Editorâ€™s Note: Next Christmas, will someone please remind me that I MUST NOT upset the Line-Waiting Gods.
So I had to go to the post office the other day because I had to mail a CD that someone bought from me on eBay. Unfortunately, when I got to the Post Office there was a very long line of Christmas gift shipping procrastinators.
At first I thought, â€œHell no,â€ but then realized that my eBay rating was too precious to ruin with the possibility of a negative rating.
While waiting in line I noticed a machine semi-hidden by the patrons in front of me with the words, â€œAutomated Postal Centerâ€ on it. I wondered what it exactly was. As I got closer, I realized that it was an automated postal center (duh!), which I could use to ship packages, buy stamps, or check a zip code.
At first I wondered if it was broken or something, because none of the other thirty patrons were using it. Then I took a closer look at the other thirty patrons and realized that I was surrounded by senior citizens, who probably have technophobia and have no idea how to set the time on their VCRs.
I looked at the long line and then I looked at the Automated Postal Center. Then I looked at the long line again and decided to give the Automated Postal Center a try.
The Automated Postal Center has a touch screen, which allows you to make selections. Thereâ€™s a scale on the left hand side of the machine to weigh your package/envelope. Just select the type of postage, weigh it, type in the zip code, slide your credit or debit card, and wait for the postage label to print.
I thought this was so fast and easy. I was glad to be surrounded by gray-haired technophobes, who probably have no idea what a blog is.
While the label was printing, which takes about 30 seconds, I was doing the cabbage patch and kept saying in a taunting tone, â€œI donâ€™t have to wait in line. I donâ€™t have to wait in line.â€
Of course, this drew the attention of all the senior citizens waiting in line and I got many dirty looks from them, but I didnâ€™t care becauseâ€¦â€I didnâ€™t have to wait in line. I didnâ€™t have to wait in line.â€
After the postage label printed, I stuck it on my package and placed the package in the gigantic bin next to the Automated Postal Center. Then I looked at all the senior citizens in line and again began doing the cabbage patch and taunting them as I walked out the door.
That same day I had to go to the big red electronics store to pick up a gift card for a friend. The lines there were just as crazy as the line at the post office. Unfortunately, I had to wait in line since there wasnâ€™t a machine I could buy gift cards from.
So there I was waiting in line with about 15 people in front of me. Twenty minutes passed before the person in front of me got to the cashier. This was when things got worse.
The customer in front of me told the cashier that the Playstation 2 memory card was on sale, but the sale price didnâ€™t come up on the register. The cashier said it wasnâ€™t on sale, but the customer insisted that it was. Then the cashier looked through the newspaper ad, but couldnâ€™t find anything. She then went to talk to another cashier, who also said it wasnâ€™t on sale. Then another worker who overheard their conversation came up to them and said it was.
Their little employee conference took about five minutes and eventually the customer got the discount.
In my head, I thought, â€œMy goodness could this get any worse?â€
Apparently, it could.
Finally, when I got to the cashier, I asked her if I could get a gift card. She then said the worst four words she could possibly say, â€œWe donâ€™t have anymore.â€
So I waited 30 minutes in line for nothing and I was about to be angry, but then I realized the Line-Waiting Gods were just getting back at me for my actions at the post office.
Damn frickinâ€™ karma.
Item: USPS Automated Postal Center
Purchase Price: FREE to use (Must pay for postage and stamps)
Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Ship small packages and envelopes without waiting in line, unless thereâ€™s a line for the Automated Postal Center. Open 24 hours. Able to purchase stamps from it. Easy to use for some.
Cons: Never make fun of those who have to wait in line. May scare senior citizens with technophobia, which is probably about 99 percent of them. Canâ€™t ship large boxes. Damn karma.