Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Open Letter to USPS and its valued customers

As the holidays grow near, I am finding myself at the local post office, waiting in line with a large Santa-like sac full of packages to be shipped to various parts of the country (and the world) on a daily basis. As a small business owner running my own plush toy company during the holidays, this is a routine that has grown all too familiar to me over the course of the last 4 years.

I'm a regular at the post office. I'm there nearly once or twice a week all year long and make a daily schlep during the months of November and December. All of the workers at the post office know me by name and they recognize my packages as they come through with my quirky bunny drawing on each of them. Their faces light up when they see I'm next in line. A friendly face! A smile! I think I brighten their days and they brighten mine.

With all of that being said, it's disconcerting to stand in line with my fellow small-towners during the holiday season and to hear them complain incessantly about the long lines, the customer service, the lack of stamps, the lack of employees, etc, etc. People so impatient that they can't even wait 20 minutes or less to ship their dearest niece or nephew that brand new shiny toy so that he or she may open it on Christmas morning. What have we come to as a society when during the time of year that we're supposed to be bringing joy and cheer to everyone around us, all anyone can do is complain, impatiently check their watches, and threaten to never use USPS again?

Anybody who knows me in person or even online, for that matter, knows that I've never been one for confrontation. I make monsters for a living for crying out loud! How angry can I get, right? But recently I have been on the verge of standing up on a makeshift pedestal, monster in hand, in the middle of the long line at the post office (somewhat reminiscent of one of Charlie Brown's notorious monologues) and proclaiming my utmost gratitude to the USPS and most importantly the workers who have (probably unknowingly) helped me to grow my business to what it is today. As a regular customer I can honestly and without a doubt say that the USPS has never lost one of my packages in the hundreds, dare I say thousands, that I have shipped over the years. In fact, I've thought about moving many times but cringed at the thought about having to leave MY post office and MY postal worker friends. I can't believe the disrespect I have encountered this holiday season from customers to their postal workers. Treating them as if they make the rules, they're robots, or they're single-handedly out to make sure YOUR package does not arrive safely and on time. Forget the fact that they may even be humans with real feelings and emotions, have families to feed, mortgages to pay, elderly parents to take care of and so on. They're people just like you and I trying to do their job to the best of their ability and thankful every day that they even have a job in this economy. (Cue Charlie Brown music) Have people completely forgotten what the holidays are all about? Is it possible that people just don't know how to be human anymore?

With the threat of lots of changes looming over the US Postal Service, I ask you to remember small businesses like mine who depend on the USPS to get your furry little orders to you in a timely manner. Remember that the USPS, as frustrating as it may be to you at times, keeps so many small businesses alive and growing. So next time you threaten your postal worker with never coming back to USPS and taking "your business" elsewhere, remember me, my little pedestal, monster in hand, and the slow Charlie Brown music, proclaiming thanks to the USPS and its workers who make my days just a little brighter. And as the holidays grow nearer and the lines get longer, please remember that they're humans just like you and I, their job isn't easy, and a smile on your face will most definitely bring a smile to theirs.

So thank you Haddonfield, NJ Post Office and all postal workers around the country for helping me to deliver so many gifts to delighted customers all year long.

Warm, fuzzy wishes for a safe and happy holiday season to all!

Sincerely yours,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Monster Maker


Heather said...

I have a feeling it's a real post office-by-post office thing...

While I have no problem waiting in line (Angry Birds quality time, lol!), and absolutely LOVE most of the tellers at the post office, not to mention my regular postal delivery man (he is a saint... A SAINT!) ... there are a few employees there, one being the branch manager, who are AWFUL.

I was once told (word for word), "It's not our job to deliver your mail"... I was flabbergasted! The people behind me in line were flabbergasted! I mean... if that's not their job... what is?! (this was only one of many *very* anger inducing instances, always concerning the same employees... but it was by far the most jaw dropping, wtf one!)

So... yeah, I do love the USPS, and I'd much rather ship through them than through UPS or FedEx... but when the employees who work there have the audacity to say something like that, straight to a customer's face... well, I can see how people might get frustrated.

I really wish everyone's PO could be as awesome as yours.

Valerie G said...

I couldn't agree more! Thanks for saying this so well! I can totally hear the Charlie Brown music... :)

Christina Ward said...

I feel the same way about my posties. Love them. They all get a tray of cookies at the holidays.

I concur that people seem to thrive on treating each other badly. Let's just all decide as an experiment, just for one day, to be NICE to each other.

To be polite. To be kind. I have a Stoic mind trick for everyone. When that situation arises, when it's them or you that feels ready to lash out- say out loud, "We are too good for this. Let's do this differently." You'll be amazed at how well it works. (The Stoic side bonus is that if the Other Person is still being a jerk; they suffer being an even bigger jerk. And you get to have the confidence that you, indeed, are better than that.)

squirrel momma said...

I, too, have nothing but warm, fuzzy feelings for my local USPS employees. Their unending patience with the little old ladies who brave the ice and snow to mail Christmas packages wrapped with brown paper and string--just like the good old days--is amazing. They just smile, listen to the stories of who the gift is going to, and slap on a few extra layers of packing tape to get that present to its destination safe and sound. Thanks to all you guys at the Eastown Station (especially you, Rick-you're fabulous)!

anselblue design studio said...

I love everything about this post.

Tom said...

Wish we could say the same thing about our local post office. We're working out of an office on a major highway here in town and we started to send 100+ packages daily now that the Holidays have kicked in for online retail. It is like pulling teeth to get them to pickup the mail on a daily basis. The employees we deal with, with the exception of a few good souls, act like they couldn't be bothered with our business that we're giving them. They're so short-staffed that they sometimes send the janitor to pick up packages. I really think it is a local thing and the "people" factor really plays a part post office quality. Our post office in Aberdeen/Matawan really needs help.