Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lunch Break: Part 1

I needed to run some errands today...it wasn't easy, this is how it began...

1. I left work on my lunch break to go mail some packages and take care of transferring the title on my 4Runner. (Yes, I understand that my whole day is like a lunch break because I work for myself. And yes, I also know that 2pm is a little late for a lunch break. And yes, I also think its funny that I don't roll into work until 10 and then break for lunch at 2, and then check out at 4 because I'm exhausted.

2. So I go to this UPS store near my work so I can ship a few packages. I walk in and there is a 70 year old women (but not the nice kind of old woman, the know-it-all rude kind of old woman) sorting mail and making all kinds of grunting noises while there are 3 younger guy employees just sitting there talking and staring at me as I walk in. I stand there awkwardly for a second before asking if they can mail some stuff for me. They all sigh in unison and then one guy who obviously hates his life and chosen line of work trudges over to me and tries to help me.

3. He asks if I want to send it UPS or USPS, I ask which is cheaper, he says he has no idea, and we stare at each other for a while, and then he gives in and goes to check. Then another guy asks me if what I'm sending in the first package has any value. I say no, they're just drawings and he says "ok...", but with the tone of voice that says he doesn't believe me that they don't have any value and that I should rethink my answer.

While I'm second guessing on whether or not these things that I can easily reprint and have no value, have value, the old lady, who apparently only overhears part of the conversation tells me "you can't insure paper, " and we then to proceed to have a stare down. I then say "ok..." but with the tone of voice that says "I don't care, because I already said that I didn't need to insure them and it was your a-clown employee that suggested otherwise with his question and condescending follow-up response" (and yes I know its age-discriminatory to assume that the younger guys in the story work for the old lady, especially since they were the ones sitting around while she was working). So I say "I already told him that they don't have any value", but right after I say it I start feeling really bad, not because I'm talking back to some old lady who can't hear good no more, but because I just said that these drawings that I've spent months on have no value. She then says "ok, well, umphfg, bbbrrrhhhu..." but with the tone of voice that says "you don't have to be so rude sonny - back in my day, had a youngin' spoken to an elder like that, they would have gotten a cane across their backside and been taught a lesson"

4. The guy then comes back with the pricing difference and it turns out UPS is more expensive, but only by a little so I do it anyway. Just my little way of sticking it to the Post Office, aka wasteful government program. Go free market capitalism! But the guy looks pissed because he is thinking, then "why the hell did you ask which was cheaper if you were going to go with UPS either way?"

I hand the guy my list of names and addresses for where to send the packages to, and he tells me that I have to use their UPS form so I have to rewrite every single name and address. Once I give it to him, he enters it into the computer (only after conducting a thorough interrogation with me about each and every letter and number on the form) and then throws the form away, I was pissed. I guess my original list wasn't good enough for him (I use words like "list" as if I showed up with a detailed spreadsheet of these items - I really handed him 1 yelllow sticky note, 1 half-folded small note pad sheet (the kind with lines on it) which may or may not have had gum folded and wrapped in the third bottom quarter, and was going to read the third address off a card I had to mail - so maybe the UPS form was a good idea after all).

5. He then prints out the adhesive mailing tags and I notice the address is wrong on one of them (he should have used my original list). While he is reprinting a new tag, one of the other guys (who may have been staring at me this whole time, not sure) asks what is in the other two packages. Not knowing whether he is asking so they can maintain compliance with their no hazardous blah blah blah or because he is going to follow me home later and make me his lady, I fall back to my stare down plan. The truth is that I blanked on what was in them, Cindy had already pre-wrapped both of them, so I thought staring him down would buy me time until I remembered the contents. The others must have noticed this delay because they stopped what they were doing (sorting mail, reprinting new form (should have used my list), and nothing) and stared at me with looks like they might be on the brink of discovering a terrorist plot. I then reach inside the packages and feel them, and remember one, "oh its a GPS" and the lady says "is it in a box?" and I stammer a response "uhhh, yeah. Oh yeah, definitely, of course, haha, hehe, hmm." And then one of the others says "Well how much is it worth?" but in a tone that said, "we don't believe you so we are going to continue asking you questions until you trip up on one of them" or maybe his tone said "sweet, a GPS, I'm going to steal that out of his package later and then use it to find his house and make him my lady". I was scared, somehow they had turned the tables and had gotten the upper hand. I was quickly realizing that I was no match for this UPS gang. I should have been asking questions like "What the hell, what if it wasn't in a box? Are you not allowed to buy insurance on paper or GPS' not in boxes? And you over there, why do you keep grunting? And why are there so many of you here? Who are you people!" Then one of the others said "Well what about the other one?" and the other guy said "Yeah, what about that one!". I reached inside, felt the softness through the package and said "Its a shirt!" (Oh god I hope its a shirt, what if they check and discover I'm a liar and am trying to ship unauthorized socks or underwear??!!)

6. I finished my business and got the hell out of that place as fast as I could. I then headed for the county tax office to get the title transferred on my car...


  1. Was this UPS store located in an isolated warehouse with no windows and only one bright spot light continuously shining on you? This is the type of setting I imagined for your story. I think you were a little paranoid in this whole scenario, but it made for great reading! Perhaps if you hadn’t been sweating profusely and didn’t have Keith shaky-hands, they wouldn’t have asked you so many interrogation questions (once again, this is just how I imagine you during this whole incident). Next time you should try fedex. Their employees are generally less thugs and more just socially awkward. I am glad you escaped with your life and without being made anyone’s b*tch. Also, I have been on the receiving end of those “lists” with names, addresses, or instructions on them. You should just be happy they didn’t make you retype the info. Your handwriting takes years of practice to decipher (and I am sure your gimp finger has only made matters worse). I hope Part II gets posted soon, can’t wait! :)

  2. That was a great story, I like Jake story times.