It’s a beautiful Saturday here in Lake George and Angelo and I are enjoying this view of the lake from the hill in lounging chairs in the shade. A lovely way to cap what has been a nice vacation in Lake George.
I’m also cooling my heels after a not-so-good experience at the local post office this morning. Although I refuse to let that ruin the experience, I feel very strongly about it because the postcard diary I was putting together for this trip was a special one, given the deliberate effort to gather the postcards and the special stamps I was using for this set. I had gathered some of my special stamps purchased from eBay and had carefully wet them and affixed them on the postcards. I thought it would be nice to have them hand-cancelled at the post office, and just get the postcards back instead of letting them get beat up in transit.
Besides, the post office was very “inviting” as we saw the sign below the couple of times we had walked past it while going around town the last couple of days.
I gathered my 13 postcards along with a few others I had hoped to mail, all duly stamped. It was a slow morning and I walked up to the window requesting for hand cancelling on the 13 as I explained I collected them. The lady on duty at the solitary window became obviously miffed when I made the request to hand-cancel, more so when she found out I had 13. She proceeded to hand-cancel the postcards but complained they normally don’t hand cancel as these are done by the machines, and I didn’t even get the chance to explain about the special stamps I had used. She gathered the postcards and some other mail I said didn’t need cancelling and she proceeded to dump them in the bin behind her. So there went the idea to get the postcards back.
I held it in and didn’t say a word, but I was upset at her attitude for several reasons.
1). I don’t think I asked for anything unusual in requesting that the postcards be hand-cancelled. This was part of a regular post office function. I had 13 postcards and not a hundred and thirteen.
2). There was no line and it was not a busy morning. 13 postcards meant 13 motions with her dater/canceller which required nominal effort.
3). I am a taxpayer who went into a government-service institution requesting for service expected of that office.
4). As a postal employee, I thought that she would understand the relevance of the local postmark to a collector. I guess not.
5). I thought that for a town with less than their usual volume of tourists at this time of the year, the town and its vendors –the post office included — would be more appreciative of the business — more so for a “store” that has that sign emblazoned on its door.
I guess not.
It’s such a disappointment considering people are beginning to find it more and more difficult to keep the postal service relevant. There are talks of canceling Saturday delivery altogether in the midst of post office closings. And if we go to the nitty gritty of customer service, this is a sore point for a tourist-oriented town.
No wonder my previous postcards were postmarked “Albany” — they were not postmarked by the local post office.
Maybe she was having a bad day — but for someone working in a service-related job, even that is not an excuse, more so when you have this sign. Take it off the door, I say, if you can’t deliver.