Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Post Office

It's almost Christmas so that basically means I have to take more trips to the Post Office. It kind of sucks, but it's better than not being busy.

So yeah. I usually go to the North Berkeley Post Office, which is pretty awesome. They take numbers, have the same 3 employees that are pretty efficient, and if I just need to ship domestically I can use the automated machine and skip the wait. But they're so efficient, and there's never a lot of people in there, that the wait is about 1 to 3 minutes. Sometimes longer if other customers don't have their shit together. Another awesome thing, is that they consider my prints and zines documents so I don't have to write out customs forms.

The only draw back is there's no window service on Saturday, so I can't ship media, and I can't ship to other countries on those days. So if I have a bunch of packages and if a good amount of them are foreign, I just would rather wait till Monday. But today I had to ship out my orders, and most of them were international so my only option was to go to the Downtown Berkeley Post Office, which by the way, really sucks, cause everyone goes there, and although they have more windows and they take numbers, it takes them a very long time.

But yeah. I get my number and then I wait, and when I get up there, the lady tells me I have to fill out these custom forms, which isn't that big of deal, other than it's kind of tedious. But then when I get up there again, she reads my descriptions, and goes, "What's a zine?" Which is weird, cause in the 8 years I've been sending stuff out to people no postal employee has ever asked me what anything i'm shipping is, but yeah. I tell it's like a little hand-made book, and the word is short for magazines. And then she goes, "Well, This is America, and you have to write your descriptions in English." Then I repeated that zines were short for the English word "magazines". Then she replied, "Well for us old-timers you should write the real description". And then I was like, "But the word "zine" is older than you...", but before I continued on, I then I realized I was one of those guys who was arguing with a postal employee so I gave up and scratched out "zines" and put down "books".

But the thing is, not to really argue to no one in general, is that they don't even know what I'm shipping. I mean, who checks? I could be shipping nothing for anyone knows. I could be shipping an empty envelope to Dundee. Or what happens I'm shipping something that most people wouldn't know what they were? Like a catheter, or a thurman. I don't know. I don't know. I think I got really confused when the lady asked me "what's a zines", but then it got even more complicated when she said I had to use English cause this was America. Which she wasn't being racist, and I never thought she was, it's just that this was in Berkeley, and you don't normally hear people telling you to use English "cause this is America", unless you were in like somewhere else. Like Idaho or Ohio, or somewhere else not in the Bay Area.

There actually is no reason to make a post about this, other than to say I hate going to the Downtown Berkeley Post Office, especially during the "Big Game". And I really hate filling out customs forms almost as much as I hate filling out delivery confirmation slips. And Cal students in any line I happen to be in. Or people who ask too many questions, or complain about the Post Office with strangers at the Post Office. And I kind of hate the number system at the downtown one cause there's so many people there, and you have to wait so long, you can't just put your headphones on and zone out until you get to the top of the queue, you have to listen to all the numbers.

Other than that I don't really complain about the Post Office.

My local post offices over the years:
1. Piedmont (1998-2002)- The first Automated Machine I saw was here, and it was awesome cause no one knew how to use it, so it was all mine. I went here for my time at CCAC. I traded paintings with other artists, and I traded stuff to random people for sending me stamps.
2. Emeryville (2002-04)- I moved to 54th and San Pablo and the local post office was in Emeryville, which was only about 10 or so blocks away. I actually didn't go here that often, cause I had just left school, and I had to work a real job, and I didn't sell products or prints yet. I shipped my artwork for group shows through UPS, but I went to the Long's Drugs to do it, just cause it was on my way to work.
3. West LA (2005)- For the one year I lived in LA this was my Post Office. People in LA like to randomly talk to strangers, so every time I was using the automated machines they'd ask about it but they'd never want to use it cause it didn't take cash, and at the time they didn't dispense stamps.
4. North Oakland (2006-2009)- Fuck. They started discontinuing the vending machines that sell stamps, so people got really upset about that, and I had to hear every time I went in here. It seemed like every time I came back from here there was a new story to tell, like the one time a Nigerian guy wanted the clerk to re-issue a money order cause he lost his the other day, or the amount of times people would just come up to the teller with a trash bag full of stuff asking how much it would cost to send their stuff. People would pull the fire alarm and there wasn't a way to turn it off unless the firemen came, and so you'd hear a constant siren that could be heard for miles. It was quite possibly the worst fucking Post Office to go to, but only cause everyone who went in there was a jerk.
1. North Berkley (2009-). I love U.


Ciaran said...

The one in the presidio is the worst. Grumpy staff, only one counter open at a time, no vending machine, no automated machine. And customers who are always trying to do something complicated. I've stood in a line of four people for half an hour there just to buy first class stamps. I hate that place.

Brendan said...

I always hated that one too. I used to grab a number and go to the library. Then I'd come back in half an hour and still have to wait another 20 or so minutes. Especially on saturdays. It's the worst. North Berkeley is the best.