Thursday, April 27, 2006

Service With A Smile

The local post office is a friendly place. I'm there pretty much every day. I've had a box since 1966. There's a certain reassuring continuity to using the same mailing address for forty years. Well, not exactly the exact same, because they switched from two digit "zones" to five digit "zip codes to "zip plus four", and at some point they gave the post office its own zip code, but the "1373" part remained the same, and that's really enough to route the mail to my box if you get the city name correct. They all seem to know me anyhow.

I go fishing for sea trout in Biscayne Bay with one of the guys at the counter, and another mailmen is close buddies with my old friend Carl who's recovering from a stroke, so we exchange information depending on who last visited Carl. Actually, he's how I found out that Carl was in the hospital.

The best thing they've done is take a tip from Wallmart. There's now a "Greeter" just inside the door, and she'll direct you to the correct line, get you a Priority Mail envelope, or show you how to use the self-service machines in the lobby.

When I first got the box they were all "guys", and "mailmen" were, in fact, men. That started to change about thirty years ago. No more sexist post office. No more lilly white post office either. The place now reflects the surrounding community, with men working alongside of women, and about every shade of skin color there is. You can find somebody to answer your questions in Spanish or Haitian Kreyole if need be, and they mostly all know the customs requirements of a dozen or more countries without looking it up. If you need Russian or German or something else it's likely another customer will volunteer the translation. Within the last year or so they've added a seperate line for passports, and they'll take your picture too. The only thing missing is a coffee pot, but Starbucks is just a few blocks down the street.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup. My local post office is a friendly as well. I've known a friendly gal behind the counter for 26 years. 26 years ago she looked real sweet. It's too bad Canada Post doesn't allow taking photos.

5:29 PM  

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