Saturday, December 13, 2008

I found the work of 'rocket scientists'

Yesterday I needed to mail our Christmas cards (for those of you who are on the list, your card is on the way; if you aren't on the list, tough cookies). We had signed, sealed and stamped them all but the two international cards. I knew I needed two international stamps.

Yesterday I braved the downtown post office in late morning. My goal was to drop of my pile of stamped cards and purchase two international stamps from the machine, hence avoiding the line. I entered the post office and went to the mail slot to mail out all 50+ cards. The slot was designed by a rocket scientist so that it would only allow 3 cards at a time. I stuck them through the slot 3 at a time. It took a minute or two.

Then I went to the self service machine to purchase my stamps. One international stamp is $0.94. Here's the rocket science. The machine only allows purchase of one item at a time. There is a minimum purchase of $1.00. I started the transaction for one stamp. At the end it gave me three options: 1. Purchase a $0.94 stamp and a $0.42 stamp; 2. Purchase a $0.94 stamp and a book of $0.42 stamps; and 3. Continue with out purchasing. It did not give me the option of purchasing two $0.94 stamps. I gave up and stood in line.

I mentioned this issue to the woman at the counter and she said (and I quote) 'Don't blame me I didn't design the machine'. Hmmm... I did say to her that it seemed silly that you couldn't purchase two international stamps from the machine in one transaction and she said that yes she didn't understand it and the USPS wants to encourage the use of the machines.

I can understand the $1.00 minimum transaction on the machines. But wouldn't it make sense to make them a little more user friendly? I can't say its because its the government because the USPS is actually separate these days. But it does reek of illogical 'government planning' or general 'rocket science'.

Anyway, after I recovered from that trauma I had a relatively good day. I got my nails done (that was very important), went for a walk and ran a million errands. Today I am meeting friends for coffee and then am going for a walk before going to a party. Well, hope we get to go to the party. My friend who is having it lives in the area hit by the ice storm so we shall have to see if she gets her power back today. If not, maybe we'll go out to dinner.

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