1. They lost a package. I got a delivery notice on the Saturday before New Year's that they had tried to leave something in a "large envelope" for me, but they did so during the one hour I wasn't home that afternoon. I don't know why they didn't just leave it in the same place they usually leave packages, but at any rate, I had to go in there on Tuesday and wait in a really long line, only to wait even longer to find out that....they don't know where it is. They were suggesting that maybe it got sent out with the carrier again (even though the notice clearly stated that I could come pick it up that day), but it didn't show up in my box that day, or any other day since then. The weird thing was, the people in the line next to me were waiting for an equally interminable amount of time because their parcel was lost as well (this left only one clerk to help the entire rest of the line, which went out the door by the time that I left). They took my name and number and photocopied the delivery notice, but I have yet to hear a thing from them. I hope whatever it was wasn't important.
UPDATE: I received a call the next day telling me that the parcel had, at last, been found. That's a week later, if you're keeping score at home. I wonder where they finally found it, and I wonder what stories it could tell if it were an animate object.
2. The new postage-rate fiasco. As you may know, the rate of a first-class letter went up today, from 37 cents to 39. Is anyone surprised that, at least from where I'm sitting, it could have been handled much, much better?
First of all, the post office I visited on Tuesday said that they were out of one- and two-cent stamps (needed to make the old stamps still good) and would have some "soon." However, they didn't bother to say exactly what day the new rates took effect. You'd think there would be a huge poster on the front door of every location, but no luck. I finally heard on the radio that the new rates would take effect "this weekend," so I figured that I could easily get some one- or two-cent stamps and be on my way. Now, understand one thing--I almost never have stamps left over (since one of the few "letters" I mail is my house payment, just because it costs extra to pay online), but I did have quite a few remaining from my Christmas cards a few weeks ago. I didn't want them to go to waste, so I decided to just get the cheap stamps and go from there.
You would think that, on the weekend the change took effect, every post office would have one- or two-cent stamps in their machines in generous quantities. You would, of course, be wrong--just as I was for being optimistic in that way. On my way home last night, I visited six post offices (including the "main" branches for several suburbs), and all of the small stamps were gone; several of their machines didn't even have a designated space for them. I was smart enough to buy a couple of the new stamps from one of the machines that still had them, but I had already affixed the old ones on my two items.
Since the night was getting late, and my items had deadlines (one of them was my house payment, the other was a get-well card for an ailing friend), I finally bit the bullet, removed the old stamps and sent them out with the new ones. And even though it was only 74 cents that I'd wasted (and the gas going to the different post offices), I was not happy with them on general principle: They knew the rate increase was coming, they should have known that many people would have old stamps and need the one- or two-centers to augment them, and they were woefully unprepared for the amount of business that came in this weekend. Here's hoping that, with the increase, we'll at least get two cents' more worth of service from now on.