postscript, what I needed done I could not do on usps.com. Trust me, I do not go to the post office for kicks and giggles.]