My not so good Lake George experience with the Post Office

Saturday morning in Lake George
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.

Lake George Post Office sign: We appreciate your business - Really now?

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.

On the Road: Driving up to Lake George

An hour and a half away from Lake George, I picked up my first set of postcards from the Faber gift shop at the Walden Service Station in the Catskills area. My first postcard for my postcard diary for this trip is a map of the Catskills. The real catch were three lighthouse postcards I snapped up for my collection and for trading. (Will post about that separately.)

Lake George: Almost there

We’re driving up the New York State Thruway and it’s been a smooth ride with no hassles. No traffic, no construction to slow us down. This is one reason this is our third time in this area for a short break from the city — it’s not exactly a hop, skip and a jump away but it’s so easy to reach.

Finally arriving just after 2pm at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Convention Center, we headed to the Lookout Cafe to grab a bite. It’s a cloudy day but that helps keep the heat index down. The breeze blowing our way is cool and relaxing. My vacation has officially begun!
Lake George: My little guy enjoying his lemonade
Angelo had his usual burger (meat patty only, no bun) with french fries. I usually go for the seafood meat roll, and I spied a Cape Cod Crab and Shrimp Roll which was spicy hot but delicious!

Lake George: Lookout Cafe Cape Code Shrimp & Crab Salad Roll

Alan had the Cape Cod Clam Roll which had some deep-fried clam strips and tartar sauce. I’ll probably try out next time.

Lake George: Lookout Cafe Cape Cod Clam Strip Roll

We walked up and down McGillis Avenue and Canada Street. The townscape looks very different with a markedly thinner tourist crowd compared to the first time we roamed the streets during the Fourth of July weekend of 2010. There were many places that were just too crowded for us to make a stop at back then, and it wasn’t surprising that we walked into several shops and areas of the street we didn’t get to see before.

I took some breathtaking panoramic shots of the lake but I’m not going to be able to upload until I get back home.

We’re hoping there will be more sun tomorrow.

We’re right next to Fort William Henry of the “Last of the Mohicans” movie fame. This was where it actually happened. We toured the grounds and the museum in 2010 and it’s a little eerie imagining how crowded the fort had been with the wounded and the dying. There’s a reenactment this weekend of the Fort’s surrender, and we’re hoping to catch that one as a piece of a “live” history lesson.

One day down and I’m savoring every minute of it. Love my bed, love my pillow and tuning out of work. (I’m officially off!) No more work e-mail until next week.. now to go back to my postcards.. time to write the 2nd and so forth…