Small-Town Post Office Gets Job Done



Just when it seems like I'm getting my life in order, along comes a postal rate increase. Effective July 1, in case you didn't notice, first class postage jumped from 34 cents to 37 cents.

Now this may seem a trivial matter given the kind of summer we're having here in the Rim country. But the way I look at it, it's just one more hassle I don't need.

At the very least it means a trip to the post office to buy enough 3 stamps to finish up my 34s, plus a reasonable supply of 37s.

I don't know about you, but buying stamps at the supermarket or getting them out of an ATM machine just doesn't feel right. God meant for us to buy stamps at the post office.

After waiting as long as I possibly could, I headed down to your friendly post office the other day to get re-stamped. It was that or risk getting my house repossessed for not making my payments.

The first thing that happens when you walk into the post office is that you are dehumanized converted from a person to a number. Mine was 96.

I, for one, think small town post offices should have old fashioned chalk boards for people to sign in using just their first names Bubba, Skeeter, Nadine, etc.

As I stood around waiting for my number to come up, I reflected on this behemoth that calls itself the U.S. Postal Service and its manifestation here in beautiful Payson.

"Number 87 please..."

As a government entity, the Postal Service doesn't have to worry about turning a profit. All they have to do is get congress to grant them a rate increase and print up some new stamps.

It's a heck of a deal kind of like making your own money.

"Number 88 please..."

On the other hand, morale can be so low at the postal service that an occasional ex-employee goes into his or her friendly post office on occasion and stirs things up a bit to the point where "going postal" has become a catch phrase for one who has become dangerously daft.

"Number 89 please..."

And then there's my mail lady, Alice Wrobley, out on the HC3 route. I'm not suggesting that Alice would ever go postal, but sometimes when somebody addresses a piece of mail incorrectly, she can write stuff on the envelope in such a way that it looks very much like you're getting yelled at.

"Number 90 please..."

And then there's Ellen Kitchen, that lady at the first window when you go into the post office. Ellen takes a personal and enthusiastic interest in the contents of the package you're picking up.

"Number 91 please ..."

I don't know about you, but when I have a package I almost hope Ellen doesn't call my number because when she does everybody in the room is going to end up knowing who is sending me a package and what's in it.

"Number 92 please..."

And let me tell you about Lori Shewey, the delivery supervisor down at the local post office. Not long ago I had occasion to call Lori about a package of personal checks that had been shipped three weeks earlier but never arrived.

"Number 93 please..."

The check printing company swore they had sent them to the right address and told me to contact the local post office. Imagine my surprise when Shewey offered to call the company for me to find out what the problem was. Imagine my even greater surprise when the checks arrived about a week later with a new, hand-printed mailing label covering the original label.

"Number 94 please..."

Interestingly, you could see through the new label down to the old one, which bore the name of my ex-wife who, but for the vigilance of your local post office, might have ended up with my checks.

"Number 95 please..."

I can almost imagine Shewey blowing the smoke away from her six-shooter and reholstering her piece.

Does the postal service deserve a 10 percent increase? I don't know about the whole outfit, but the folks here at the Payson Post Office sure seem to go the extra mile.

"Number 96 please..."

Oh no, I drew Ellen...

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