Annoyed at the post office

Usually, I’m a big fan of the U.S. Postal Service. Seriously. I mean, think about it: it delivers millions of pieces of mail pretty quickly and at low prices. (Try sending mail in Europe or Canada, and you’ll see what I mean about the prices.) Sure, once in a blue moon something shows up in my mailbox in one of those “sorry we destroyed this in transit” plastic bags, but for the most part the USPS’s record is good in my book. Today, however, I had one of those experiences that made me think “Good grief.”

I went to my local post office to mail a package to my secret pal. I decided not to go with the Dutch yarn, which really isn’t anything special except for the fact that it says “Holland” on the tag. It’s not even an interesting color–just a very plain brown. (The shop where I bought it had a very limited selection.) Instead I sent some typical Dutch sweets, because she mentioned in her SP8 questionnaire that she loves candy. The summer swelter is nigh upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic, so I couldn’t send her any Dutch choclate or anything else that might melt. Therefore she’s getting hopjes (coffee candies–positively delicious!) and salt licorice. Yup, the Dutch are nutso for black licorice with salt on it. (They even make super-mega-salty varieties. *shudder*) We’ll see if my secret pal goes nutso for it as well. Not everyone likes licorice, though–and I suspect even fewer people like salt licorice–so if she hates it, I won’t be too offended. But at least she’ll get to try something she’s probably never had (or heard of) before.

So I get to the post office with my spiffily wrapped package with “SP8” as the return address. The dour postal clerk informs me that a package that weighs more than one pound (as this one did) must have a complete return address. If not, it will probably be opened, searched, and very likely put in a dead-letter file and never reach its destination. I know they are worried that a package might contain a b-o-m-b (just typing that word makes me worried that a slew of NSA agents will swoop down on my house as soon as I publish this post…), but this seemed a bit much, because I was actually handing the package to someone (so my fingerprints are all over it), I was probably being videotaped (do they have cameras in post offices?), and there wasn’t one iota of brown-paper-bag wrapping (I used a gold-foil Godiva box, actually). So I reluctantly wrote my address (but not my name) on the box and sent it on its merry way.

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