One of the joys of writing novels is autographing them when very kind readers won’t settle for the standard issue from Amazon. Unfortunately, as a free-lance writer without a corporate account at FedEx or UPS, I then entrust the books to Our Rulers’ abysmal Post Office for delivery.
Well. One day in mid-January, I mailed books to four recipients. I sent each via Priority Mail with $5.75-worth of stamps rather than heading to the PO and standing in line for the pre-printed adhesive receipts to stick on the envelopes. I dropped the packages in a mail-box, blithely ignoring the little sign that adorns it: “Achtung: Mail over 13 ounces must be submitted in person to our barely civil dimwits at the dirty, crowded PO because we’re a bunch of paranoid idiots who fantasize that you might be a terrorist mailing a bomb” (or words to that effect). No one I knows pays any attention to this lunacy; I certainly never do, and I’ve mailed a great many books.
Priority Mail supposedly arrives in 2 days, but I long ago gave up hope of such a feat: I’m happy if books reach their recipients in a week. And while 3 of the 4 packages I sent in that batch arrived, the fourth didn’t…and didn’t… and didn’t. It finally returned to me yesterday, as bedraggled as anything would be after languishing in Our Rulers’ clutches for two months, with this notice: “Important Customer Information: We regret that your mail was not collected or is being returned to you due to heightened security requirements. All mail that bears postage stamps and weighs more than 13 ounces MUST be taken by the customer to a retail service associate at a Post Office.” [Emphases original.]
Let us cogitate on the jaw-dropping absurdities here. If I am mailing explosives, isn’t a long line the worst possible place to order me? And if my books were explosive (I happily admit that they are, though not literally), the package certainly had enough time to detonate after two entire months of sitting around one postal purgatory after another.
The Post Office: stupid, inefficient, a boondoggle, and so desperately in need of abolition you know politicians will fight to the death for its existence.9:35 am on March 11, 2014 Email Becky Akers