i want to make this clear, right off the top: no one envies postal employees at this time of year. it's harsh work tramping through snow and sleet and driving in dangerous conditions or even just standing at a counter with a line up of people who are all convinced that it's your fault that they waited too long in order to mail your holiday packages. those jobs are thankless and everyone should bear that in mind when dealing with postal employees close to xmas.
however, there is a sort of mentality that seems to permeate the upper echelons of the postal organisation that i would like to characterise as an absurdist conspiracy. they're all mad there and they want you to join in the fun. to illustrate this [again] here is a conversation i had with a canada post employee when trying to ship a package to halifax.
me :: hello, i'd like to ship this box overnight to halifax
customer service rep :: we can't do that.
me :: it says on the sign behind you that you do.
csr :: [double checking] oh yes, that's our overnight service.
me :: so i'd like to ship it overnight for it to get there tomorrow.
csr :: well i don't know if that would work.
me :: it's 8 in the morning. your counter just opened. doesn't that mean that the package will go out today and arrive tomorrow?
csr :: well i wouldn't bet on it.
me :: i don't understand.
csr :: well the guaranteed next day service only applies when you're shipping to a city.
me :: halifax is a city.
csr :: yes, i know.
me :: so why wouldn't the guaranteed service be available?
csr :: it is. i just don't know if it would get there by tomorrow or not. it's very busy.
me :: so your guaranteed delivery service isn't guaranteed to get there?
csr :: well i would never guarantee that. but you can ship it for next day delivery and if they don't deliver it, you can call canada post and ask for your money back.
me :: but will they still deliver my package after?
csr :: i can't say.
me :: [ponders length of time it will get to fed ex counter and determines it is not an option] ok, well, i want to ship my package.
csr :: are you sure?
me :: yes.
csr :: and when would you like it delivered?
me :: um... how soon can you get it there?
csr :: well we have the overnight delivery service.
me :: i think i'm going to go lick an electric socket now.*
csr :: pardon?
me :: i'd like to ship it overnight.
*it's possibly definitely true that i didn't say this out loud. but i really wanted to.
note :: while checking the postal code to which i was shipping, i noticed that canada post's web site will soon be limiting the number of postal codes you can look up on line. i believe that the restrictions will only limit the number you can look up in one day, but there's very little information available. i have to wonder who in hell thought this was a good idea. looking up postal codes is one of the few things that would drive people to the canada post web site. in particular, it seems like a spectacularly bad idea for a company that is poised to start laying off thousands of employees. wouldn't they want to get people used to going on line rather than calling for this sort of information?