Sunday, August 26, 2007

Let's hear it for the U.S. Mail...
It's always there when we need it, ain't it?

I don't know why I haven't signed up yet to pay my bills electronically. I could probably go and do that right now, instead of posting this blog entry. I guess almost everyone pays their bills that way. And, I wouldn't be surprised if utility companies across the board decided one day to stop sending out standard bills-on-paper; after all, in this inflationary age of micromanagement, everyone's looking for a way to defray expenses as much as possible. My bank wants me to sign up and let them pay my bills via some sort of automatic program that pays anyone who turns to me with their hand out, wanting money. I suppose the bank gets a little piece of the action for providing "E-pay", and the utilities and anyone else who sucks up money from ever-beleaguered folks across the nation will benefit from having bills paid on time. A sort of capitalistic type of symbiotic relationship, if you will. (Hey, it's not often I get to mix economic classifications with biological terminology...)

I'm not good at performing detailed actions which take a lot of application and methodology. I really do dislike going to the Post Office to buy money orders. Postal money orders are a huge hassle, 'cos you not only have to put the payee's complete address on it, you've also gotta write down your complete address in the space provided. And, of course, before that, you've got to sift through all of the extra paraphrenalia crammed into every jam-packed billing envelope you receive; you sift thru this, sift thru that, eventually locating the small portion that you tear off to include with your bill. And, those doggone little computer-placed perforations don't even perforate half the time; if yer not careful, you'll rip off half of the portion you were trying to tear off; then you have to tear off the other half of that portion and tape it back together. Then, multiply all of the above actions three-or-fourfold, and a trip to the Post Office, with all of the 'preliminaries' included, can be a time-consuming event.

Of course, I haven't even mentioned 'waiting in line' yet. Once, while I was standing in line, I'd begun to inscribe my return address on the bill envelopes I'd brought with me. And, as soon as I'd begin doing that, everyone in the line would move up. So I'd hafta stop writing and move up, too, and then begin writing again. And then everyone would move up, and I'd have to move up again, and, well, you get the idea. But, if I had just been standing in line, having already pre-addressed my billing envelopes, I'd be waiting forever and a day, and really, the Post Office is not a fun place to wait...I find myself trying to find something to look at to pass the time...I gaze upon the folding mail cartons the Post Office displays...dullsville, man. I peruse some of the stamp-sheets on display in the glass counter; that holds my interest for about 20 seconds...then I see the wall filled with various items such as Postal pens, keychains, stuffed animals, stationery, greeting cards, alarm clocks, depth-finders, and all of the other goofy stuff that's on display there that you'll never need in a zillion years.

Still, I go to the Post Office. I don't know why; I just do. Since I am not a morning person, I have to go to the main Post Office, which is probably 5 or 6 miles away from me. There are a couple of small 'branch Post Offices' that are nearer to where I live, but both of those branches close at NOON. That's life in a small town where everything is super-spread out. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE the slower pace of small-town life; I just wish the Postal branch offices would stay open longer. Of course, if I'm picking up a package, as Ebay sometimes forces me to do, I've gotta skedaddle to the main Post Office anyway, but at least I'm picking up a package that has something cool in it, and the suspense gives me that same anticipatory feeling I used to get on Christmas mornings or birthdays. What's in it? I can't WAIT!!! But, then, I've gotta remember that I'm going to the Post Office. So unless there's an extra clerk working the package-pickup department, yep, you guessed it...when I get there, I'll hafta wait. Oh well, more time to look at all the stuff the Post Office sells that I can't live without.

I can't remember where I read it (I think it was in a "letters to the editor column"), but some hyper-agitated former Postal employee recently took 'society in general' to task for "dissing" our beloved Postal Service. He had his knickers in a twist over the fact that some folks (well, more and more all the time, really) had referred to what the Post Office handles as "snail mail." I am not kidding, this guy was really upset, saying that people disrespected the Post Office by using the term "Snail Mail"! I suppose he would've filed some sort of libel/slander lawsuit if he could've found someone to focus on. Trouble is, we ALL think of letters, envelopes, stamps, etc. as "snail mail". And it's hard for one person, even if he's a dedicated former postal worker, to stop an epidemic. Unless you're going to be picking up a really cool package from Ebay, you can pretty much bet that NOBODY goes to the Post Office to hang out or to have a good time. Like the I.R.S., the Post Office is something that we all have to endure from time to time. Although, the Postal Service isn't evil like the I.R.S. is. Not yet, anyway.

Although it's hard to tell from my above comments, I value the postal service, and the patient folks who work behind the counter at the P.O., who try to answer all kinds of questions: "how much longer will it take my package to get there if I send it via Media Mail instead of First Class?", etc. etc. And I suppose there's many a dedicated postal clerk who has nightmares about endless lines of customers stretching out into oblivion, and no matter how many people he assists, he'll never, EVER, be done. And in a way, I do like one of the Post Office's newest items, the "Forever Stamp"...even if it won't be the same price forever and I've done my part. I've come up with a new design for the 'Forever Stamp' that oughta be a huge hit, making the Post Office a whole lotta money (although rates will continue to increase anyway...), and here's my idea:


I'll just have to hope that no former postal employee, or anyone else, 'goes postal' over this.


Blogger Denise said...

for all the talk of paying bills and such online.. many people are forgetting that not everybody in the country has a computer.
It also bugs me that it seems that company's think that every one has a cell phone. well, not everyone does.. I don't and don't really want or need one.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Hiya,'s a changing world, for sure. I can see a day when everything will be done electronically. Or, they'll have to pay to have it electronically done for them. However, we will always need the good ol' U.S. else am I supposed to get all my Ebay stuff?

5:00 AM  

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