So I just got back from the post office. I had to mail a parcel to my friend. I figured that this event was worth me explaining.
I’m sure lots of people are thinking “What’s the big deal, it’s a post office?!”, well carry on reading and I’ll explain it.
The post office is physically quite small, the current owners have fitted in aisles where there didn’t used to be any. I was immediately wary of my ability to safely navigate the aisles without damaging either myself, the parcel or any of the stuff in the post office. I managed it, which is good because I fell down some steps on holiday this week and hurt my arm and scratched my watch, I didn’t need to be bumping anything else.
Only one counter was open and someone was being served. There is a sign hanging from the ceiling with an arrow pointing down that says “Please queue here.” and so I stood on that very spot. I realised that the person in front of me wasn’t being served, but was actually just chatting. I wasn’t in a particular hurry for any reason other than a desire to get out of there as quickly as I could, so I waited for them to finish. The post office doesn’t have an electronic system to call you to the counter; I’ve been shouted at before in the bank for approaching an empty counter before I was summoned and so I was anxious about this interaction. It’s very hard for me to watch for a brief glimpse of a look on the other persons face, let alone to decide whether that look means “Yep, come on over!” or “Wait, not yet, I’m still sorting stuff out.”. Luckily I nailed it (woohoo, go me!).
I explained to the lady that I wanted to mail a parcel. She asked me to put it on the scale and pointed to one of the two scales on the counter. I placed the parcel on the top and the scale maxed out – it only went up to 1 kilo. The lady was not amused. I had never seen those scales before in my life, if I’d known they only measured up to 1 kilo then I would have explained that the parcel weighed 2.12 kilos. I knew this because I measured the weight very carefully before setting out. In fact, if the lady had asked me how much it weighed I would gladly have volunteered this information. The lady motioned for me to put the parcel on the other scale. I couldn’t read the weight off the scale, but I knew how much it weighed and so I told the lady, evidently with more precision than she was expecting. Go figure. I rounded the weight to 1 decimal place before the ladies brain leaked out of her nose.
She opened the hatch and I handed the parcel through. She immediately wanted to turn it on it’s side, even though it was clearly labelled as fragile and had “This way up.” written on all four sides. She observed that it was wet as if I shouldn’t have tried to post something while it was raining. The address was fine because when I carried the parcel to the shops I put one hand over it.
At this point, I began to wonder if something was wrong. The lady was asking more questions about the parcel than I had expected. I thought that maybe she was just being nice and making conversation and so I answered her questions. She had apparently never heard of the destination of the parcel. She asked where it was. This was odd because she had the parcel and the post code and so she could see the parcel was Liverpool bound. She printed the stickers and attached them to the parcel. I handed over my money. “Where did you get this from?”, she asked as she examined one of the notes. “Cornwall”, I replied. She spent ages examining that note. Marker pens, holding it up to the light. My anxiety levels were climbing. What if she said the note was fake and refused to accept it. I could feel my brain spinning up. Eventually she convinced herself that I wasn’t trying to pass off counterfeit currency and gave me my change.
I navigated my way back out of the shop.