True story. Even the name of my friend is real, because how can you get better than the name of Mike in a story having to do with being tortured by well-meaning US post office protocols?
In fact, if I hadn’t been there to see the whole thing, I wouldn’t believe him. After the fact, I’d wished that I’d taken video. It was that good, and unreal.
Setup: Mike is mailing a box of cookies and candy and a birthday card to his daughter. She lives on an island. He’s done this before, as she’s lived there several years.
He comes up with the box and the teller puts it into the system and says the system is rejecting the box. It’s not the right box.
What? I got this box from you guys! says Mike. It’s rejecting the box, you have to get another one.
Like a good guy, he goes to the table and open his box, takes everything out, gets one of their suggested boxes (no charge) and seals it all up again. He addresses it and back to the counter.
Box is good, but now the address is being rejected. What? It’s the same as last year. We have a new system, maybe that’s part of it, but it says this street doesn’t exist.
Mike tries calling his daughter to confirm her address, and leaves a message. The USPS employee, to her credit, is trying to get her system to work as well. She finally suggests, that perhaps, a different box with that address could work.
Mike gets the different box, reboxes everything all over again, and comes back. Strangely enough, the box and address both work. Except for one small thing.
That’ll be $100. What??? That’s ridiculous. It’s cookies! It’s never cost that much!
By now a supervisor hears what’s going on, and visits. Looks over the situation, hears about all the boxes (3 so far) and comes to this conclusion.
The first box was the right size, but the wrong code. There’s an entirely different box, that is exactly the same size (I know, I don’t get this either) that you have to use.
I’ve been trying to console Mike all along, and at this point I realize I need to buy him a bottle of sedatives. He gets the “right” box from the supervisor, reboxes everything AGAIN, and gets to the counter. The address goes into the computer.
Now it gets back to real surreal. The employee has to ask all the exact silly questions all over again, for the fourth time. Is there anything dangerous? Do you want stamps?
NO NO NO! Please just mail it!
The box did finally get accepted, for far less than $100. Mike did eventually get out the door. But neither of us were sure what to make of the situation, except that we need to avoid anything like that at all costs!