USPS Out Of Regular Mail, Only Fancy Mail Left

Leesha says her local post office has gone upsell crazy. They wouldn’t let her mail a letter without sitting through an extended spiel about express and upgraded options. When she tried to fast-forward through the song and dance, the guy behind the counter snapped. Or, as the saying goes, “went postal.”

Leesha writes:

In the middle of his offer for express mail for some ungodly amount I told him “No thanks I just want regular mail.” He was slightly hostile and snapped “We dont have regular mail!” and started from the beginning again.

I scanned the screen and told him “fine I want flat rate service.” He became more hostile at this point raised his voice and told me, “I CAN’T DO THAT. I HAVE TO READ EVERY LINE AND YOU HAVE TO TELL ME YES OR NO.”

If the letter wasn’t for business, I wouldve turned around and left. But unfortunately the document couldn’t be faxed and I was forced to listen to the spiel of every item on the list before I was allowed to pay for flat rate service.

Next time, just buy your USPS postage online. You can print out the label on normal computer paper from your printer. Then you can just drop off the package or letter in a dropbox or zip into the post office and stuff it in one of their boxes without interacting with any goons who have had all discretion micromanaged out of them.

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  1. davidsco says:

    Yes, I’ve noticed this every time I go there these days. There’ll be one person at the counter, a line to the door, and the clown has to offer every possible U.S.P,S service from the past 50 years.

    • Donathius says:

      I need to get my package on the next available gyrocopter! It must be in Siam within a fortnight!

    • DariusC says:

      I have a letter to deliver! Do you have “pidgeon” as a service? No guaranteed delivery? What the heck?

    • dragonfire81 says:

      You know I’ve had multiple managers say to me: “You really shouldn’t care if the line is long, it’s still your job to hit every single one of these points with every customer. If people leave because they have to wait then so be it.”

      I also had a manager tell me that if the customers are really upset about waiting they should call corporate and complain so we can get more hours.

      • Difdi says:

        Complaints to corporate are far more likely to result in reduced hours or even the employees getting fired. Why? Because obviously the employees are unable to satisfy the customers!

        • qbubbles says:

          Not at the post office… remember, its a monopoly. How the hell else are you gonna get that letter there? Pay $4 to ship it fedex? Not likely.

          • Gulliver says:

            It is NOT a monopoly. If it were it would make money. I deliver many things that are not through the USPS. There is not a single thing the post office delivers that can not be done with a fully private company. It just costs more.

            • SonicPhoenix says:

              Except for delivering mail to an actual mailbox. From what I understand, the USPS is the only organization that can legally use your mailbox by federal law.

      • VeganPixels says:

        Customer service FTW.

  2. maggiemerc says:

    I’ve never had anything but wonderful experiences with my local post office. They’re always very kind and courteous. Sounds like this particular postal worker was a bit of an ass.

    • fredbiscotti says:

      Agreed, me too. but I know that there are a lot of jackass postal managers out there. It’s too bad that people that are trying to do an honest job, serve the public and earn a lving have to be subjected to such nonsense.

      • smbizowner says:

        yup

        our little post office is the training ground for jackass postal managers. lucky us

        I avoid as much as possible

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      My local post office is a tiny thing, but the people who work there are very nice. But despite them being nice, they still tell me the most expensive ways to ship first, even if I’ve said I want “the cheapest way”.

    • zandar says:

      the folks at my local post office are sane. these person is not. that should clear things up.

      Just for reference, sane post office desk staff offer different rates according to delivery date- that, after all, is the real selling point of these things.

  3. apple420 says:

    If she knows exactly what she wants then there is the automated postal machine. No need to be disrespectful to the employee who is doing their job and being clear of exactly what she wants. Is it easier to write the Consumerist then to respond “No, thank you”?

    • Yankees368 says:

      Not every branch has a APS. Heck, my branch isn’t even open on saturdays!

    • bobosgirl says:

      Does your post office still have one of those? Ours took out the stamp/postal machine about 4 years ago, and does not have room for one of the ones where you can swipe your card. In fact, I can’t name a post office in any town within 20 miles that has one that is in the lobby- so I guess I’m stuck writing to the Consumerist and/or being polite to our clerk, who flat out tells you she just doesn’t give a damn.

    • Jasen says:

      …then to respond “No, thank you”?

      Did you read the article? That is what she did. “No thanks, I just want regular mail.”
      That’s not disrespectful at all. In fact, it’s more polite than most people I run into.

      • apple420 says:

        I don’t see anything on the USPS web site that says “regular mail” so maybe the postal employee didn’t understand what she was asking for and had to start over. It sounds like she slowed it down by interrupting the guy.

        • tmac40 says:

          Hello Mr Postal Worker. Don’t you need to be upselling somewhere?

          • apple420 says:

            Haha. You know my first comment was supposed to be a joke, but everyone is so serious around here. It also jumped out to me that there isn’t anything called regular mail. Was she not able to just buy a stamp? She could have asked for a stamp. Or bought some stamps online? She can buy a book of stamps and not have to sit through the upsell ever again.

            • MMD says:

              But anyone with a grasp of the English language knows what the word “regular” means and would know that super ultra fancy express mail doesn’t fit that definition. So this is someone who either doesn’t grasp that or has a hyperactive manager breathing down his neck, forcing the upsell spiel.

              Neither scenario is a good one for anyone involved.

      • ARP says:

        If she interupted him before he finished his required speech, then yes, he has to finish and so her statement will only prolong the experience.

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          Why? That is the issue. Why should it be necessary? It doesn’t help make a sale. It’s pure stupidity.
          Or is this not the place to complain about lousy business practices when it comes to customer service?

    • Cry Havoc says:

      She did say, “No thanks…” Did you even read the article?

    • DcChick says:

      I love how you assume everyone in the entire world, OP included, lives in your town and visits your Post Office. There isn’t a postage machine in the lobby of any post office convenient to me and there hasn’t been for quite some time.

    • kethryvis says:

      My branch doesn’t have an APM anymore, nor does it have the old stamp vending machines either. It used to have both when i first moved here, but they suddenly disappeared a year or two ago.

      Seriously though, if you know what you want and you tell the counterperson politely that you only want X, then to me that’s the end of discussion. They shouldn’t spend 15 minutes explaining everything to me. USPS shouldn’t be becoming Sprint (whose upsell tactics are about to lose them a customer)

      • apple420 says:

        I’m surprised that more post offices don’t have an APC. There is no mention in the summary whether this office does or not. I doubt it was 15 minutes. It probably would have taken less than 30 seconds. I have bought postage from them before and they ask a couple questions and I tell them no. Maybe later today I’ll complain that McDonalds asked if I wanted a combo when I told them just the sandwich.

        • ames says:

          Oooooh, you’re one of those people where if it didn’t happen to you, it didn’t happen. Good to know. ::takes note::

          • apple420 says:

            “In the middle of his offer for express mail”
            I know the post office can be a boring place, but how long could an offer for express mail take? It sounds like “Do you want express mail it will get…”…”no regular mail”…”We don’t have anything called regular mail. Let me start over”
            Mcdonalds asked me if I wanted a hot apple pie too. And an orange juice. Better write the consumerist, I said just the deluxe breakfast.

            • Dory says:

              Yeah, I don’t think you’ve gotten the point here.

              She isn’t complaining about being offered additional services, she’s complaining about:
              a) Being offered services which are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the services she explicitly asked for, even though they did offer the service she requested. (“I’d like a hamburger.” “Did you mean a breakfast burrito?” “No, a hamburger.” “Did you mean a filet-o-fish?” “No, a hamburger.” “Did you mean a sundae?” “No, a hamburger.”)
              b) Being treated rudely when she pressed the clerk to stop offering her things she didn’t want. (“No, a hamburger.” “Did you mean a large fries?” “Look, I just want a hamburger.” “IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY GOSH LADY I HAVE TO OFFER YOU EVERYTHING ON THE MENU AND YOU SAY YES OR NO OKAY”)

              Both of these things are objectionable unto themselves from a customer service perspective, and the combination of the two is inexcusable. Upselling of the “would you like that super-sized?” variety is irritating but understandable. Upselling to this degree, in this way, and with this outcome is unacceptable.

              • apple420 says:

                OK, I walked into Blockbuster yesterday to use my gift card before they go bankrupt. He said “is that all?” about the one movie I had in my hand, and I said, “yes, just this.”
                Then he tried to upsell some candy and popcorn. I said no thanks. Then he tried to upsell me on a movie subscription service. I said no thanks. He asked if I was sure. I said I was. Those aren’t related to what I had purchased, and I had told the guy I was just there for one thing. (At least no more related than what the postal employee was trying to upsell the OP) I didn’t feel the need to complain to everyone that he wasted my time.

                • ames says:

                  You’re wasting my time. Consider this a complaint. I’m glad you have stellar customer service every place you shop, I’m glad that everything moves efficiently for you all the time. I’m sad (and somehow not surprised) that you are apparently incapable of pretending even for a second that other people have different experiences. Apparently in your worldview if it only takes you a minute to do something, then clearly it only takes a minute for every single person in the world to do something, and there is no middle ground for rude employees, delays that take longer than they should have, or any of the myriad complaints that populate this site. Why do you even read consumerist?

              • Gulliver says:

                Your analogy is flawed. You come into a restaurant and ask for regular hambuger. Is that the 4 oz or 6 oz burger? Would you like cheese on that? Would you like ketchup or mustard? Would you like pickles? And how would you like that cooked? NO I JUST WANT A HAMBURGER. The waiter delivers a plain well done hamburger, then she would bitch, WHERE’S MY BUN and its overcooked.
                Now, if the woman said, I would like to send this the least expensive way possible, the postal worker could check and say it was say $4.50 for this way or $4.89 with another way. It amazes me people bitch when a company gives them options, many of which the customer does not know the option is available to them.

      • BridgetPentheus says:

        they took it away at my local post office too, even the workers are upset about it, stand outside for about 5 minutes and you’ll see 1 of every 3 people walk in and walk right out when they see the line and end up going to the supermarket to buy stamps. At least they don’t do the up sell the only question is if I want regular stamps or whatever the flavor of the month is and usually tell me how to send whatever it is cheaper.

      • One-Eyed Jack says:

        Same here — only the biggest, newest post office still has vending machines,and of course it’s on the other side of town from me, while the “main” post office is less than a mile. I was told by postal employees the automated machines were removed because they were too expensive to maintain. In my town’s main post office, you can’t even buy a stamp if the main window isn’t open. They also removed the package drop boxes, so even if you buy internet postage for your Priority boxes, the window has to be open to ship them (or leave for carrier). Three cheers for USPS Customer “Service”!

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      yeah, no automated machine at the office near my house [semi rural] just the one near my work [in an office park]
      the good news is the semi rural post office workers are always too busy chatting with the locals [not in line] to even bother talking to me most of the time. we pass things back and forth, i sign the line they point at while they are talking to bobby joe about his tractor and i swipe my card on the machine and punch the appropriate buttons.
      the line is actually non existant the few weekdays i have gone before work

    • FerretGirl says:

      None of the post offices in my area of Virginia offer APCs. I’m totally bummed about it because they had them everywhere when I lived in Boston and it was great!

      The major sort center post office out on the very edge of the city has an APC that’s even available to use on the weekends while the POs in town close on Friday. So strange.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Even the most dim-witted of Postal workers should know that if someone says “regular mail” they mean the cheapest way; no frills or extra speed required.

      The P.O worker was an ass.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      There is? Of course there is. Everyone lives in your town, don’t they?

  4. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Our central PO is usually pretty good. I haven’t run across this yet, but I have to get stamps so I think I’ll take a letter in just to see what happens.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    About buying postage online – whenever I’m tempted to buy postage online it asks me the weight of the letter or box, and I have no idea how to determine that in a way that is accurate enough that I can feel safe buying postage. How do you guys do it?

    • jesirose says:

      You buy a $10 scale at Office Max, Depot, Staples, etc (Walmart even).

      If you’re going to buy postage often, it’s worth while. You can also use them to weigh food in the kitchen. I use a digital one I bought at a hardware store.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Kitchen scale.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      use a scale?

    • dolemite says:

      I’ve had problems with this when trying to ship items for Ebay. I never actually box/pack the items until after the auction, so I usually look at what everyone else is asking for postage on similar items. EVERY time, I get burned and end up having to pay for half the postage from my sale. For instance, I recently sold 3 Wii games. I bought a padded envelope for each game (6×9), and went through paypal for shipping. I asked for $2.99 for shipping (envelopes were $1 apiece). Well, each game was actually $5 to ship priority mail (pretty much the same price no matter what options I picked). One game (I included a controller) was actually $8 to ship! I think their prices have shot up a lot from the last time I shipped with them.

      • mr cloudy says:

        If the item weighs more than half a pound, I use my bathroom scale which is digital. Then I add like 2 pounds to cover the packing materials. Good luck

      • Beeker26 says:

        Games can be shipped media mail. Dirt cheap. Can’t do that for controllers tho.

        • LincolnK says:

          video games do not qualify for media mail. If the PO decides to inspect your package between here and there, the recipient will get charged the difference in shipping fees.

          • eli says:

            You sure about that? Software on CDs or DVDs is media mail. I can’t see why a game would be any different.

            • PatrickPortland says:

              From the above USPS link:

              “While video games may be read on computers, unlike books or films eligible for Media Mail prices, which predominantly further educational or informational goals, games, including board games and games in an electronic format, are used primarily for entertainment and they do not serve the same purpose as books, films, or other qualifying Media Mail.”

              • Beeker26 says:

                So I can send my Jackie Collins books and DVDs of Jackass the Movie cause as books and films they are educational and informative, but I can’t send my Halo DVD cause as a game it’s merely entertainment? That’s gotta be the most retarded thing I’ve read in a LONG time.

                So retarded that I’m betting most PO employees aren’t even aware of it, and therefore, it’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to care.

          • matt314159 says:

            from the USPS website: Media Mail® service is a cost efficient way to mail books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes)

            “Computer Recorded Media” = Video Game…it would be perfectly fine to send via media mail.

      • Beeker26 says:

        And really — if you want to get an accurate weight you have to pack it up first. You don’t need to seal it till you’re ready to send it out.

      • Starfury says:

        Anything 14 oz or less can be shipped 1st class mail (like a letter, remember those?) and gets there in 2-3 days usually. I’ve found most people charge the priority mail rates for a lot of items because they can print the labels at home and just drop the boxes off. If you want a bit cheaper you need parcel post but that is only good for bulky/heavy items that don’t fit well into a priority box.

      • dvdchris says:

        If you sell on ebay regularly, you need a postal scale. I recommend the Ultraship 55. Weighs up to 55 lb packages, has a tare setting, has a poster roll holder. Front face readout is detachable so you can put it on the floor and hold or mount the display where you can read it. You can find them online for around $25.

    • c_c says:

      I have a kitchen scale, that works just fine. A decent digital one can be had for $25 or less … and it has the added benefit of being useful for cooking!

    • Jula says:

      postal scale. you can buy them at any office supply store. pretty cheap 10-30 bucks, digital readouts, run on a battery. love mine.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      my sister has this problem with postage/weight. she does handmade greeting cards and she has a postage scale and weighs them before she adds postage and mails them from her mailbox. about half of them get brought up to the door by the letter carrier for being overweight and they tell her to take them to the post office.
      even though they are under the 13 ounce limit* according to her postage scale, she did that. the few times that she has taken them in the post office clerk said they were not overweight and that she could have put them in her mailbox. the letter carrier is just guessing because the envelope is a little thicker apparently.
      so now she mails them from work and there’s no hassle.
      *13 ounces being the weight cutoff for mailing from your home mailbox for homeland security and all that

  6. drjayphd says:

    I remember going into my local post office once and, even though I could rattle off the entire pitch verbatim, the clerk still read the whole thing. Why? He’d been written up for not doing the whole speech. Sounds like that one guy won’t be long for the job, seeing as he reacted in entirely the wrong way.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Yes, the correct response is to continue reading the pitch, eyes down, not looking at the customer, because the customer is your master. You also have to ignore the customer’s repeated demands for you to not do your job, because your supervisor is ready to fire you for it.

      Seriously, this is how employees react when they’re being told to do something stupid or be fired, and the customer is doing their damnedest to make sure the employee is fired.

      Remember that, at the end of the day, you don’t really have a better job due to any fault of your own, you’re just lucky. Lucky your company hasn’t gone under, or lucky that your boss isn’t an ass.

      • HoJu says:

        Theres a very good chance that when most of these postal employees got these jobs the USPS wasn’t the lame-duck WalMart of delivery services that it is today…. unfortunately.

  7. Brunette Bookworm says:

    I went through this at the post office recently. The woman apologized and said she HAD to start with the most expensive option first. When I told her I was going to ship all the things via priority mail, she stopped but her boss came over and told her to make sure to offer Express mail, even though she already had. It sounds like the employees are being forced to do this even when you say you want something else.

  8. Marlin says:

    Yep the employees HAVE to do this or will get in trouble. They have even been told secret shoppers will try and stop them to see if they stop or give all the options.

  9. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    I feel sorry for those people having to spew the whole sales pitch at every customer. I used to work at a sleazy shoe store (Thom McAnn) that made me do the same thing (that, and clean the freaking disgusting bathroom). Anyway, I mail several packages most days of the week and haven’t stepped foot inside a post office now for many years. Thank goodness for online postage and cheap scales!

    • webweazel says:

      Me too. I picked up a digital scale (up to 11 pounds) for $20 a while back. I do the online postage for packages, and schedule a pickup for the next day, or just hand it to the mail person. Sometimes I go to the post office after hours and shove it into the package chute. I order my forever stamps online, and have them mailed to my house. Haven’t seen an inside office clerk of a post office in years.

  10. Macgyver says:

    Over the last couple, I get that also.
    I know what I want, don’t offer me anything else, if I wanted something else, I would’ve told them.
    But you can’t really blame the postal worker, they just doing their job, if they don’t, they probably get fired. They probably don’t even like doing that themselves.
    All of that comes from the higher ups.

  11. Skeptic says:

    These mandatory upsell scripts may well be the real reason USPS got rid of all of the stamp vending machines. By forcing customers to the counter they can try upsell customers services they don’t need. Trying to upsell a customer from sending a 1 oz first class letter to Priority Mail, the same speed for 10 times the cost, borders on fraud.

  12. NotYou007 says:

    I’m not joking when I state this. At my local post office there is a deaf guy that works the counter. I just wait for him to call on me. A word is never spoken. You just write what you need.

  13. dr_drift says:

    DON’T YOU SEE, MAN!? THERE IS NO MORE MAIL!

  14. evnmorlo says:

    The kiosks are good too.

  15. full.tang.halo says:

    Look at the machine they type in the info on your package, there is probably a white piece of plastic attached to it. That has a series of things they are supposed to up-sell to every person. I remember seeing them show up about 2 years ago around x-mas time.

    Thankfully the post office where we sent all our certified stuff for work is a small one. Every person there knows me, and knows that every time I bring something in, a. the paperwork is done correctly b. I know exactly how I want it sent or I will ask for prices on the options I want. When you’re not fumbling around, know what you’re doing, and are known, they cut you a lot of slack with the up-sell.

    It’s the old, the best way to be a regular customer is to actually be a regular customer, they know you, you know them, everything works smoother.

  16. gparlett says:

    The upsell at my local post office includes not only every shipping option, but the option to rent a PO Box at that Post Office, the guy goes through this for every customer. I know he’s being forced to do it, but each interaction takes 3 or 4 times longer than it should, and that’s why it takes my entire lunch break to ship a package.

  17. sopmodm14 says:

    upsells are a part of retail, sometimes the deals make sense

    but otherwise, just politely decline (the employees hate it saying it *MORE* than you hate hearing it)

  18. spidra says:

    I haven’t run into this yet. I feel sorry for the postal workers, though, just as I do for every customer service worker that is forced by some suit to go through a mind-numbing spiel that customers hate.

  19. Brian says:

    I’ve been printing postage at home for a while now, for this very reason… well, mainly it’s to avoid standing in the line in the first place. In most cases, this works beautifully (I just leave packages in the drop box), but for some things it doesn’t work quite so well. The one time when I had to ship an international package that required a customs form (this was before I had the all-in-one label available to me), it required standing in line to hand the package to a clerk. While there was no upselling, there was an “I’ll believe it when I see it” condescending attitude toward printing postage at home and getting the weight right.

  20. nandhp says:

    If you just want to mail a regular letter with regular mail, the USPS clerks love to sell you stamps, even if you’re just popping in for a “Hold Mail” form, and all USPS facilities have a special slot for mailing pre-stamped letters.

    If your local USPS location refuses to sell you stamps, you can usually get them at Costco, at the UPS store, or by mail order.

    • Daggertrout says:

      I can get stamps from the ATM at my bank. I think they charge like $.02 more per stamp or something, but it beats standing in line at the post office for 20 minutes.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        Besides Costco, you can also get stamps at most major grocery stores and they don’t cost extra – they’re the exact price as at the P.O.

  21. Amy Alkon says:

    The website tries to do that, too. You have to work hard to find the frugal ways to send things.

  22. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    To avoid this you can either buy a postage scale (or use the one at work, if you’re so lucky) to weigh your stuff. From there go to the USPS website and buy your postage online. Print it off and smack it on the package. No clowns to deal with, no wasted time.

    I never set foot in a post office anymore.

  23. ARP says:

    You wanted the Post Office to be run more like a private company? You got it- upsells, required speeches, etc.

  24. notanignoramus says:

    I have been in this situation before. Apparently there’s some sort of LAW (their words, not mine) that requires them to give that upsell spiel.

  25. matt314159 says:

    Cheap postage scale (https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_ship-now …bookmark it!) = WIN! You can choose any shipping option from Media Mail, to 1st Class, Priority, Express, etcetera, and it doesn’t have to be for ebay purchases, you just put in the address. USPS.com, in its infinite wisdom, only offers Priority shipping (imagine that!)

    • matt314159 says:

      Dang thing removed part of my post (either that or I did, inadvertantly) …meant to say, Cheap postal scale, plus paypal shipping (URL) = win!.

  26. AstroPig7 says:

    When will private companies learn that the more they irritate the customers, the less their customers will buy?

  27. MsFab says:

    I NEVER get those pitches when i send something at the Post Office. But then again, the majority of the time I use the flat rate Priority envelopes or boxes that are marked for Priority Mail only, so they really can’t upsell on a product they’ve marked as Priority only. But when I supply my own packing material, I just say “I’d like to send this Priority please” and that’s it. They ask if I want stamps & that’s about it.

  28. invisibelle says:

    To avoid this you could also not use words like “fine,” OP sounds like she might’ve gone in and acted like a bratty teenager. I’m by no means defending the USPS, I think they suck like nothing has ever sucked before, but you can’t act too surprised about a government employee being rude to you if you’re rude first.

  29. wchimes says:

    Postal workers are mandated to ask those questions every time, even if you come in every day and they know you. They are Mystery shopped and if they fail, there is hell to pay. The workers hate it, as they know their customers wants and needs. The USPS expects the window clerks to recoup all the lost revenue by pressuring you into the most expensive product, Express Mail. The worst part of this is that when Express Mail arrives ” earlier ” than the guaranteed time, they will let it sit until it HAS to be delivered. Yes, I have 28 years under my belt of this nonsense…

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Yep, and I feel bad for them. I saw a supervisor hovering around the postal workers making sure they tried to sell the Express first. Of course, there was also a long line and all the supervisor was doing was leaning against the counter munching on candy, enforcing the upsell instead of doing anything to help any of the customers or workers…I don’t know why they are losing money! *eye roll*

  30. Jula says:

    For my business I go 3-4 times a week. I print mine online, so no biggie anyways, but I NEVER hear this spiel being told to anyone on line at my PO. I still have to wait in line for other things, and they have never done this for me either. All they really ask is “Need any stamps or envelopes?” and let you tell them what rate you want for shipment. Maybe only in really big cities or really big PO’s do this.

  31. FerretGirl says:

    As a teenager/young adult I spent a portion of time homeless and tried to get a P.O. Box for mail. I didn’t have a permanent address, apparently you need one to set up a P.O. Box in Va. Well if I had a permanent address I would have things mailed there! The clerk put both her hands flat on the counter and hefted her tiny body up while she was talking to me, going from nearly whispering at the beginning to full on screaming at the end when she was pushing herself off the counter full length.

    “You must have a permanent address. I don’t believe that you don’t. You are a liar and you are lying to me you filthy liar!”

    So yes, I’d believe that they are insane people. It’s “going postal” for a reason.

  32. XStylus says:

    So how does one do an EECB of the postal service? Since they’re government run, I guess we should all just send a bunch of emails to El Presidente’s blackberry.

  33. Serenefengshui says:

    I hate mandatory upsell! It is a waste of everybody’s time.

  34. Hirayuki says:

    Unfortunately, all of the packages we send–anything requiring more than a DIY first-class stamp–are sent overseas: full-sized boxes, usually, or the occasional flat envelope. Flat envelopes can be processed at the APCs, but boxes require the full rigmarole of standing in line and hearing the USPS spiel a dozen times a year. No printing off postage and sticking it in a mailbox allowed.

    I haven’t come across the Uninterruptible Postmaton yet, but then again I assiduously avoid the rotten P.O. a mile down the road, home to the Post Office Nazi (who insisted I couldn’t send a small silver bracelet to my sister in Japan because, incredibly, “you can’t send silver thorugh the mail”–complete with ostentatious thumbing through an inches-thick book of postal regulations). Instead I drive six miles out of town to give my business to the most efficient and friendly postal workers I have ever met. I’ve told everyone I’ve worked with there how much I appreciate them, and I’ve contacted the Postmaster to that effect, too. Complaints can get things done, but it never hurts to give praise where praise is due.

    (The workers at the “good” office told me they’re a business like any other, where good buzz = more customers = more income = more chance of staying in business. I’m happy to do all my postal transactions with them if it means I’m helping the community can continue to benefit from their awesomeness. Vote with your feet!)

  35. sparc says:

    Postal Scale is a must these days just to avoid one line at the post office.

    Shipping online at the USPS website is a lifesaver for priority mail/express mail.

    There is also the USPS Shipping Assistant software that helps print labels, but you still have to affix postage.

    The third option is the Shipping kiosks in the lobby of many post offices.

    I avoid the USPS counters at all costs. The local folks are nice, but the lines can get obscene on the wrong days.

  36. Lucky225 says:
  37. moyawyvern says:

    Stories like this make me so glad that I no longer go to my “local” post office (which is not local at all) and go to the post office licensed place right down the street. The owner is always there and ridiculously helpful. I just go up and tell him what I want/need, and he does it with a smile. There is rarely if ever a line. And his hours are way better than the real post office, which is definitely not open until 6 on weekdays and 2 on Saturdays like this place is.

    • matt314159 says:

      Watch out that he’s not gouging you on the price. I tried to send something via flat-rate box at one of my local postal centers, and the guy wanted to charge me like $16.00. I asked him about it, and he turned the screen around to me, as if to say, “no, it’s right, look, that’s what it’s coming up at”…later I paid 10.70 to ship the same package via paypal shipping. He also marked up the UPS rates to about double the daily pickup rate (which I can also get through paypal)

  38. Puddy Tat says:

    What a jackass – I would have told him to simply go climb a tree and kept interupting him.

  39. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Most post offices seem to have electronic postal machines now that are VERY easy to use. I always see people in the looooooooong line and the machine with no line. I promptly hop in the machine line and do what I need to do. It’s awesome. Fast and no postal clerk to deal with.

  40. Zclyh3 says:

    This is EXACTLY why I have a stamps.com premier account. I’d rather PAY monthly not to deal with these clowns. Only time I go to an actual post office is to drop my mail off.

    Not dealing with any postal worker FTW.

  41. Pax says:

    Stop him. Say “Nevermind. I just want a single five-dollar book of first-class stamps.”

    Affix sufficient postage, slide the letter into the appropriate mailbox or mail-slot, and be on your way.

  42. TonyK says:

    Our local offices are very nice, save for a specific individual. All are helpful and a pleasure to work with. This is true for 2 stations in Knoxville, TN and for the station we used in Austin, TX. My wife LOVED the downtown Portland, OR station.

  43. Jasen says:

    USPS thinks they’re hurting now?
    Just wait until they piss off and alienate their remaining customers.

  44. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Thanks to online bill paying, I’m down to mailing 2 bills per month, or 24 stamps per year. Plus, I’m on a rural route, so I can put a check in the handy orange envelope (provided by the postal carrier) with a note asking for stamps. No human interaction at all. No upsells, and no dealing with disgruntled postal workers.

  45. JANSCHOLL says:

    This happens every time I go to the local post office. I actually break out in hives. The last straw was about two months ago when I was mailing in the renewal for passports, in a small package and wanted delivery confirmation on it. I was told I had to use registered mail. Mind you, I had sent a similar package the previous week and was able to get DC on it with no problem. I usually try to keep my packages uniform size do I always know right off what it will cost. I need to send a package to India soon and dread going in because no matter how many times I do the paperwork I am told its wrong and that I have to pay more (I know what the international rates/weights are and always keep under that). The PO is killing themselves. I now send electronic GC and dont give a crap if they die.

  46. elislider says:

    i havent been to the post office in a month or two, and for the past year theyve generally been throwing in a casual upsell to express. today i went in to ship 3 packages (boxes) and i could tell it was different. she did the standard “anything fragile/liquid/perishable/potentially hazardous?” bit and then immediately jumped to express mail, guaranteed tomorrow, insurance against loss or damage, etc. She even asked me if i wanted delivery confirmation even though she was already holding the confirmation slip that i handed her, since she was on auto-pilot mode. and she repeated all that for each of the 3 packages…. got pretty annoying but i didnt want to be rude and cut her off, since i wasnt in a hurry. post office is deperately trying not to hemorrhage money anymore it looks like. i would rather spend 10% more on the shipping options and not have to listen to them talk

  47. LuckyLady says:

    I do know for a fact that the postal workers are not permitted to offer certain services. I ship a lot of books, via Media Mail, and unless I ask for this service, it’s not offered.

    I had to visit the PO this week, and while there was one clerk fiddling around with a roll of tape at his window–not serving customers–there was a line of 5 or so of us. We had to wait for service while another postal clerk went through the line of us with a clipboard and filled out sheets of what we wanted BEFORE we got to the window. When she was done fillng out out papers, then she took her spot at her window and served the customers. It was totally useless.

  48. A_ndy says:

    Hmm, this is basically a re-run of my item they posted on July 19. It’s still ridiculous – I hope anyone who has teh postal service’s ear will … write them? no, call them, or alert the news media – this is the postal service shooting itself in the foot and hastening its own demise, and i think there’s still a place for it – not everyone wants to interact with a computer whne they want to send something (stamps.com or whatever) and not everyone wants to use a postage scale (and worry that they didn’t put enough postage onto something…)

  49. snowmentality says:

    At the post office I go to, I always begin the interaction by saying “Hi, I’d like to send this first class.” So far I haven’t experienced them trying to upsell me after I’ve clearly stated how I want to send my package. It’s possible my post office has gone rogue on the upsell thing, though.

    They do ask me if I want delivery confirmation or insurance, but that takes 5 seconds to answer “no” and I think those are reasonable options to offer.

  50. yulingo says:

    Interaction with employees is supposed to be more pleasant because you don’t have to interact with a computer or a system which doesn’t know any better than to just spew information at you until your mind goes numb.

    They might as well replace their employees at the counter with touchscreen kiosks. Would accomplish exactly the same thing and cost less.

  51. sixtyten says:

    A bit of a twist on the above scenario – last week I was upsold then denied service while attempting to mail a package to France. I needed tracking as the previous 1st class parcel had been lost. They said that the next upgrade, Priority Mail ($28), did not offer any means of tracking, so the only way to go was Express ($33) or Global Express ($64).

    They then refused me Express because I didn’t have a “state” listed on my shipping address. I reminded them that I was not sending within the United States and La Poste requirements do not require a state – simply the name, street address, city, postal code, and FRANCE. No matter what angle I took they refused, saying they had to enter something in the computer for the “state” field.

    I got frustrated and told them I HAD to mail it and the address was correct (it was). The response I got amounted to a shrug and suggestion to forget about tracking and send it regular mail. Then they wouldn’t have to enter a state into the computer. Brilliant.

  52. SJ says:

    Next time, turn it back around on him. Act interested in every service, and have it explain each one in detail to you. See if you can make it past the 1 hour mark.

  53. EyeintheLAsky says:

    Last time i was actually INSIDE a post office, about 4 people were ahead of me.
    Suddenly, almost a dozen others came inside.
    There were TWO postal clerks working behind the desk…and all of them seemed to have most of the life sucked out of them, by the way they were moving ( s l o w l y ).

    When it was my turn at the counter, i asked (tongue in cheek – but don’t think it was recognized as such), if there was anyone else that could come to the counter to start helping the others in line.

    Just about then, another gentleman poked his head out from behind the thick felt curtain that lined the open window behind the counter.
    I pointed excitedly at the guy and said “How about HIM?! He can help.”. To which the guy helping me waved him off, saying “he can’t help. he’s management”.

    i quickly said “what, did he NOT pass the exam that covers dealing with people?”
    the guy tried to stop smiling, but you could see he enjoyed the joke.
    the people waiting in line heard it too and started laughing. the management guy scowled and went back into the abyss of the backroom.

    i SWEAR i thought i heard the sound of a shotgun shell being racked-up come from the abyss.

    Got out of there as fast as i could.

  54. Blious says:

    Going to USPS stores has become so comical that I hope we shut down more of these stores to get rid of these workers who do absolutely nothing all day other than screw customers

    I buy all my postage online so I can avoid those scumbags