Yup, there’s no doubt about it.  Heat DOES travel faster because you can catch cold.  Badump bump.

Apparently I got run down enough that, along the way, I let a cold virus in.  Now, the thing is, since I quit smoking ten years ago, I haven’t had ONE SINGLE COLD in all that time.  I may or may not beg off early at the Post Office tonight.  I’ll have to see what my energy level is but, if I run out of gas early, that’s it.

But I’m here to explain to you today why it costs so much these days for you to mail a letter or a parcel.  It’s not because of the rising cost of X or the price of Y that influences X, it’s because the Post Office (at least what I see here) is run by a bunch of idiots who are very full of themselves but have not one clue as to how to even begin to address the chaos and waste that is what they “supervise.”

First of all, during the holiday season, they “elevate” regular employees to the supervisor level.  Great — gives ’em a chance at something.  But they have these “supervisors” chasing their tails all over the place and all they can do is react instead of lead, organize, and get something done.

Because of their serious lack of leadership skills, they don’t know how to address the phenomenon that is the “holiday casual employee.”

We work along a conveyor belt upon which packages are dumped and we sort them by zip code, and pitch (OK, more like THROW) them into big wire containers called “crab cages” or big six-foot cardboard boxes called “gaylords.”  In all, there are roughly 45-50 containers to sort and pitch into.  At 8:00, two hours after the start of our shift, more than two-thirds of the “casuals” just casually walk away, proclaiming “It’s time for my break,” leaving one or two people behind (who are also due for break) to handle the hundreds of packages that need to be sorted over that long expanse of real estate containing all of those containers.  The “supervisors” see this, and are clearly annoyed with it, shake their heads in disgust, but can’t be bothered to say anything about the sudden exodus of mail handlers at break time.

Then there are the folks who, after they leave the belt line to go on break with their buddies, don’t seem to understand the concept of a fifteen minute break — they take a half hour, sometimes more.  You know who these people are because when YOU only take 15 minutes and come back, they say “Wow, that was fast, did you even take 15 minutes?”

Then there’s “Tony,” who’s the “big boss.”  Tony is pretty full of himself.  Approach him and say “Hey, Tony…” and he responds immediately with “Talk to your supervisor!”  Right off the bat, you can infer that he doesn’t really give a rat’s patoot what you might want or need.  He holds himself way, way, way up there as “untouchable.”  Now, the problem is, he reigns over so much chaos that it is often impossible to FIND a fucking supervisor and there are times that you need an answer NOW, not 45 minutes later when you can finally track down the supervisor.

At the start of our shift, we are all “contained” in one area while supervisors pluck us out of the crowd — like cattle at an auction.  Throughout the night, we are sent hither, thither and yon, often on wild goose chases that result in so much lost time.  And still, the mail sits and waits to be processed.

Do you order your cigarettes online through the Native Americans?  Well, if you do, we hate you!  LOL!  Not really, but I can’t begin to tell you HOW MANY palettes of cigarettes, packaged in “priority mail” boxes, we see come through there.  But here’s the thing…if you’re paying for “priority mail,” you’re wasting your money.  If there is other mail to be processed, your cigarettes take a back seat to all of it, and those palettes might sit there for DAYS waiting to be processed.  Save yourself some money and only pay for the cheapest way to get them mailed.  Plan a bit farther ahead so you don’t need them right away because you’re getting screwed on what you pay for at the post office.

One area where I have worked the past couple of nights requires “mail handlers” to unload containers and sort the mail onto several different lines, two of which are for air travel.  These two lines require clerks to scan each item and process them into another container.  Our shift STARTS at 6:00 and there are no clerks that start until 7:30.  So, the mail gets stacked up, falls all over the place, gets mixed in with the other stuff, and then needs to be re-sorted — a grand waste of time, resources, and money.  I’m pretty sure that even a 12 year old with borderline intellectual functioning could figure out the solution to this problem…SCHEDULE A CLERK TO START AT 6:00!

Last night, I followed the fire trucks into the Post Office parking lot.  Two fire engines, one rescue squad, an ambulance, and the chief’s vehicle.  I observed roughly 20 or so people standing in front of the guard shack (as we are instructed to do) and wondered “Where is everyone else?”

Well, it was damned cold.  And snowing.  And most folks said to themselves “Fuck this, I ain’t standing out in this shit, I’m sitting in my car” and off they go.  In the meantime, they’re calling roll to try to determine if everyone is out of the building and these folks are no longer there to say “Here!”  Now someone has to go back into the building (where a heater is actually ON FIRE) to find these people that can’t be accounted for.  Where are the supervisors?  Where’s Tony?

To make things worse, the “Hub” where I work apparently doesn’t have a working fire alarm system installed in it.  Several of the folks that I work with were apparently sitting in the break room, waiting for the shift to start, oblivious to the fact that there is a fire and a fire alarm.  Someone popped in there and told them “You have to get out, there’s a fire alarm!”  Good thing that person took that responsibility on themselves — not a supervisor, not Tony, just someone who had enough brains to realize that there was no audible alarm and there were probably people who were oblivious to the emergency.

Oh, and, did I mention the fact that a couple of nights ago they took the radios away from the supervisors for some reason, so they couldn’t even get ahold of them to TELL THEM there was an emergency?

This place is fucked up.  But it doesn’t have to be — the greatest problem, from where I stand, is a complete and total lack of leadership from the top down.  There are “casuals” who work there who exhibit better leadership and job knowledge than many of those “in charge.”

All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t work there full-time.  But I can do this for three weeks at the end of the year.  The money’s not bad and, as long as they don’t have a fire or other emergency which requires notifying those of us in the “hub” by smoke signal, I’ll stick it out.

I need a nap, though.

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