the post office effect

March 9th, 2006

I resent going to the post office, something comes up regularly which makes me have to go there and I always hate the thought of going, it's such a pointless chore. Over the years I've had a lot of computer equipment sent to my address, some of it was broken, I had to send it back, I've bought stuff on ebay, I've sold stuff there, I've gotten packages from friends, I've sent out packages, I've gotten letters I've had to sign for a few times, I've picked up stuff for other people, and for all of this the common denominator is the post office. I used to have a post office right near my house, next to the supermarket, but they closed that branch to save money.. :( So I had to go twice as far, to the next post office in reach, at the shopping center. This made me resent going there, it felt like an unnecessary obstacle.

Then I get to the post office and there's _always_ a line. I would actually plan on when to go so I wouldn't have to stand in line with my number on a piece of paper, waiting for my turn. I would go early, I would go at 10, just before closing, I tried various strategies. And I realized that it's actually quite random when people show up, it's hard to find a formula that would guarantee no waiting. I could get there at noon on a Saturday and walk right up to the window, then just as I was being expedited, seven people would walk in in the meantime and a line would form. Of course, waiting at the post office would be less of a problem if the postal workers were more efficient. No matter what your business is at the post office, there is a lower boundary of about 3 minutes, there's nothing you can get done in less time. These people really take their time and I imagine they do quite a good job since they never rush. I know I always get good service at the post office.

But, there is a certain phenomenon I started to notice after years of going to the same post office. I would pretty much recognize everyone who worked there. And for some reason, I felt kinda sick of seeing the same people again and again. I felt resentment for them and I can't explain why. I would notice that at the supermarket too, "oh it's you again". As if by going there, I knew I couldn't escape those people. Even though I didn't know them at all.

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3 Responses to "the post office effect"

  1. Diana says:

    Listening to Karin Bloemen? Wow, you're really integrating here :D

  2. erik says:

    Well you know my experience in the post-office field

    It turned worse when I moved to The Hague though; the post office of my own district is about a mile away; the post office of the district next to mine is a 50 meter walk away but of course that's useless if packages arrive at the other place :lazy:

  3. numerodix says:

    [1] Oh it's Erik, he's been trying to make me Dutch for years now. He may actually be onto something.. :D

    [2] That sucks even more. Back home they started conceding postal service to nearby supermarkets, so you go to the store to get your package. It's a bit silly, but at least it saves people the hassle of going further out.