Going Postal

International stamps I'm a patient man, but I have no patience for bureaucracy.

I hate bureaucracy; in Hong Kong, it's rampant. Hell must reserve a special section for bureaucrats.

Because of bureaucracy, I nearly went postal at the post office.

"Hell must reserve a special section for bureaucrats."

I had items I wanted to send as a parcel, but I wanted to use a padded envelope instead of a box. I queued at the parcel counter, because I needed to know the cost of parcel post.

When my turn came, I asked the man behind the counter about the shipping charges and requested an envelope. He told me I had to go to a different counter first to buy the envelope. It sat on the shelf in plain view not three feet away.

"Why can't I buy it here?"

"Sorry, we can't do that."

Annoyed, I had to queue again. When my turn came, I showed the woman the items I had and asked for the large padded envelope. She handed me one that was clearly too small and assured me it would fit. To prove her wrong, I tried it. It didn't fit.

When she gave me what I'd originally requested, it fit. When I asked about mailing it as a parcel, she told me to go to another counter to buy regular postage, which would be cheaper than parcel post. Realising it would do me no good to ask why I couldn't buy postage at this counter, I went to the other counter.

Twenty people were queued ahead of me. There were three service windows, two of which were open.

Sigh.

· ƒ ·

Back to the parcel counter I went. Once again I queued.

When my turn came, I asked about shipping parcel post versus the cost of regular postage. The man looked annoyed that I was asking questions which required him to use his brain. He told me mail and parcels took the same amount of time to deliver. Why didn't the woman who sold me the envelope tell me that?

Irritated at the run-around, I asked about SpeedPost service. The price was higher, but with much faster delivery. I chose it.

Then came the final straw. The address and contact information I had was written in Chinese. The guy handed me a form and told me to write the address and shipping information. I pointed at the note and told him I didn't know how to write Chinese. He rolled his eyes and told me to try to write it.

"I wanted to clutch him by the throat."

I was flabbergasted. I wanted to clutch him by the throat. I thought: Take a good look at me, pal. Do I appear Chinese to you?

Next, he had the gall to suggest I get another customer to write the information for me. He refused to take two minutes to help. Had I been able to reach him, I would have put him in a hurt locker.

Disgusted with the inept and apathetic service, I stalked out of the post office with the parcel tucked under my arm. I was royally pissed off.

Later, Mabel wrote the address on the new envelope. Now I get to waste time making another trip to the post office.

If I get any more hassles, you'll be hearing about me on CNN.

June 19, 2000

Next Tale: The Funky Chicken