Atta Ikede

November 14, 2008

A lesson in manners at USPS

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 7:37 am

USPS = United States Postal Service. It’s like Canada Post.

I have stamps to send letters and postcards to Canada, but when I have to send packages I have to go into the postal office and fill out a customs form there, and the postal worker has to weigh the package and add the weight to the customs form as well.

My Canada Post experience was limited to downtown Toronto branches, so I guess it’s possible that service is better elsewhere, but in my opinion, Canada Post hires the slowest workers possible and only puts one employee at each branch! Going to the Canada Post office can take up an entire lunch hour, a fact which caused me lineup-rage ( a form of roadrage that strikes in lineups rather then on the road) multiple times.

USPS is much better. I’ve been to a few branches in the city now and each one has a couple of employees, and they at least try to manage the line. All form filling has to be done in advance or off to the side so the employees can serve customers who are waiting. It’s still slow, but at least people are moving. I’ve probably been there 6 times now and only had lineup-rage once.

Anyway, getting back to the point here: I was filling out my customs forms at the USPS yesterday and overheard the following lesson in manners and enjoyed its surprisingly rude delivery.

Clerk: That’ll be $1.xx (note: it was less than $2 but I don’t remember the exact amount)

Woman: <hands over a $20>

Clerk: Oh, you don’t have a smaller bill? <starts making change for the $20>

Woman: <in a quite serious tone> I gave you a 20. A 20 dollar bill is not a large bill.

Clerk: <protesting,kind of lighthearted tone> But it was for me right now!

Woman: <serious> Well it is not a large bill. It is a small bill. Don’t tell me it was a large bill.

Clerk: <puts the change out> Ok thank you, goodbye

Woman: <serious> Now why did you put all the change on the counter and make me pick up all these coins? I have to pick them up one by one.

Clerk: To make it easy for you to see the change and count that it’s right. It’s more flat here.

Woman: <serious> I can count change! I can count the change in my hand! I don’t need a flat area. I can do it in my hand. I gave you the money in your hand and you should have given it back to me in my hand. It’s very rude to make me pick up coins from the counter. It’s very rude!

Clerk: <speechless>

Woman: <walks away>

Interestingly, cashiers here usually do count change out. LIke if you hand over a $20 at shoppers, they tell you the change amount and dump it all in your hand. Chances are it’s all coins too, even if the change exceeded $5, because the cashier can give you toonies and loonies to weigh you down!

Here, in a typical store, they’ll count it the cash bills first and then give you the coins. I think the counting happens here because unlike Canada, where there’s so much coin change that people lost the will to count it, we have dollar bills in the US. Practically all change amounts require bills in the transaction, so people are still used to counting it out.



  1. That customer should have just been happy that the clerk was a)polite and b)gave her the correct change (without chucking it at her). She could have been a bitch… like the customer was. I believe that the cashier did nothing wrong by asking if the customer had a smaller bill as many people get upset when you hand them a whole handfull (or counter full) of change instead of asking for somethig smaller. Some people cannot be pleased. It is small things like this that make people dislike their jobs and in return, stop being polite and helpful.
    We have to remember that everyone in every profession deserves respect and maybe we will all treat each other better.

    Comment by Lisa — November 16, 2008 @ 7:07 am

  2. true!

    Comment by attaikede — November 18, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  3. Canada Post is absolutely fantastic when compared to the Post Office in the UK. There is nothing, NOTHING, worse than going to the Post Office in the UK. The line is so long and it’s so ridiculous. HATE.

    Comment by Cat — November 18, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

  4. Why is the government even doing things like mail service anymore. It made sense back during the pioneer days when they were delivering mail from mules. But nowadays? I’m sure some company could do a decent job of things.

    Comment by attaikede — November 20, 2008 @ 8:06 am

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