Yes, even in Seattle, which was recently named the most literate city in the United States, stupid people are able to infiltrate the general population and irritate those around them. Case in point:
I stopped by the post office this afternoon on my way home from work, and to my delight there were THREE windows open and only FIVE people in line. Sweet, I thought, this should take five minutes, tops. A 25-ish year old woman/girl goes to the middle counter with a gift-wrapped box (and a ribbon tied around it) and says she would like a larger box in which to put her pretty little present. The postal clerk goes to the back and returns with a box slightly larger than hers.
She puts the small box inside the larger one, addresses the package, and then, just as she goes to pay, she says, “So what happens if it’s delivered and she isn’t home?” to which he replies, “She will receive a postal slip in her mailbox and will have to go to the post office to pick it up.” Her response is, “Are you serious? She has to go PICK IT UP HERSELF?” to which he answers, “Yes, that is typically how it works.” She then begins inquiring as to how she can arrange for the package to be left on her friend’s doorstep. The postal clerk informs her that there is no way to guarantee that the package can be left, and most of the time the package should NOT be left on a doorstep.
She grows more upset by the moment. “But I just think that’s so unreasonable that my friend should have to go to the post office to pick up her package.” Meanwhile, the postal clerk at the adjacent window gets involved in this fascinating discussion, explaining that she knows postal employees down in Oregon who are willing to leave packages on doorsteps and she thinks there are different policies from state to state. Of course, the THIRD (and only other available postal clerk working) has to add his two cents, that the U.S. Postal Service is a federal body and is run by federal policies, so it should be irrelevant in which state the person resides. No, insists Postal Clerk #2, because she has a friend in Oregon who leaves packages on the front doorsteps all of the time. Well, claims Clerk #3, he probably shouldn’t, because he’s not supposed to. But they can do that in Oregon, Clerk #2 says, it’s just in Washington that it’s against policy. But we’re federal, insists Clerk #3, so it doesn’t matter what state you’re in…it got exhausting to stand in such a short line, but watching all three postal clerks furiously debate this earth-shaking dilemma.
Yes, all three available postal clerks are determined to get involved in this non-issue while the rest of us stand helplessly in line, waiting for someone, ANYONE, to assist us. Now, the postal clerk initially helping this moron notices that there is an apartment number on the package, and says, “Oh, well, if your friend lives in an apartment building, the postal carrier will drop her package off at her leasing office and she can pick it up there.” Again, the girl nearly goes hysterical. “But what if the office is closed and she can’t get to it?!” Postal clerk #2 asks how large her friend’s mailbox at the apartment complex is – that perhaps the box will fit inside. Moron insists that the mailbox is small and that the package will not fit. At this point, she says, “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to send it in a bigger box. I’ll send it in a way that I can just put a big envelope around it and maybe they can squeeze it into the mailbox.” So she TAKES THE PRESENT OUT OF THE BOX and tells the postal clerk that, since she won’t be needing it now, she doesn’t have to pay for the box upon which she has JUST WRITTEN HER FRIEND’S ADDRESS. Postal clerk #1 brings her a Priorty Mail envelope and puts it around the package, and it is large enough to fit easily. She asks if he has anything smaller, and he says he will have to check. He disappears again and returns with three different envelopes for three different ways of shipping the package. I thought the person in front of me was going to have a nervous breakdown if she didn’t get out of there. It was taking every bit of reserve she could muster to keep from yelling obscenities at Moron.
Finally, the woman being neglected by postal clerk #2 says, “Can you help me? I need to be somewhere soon.” Postal clerk #2 reluctantly returns to the dull simple transaction of selling a book of stamps.
I ended up at postal clerk #2 and shipped my package before moron and postal clerk #1 were finished with her transaction.
My question is – how did Moron end up inside of my city’s limits? Who let her in without a Visa? This experience was not unlike my journey down the stairs of the Arc d’Triumph in Paris and hearing the two loud American girls at the top going, “Oh my God, I would kill for KFC right now! I mean, what do these people eat?!” Wow, it is amazing Parisians did not starve to the point of extinction before American fast-food chains entered their humble city. It is remarkable when a group of people blend well, and then the ugly voice of ignorance towers above all.
So Seattle, most literate city or not, we clearly have work to do.