A lovely day in the hands of the US Postal Service

I couldn’t figure out why my thighs were sore today, then I remembered. I spent most of yesterday afternoon on my knees on the loading dock of the downtown post office, reshuffling and repacking 737 bulk mail envelopes containing our biennial report. Oy!

What I thought would be a 10-15 minute chore turned into a more than three hour ordeal. I discovered, the world of bulk mail is no place for amateurs like me. I guess if you know what you’re are doing and understand your way around the labyrinth of arcane procedures, regulations and terminology, it might not be that difficult. However, for someone like myself, who handles this kind of job about once every two to three years, it was painful. The thing is, I went down to the post office several months ago and explained that I was not an expert and needed help getting it together. At that time, they were extremely helpful and gave me a set of instructions. When I actually showed up yesterday, with 737 envelopes, all neatly sorted by zip code,  there were a whole bunch of additional regulations and  procedures they had not shared with me. Our verbal exchanges included these:

“Well, your first problem is that you have used the wrong trays. Those are flats, not letters, so you need flat trays.”

Me: “Aren’t those flat trays? They are pretty flat.”

“No, these taller boxes are the flat trays. You’ll have to change everything to these other trays.”

“You know, you need to have all these wrapped in rubber bands in bundles of ten.” (It would have been nice to tell me that when I came down here the first time.)

“Did I tell you bundles of ten? No, ten is just the minimum. You can have as many as you can hold in one hand.”

“Where are your little colored labels?”

“Didn’t you hear me when I told you those needed to be placed in sacks?”

“Where is your PAPERWORK?”

“You don’t have enough money in your account.”

Me: “I have a check here in my pocket.”

“Oh no. You need to have already paid up front before we ever started this. I should have never even let you unload. Your (already sorted, wrapped, bagged, weighed, etc.) shipment shouldn’t even be out there. Oh my!”

By the end of the agony, I was beginning to understand the concept of “going postal.”

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