Saturday, October 20, 2007

Momma's Gone Postal

I haven't sent anything through the mail since, I can't even remember the last time. So, when I went to pay the mortgage and the woman behind the counter said, "our office is now closed and you'll have to send your payment to Guam," I stood there for a few seconds unable to move. "You mean through the mail?" "Yes, do you have the address?" "" "Uh, no." She meant the kind with a zip code. That was only the beginning of the mail trauma.

I haven't had a postage stamp since, since the Young Elvis stamp came out. So, I took the trek to the U.S. Post Office in Chalan Kanoa to buy stamps for to send off my bill. Did you know that the stamp machine doesn't tell you which stamps are sold-out until you put your money in it? Did you know that the dollar bill slot doesn't work? Did you know that even if you run to the Chinese store across the street to get quarters because the dollar bill slot doesn't work and you find out that the stamps you want are sold-out you can't get your change back? Ya-ha, neither did I!

I put $1.50 worth of quarters in the machine and then found out the $1.03 stamps were sold-out. Having no more quarters left, I stood there punching all the letter-number sequences I could, bingo, and then put my head on the machine in an act of surrender when it took my money! No change, no money back, no stamp, no luck. So, I ran back to the Chinese store where the man was not smiling anymore and got change for $3 more. I ran back to the USPS and dropped the quarters in and even though it previously took $1.50, I am still .75 short! Why? Because I was too slow deciding which sold-out stamp to buy. I wanted to cry, but I kept punching the letter-number sequences hoping it would take pity on me and sense my desperation. At the same time I call out, "Help! Anyone working in there?" "I need help." I know there is someone working because I hear the pitter-patter of mailman feet through the PO Boxes and I hear island jams playing in the background, but does someone come out to assist me? Nooooooooo.

My mortgage is late, my quarters are in the machine and soon the tell-tale beep marking the loss of three more dollars will reverberate through the walls. I need one stamp, one stamp. Now I have to buy the only stamps not sold-out, the international $3.75 stamps to send my payment two hundred miles South to Guam. Why?! Where is the electronic payment url? Where is the consideration?

Three people walked in and out obviously averting eye contact with me, the crazy woman negotiating with the stamp machine. "Why?" I whined, stroking the cold, calculated metal. "Come on, one stamp!" Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. I turned into my mother, unafraid to plead the mercy of strangers, "Excuse me kind sir, would you happen to have one stamp, three quarters, you see this machine has taken my money and I'm afraid I won't be able to send off my prescription for insulin, for my diabetic, attention deficit, hearing impaired great uncle who is wasting away on the veranda." Only one man, obviously a man after His own heart took pity and ran to the very Chinese store I had gone to get me three quarters before the machine beeped!

It's a good thing my children weren't with me. Not only would they have been horrified at my behavior, I was so grateful I might have gone home with one less Gomez. "My youngest child for your undeserved generosity good sir!"
Good one Mr. O!
Me: My ear is totally itching, I must be having an allergic reaction to something.
Mr. O: Ooh, maybe you have pink eye.
Me: What? I said my ear was itchy, not my eye.
Mr. O: Yeah, that's what the paper said the symptoms of pink eye were. Facial itching. You didn't get the nurse's article?
Me: What?! No! Nurse Reyes, where's that symptom sheet! My ears are itching, and so is my cheek. Oh no, I can't get pink eye!

Nurse Reyes running in, Mr. O sneaking out of my office.

Me reading symptom chart: That's not funny O!


bigsoxfan said...

Crap, this post is funny, yet topical. Let's see, the USPS is a federal office, they can't maintain their machines which assumably generate some revenue when they are working (I'm imagining that function is outsourced) Myself, I always went to a chinese store first for stamps, which makes me part of the problem. Ie. no demand no service. However,are we are supposed to think the feds are going to do a good job managing immigration, like they can manage the post office?
Congratulations Borego, you've managed to bring an entertaining tale of daily life into the big and better world of political debate.

Anonymous said...

Boni: You are INSANE! That was sooo funnny! Thanks again for the laugh. Btw, I saw you in that group photo in Marianas Variety (online). You were like the only person not smiling.

Boni said...

Thanks Bigsox: The funniest thing is it's a totally true story. Steve: I am too smiling, look again. Suzanne, on the other hand is not and now that you mentioned it, I'm going to tease her about it.

Jeff said...

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate actions. Self service is one more burden the business world is foisting on consumers. I guess they're tired of moving jobs to the third world and here is one better -- eliminate them completely for no service.

Boni said...

Jeff: doesn't seem to matter here, human or not, customer service stinks. I know of very few places where I feel welcome as a customer, seems like even my money isn't enough.

Jeff said...

Shell gasoline doesn't have tire air, or the can tire inflator to seal my flat.

Carmen Safeway doesn't have the one thing that makes them unique, that french bread I like half the time. Oh, we sold out, they tell me. So make more already.

The stores here stink.

Boni said...

I stopped by Han Nam to buy Tony some sanitizer so that he wouldn't get pink eye. I asked the cashier if there was any and she said "nothing". I continued to look through the aisles while she announced they didn't have any, they were sold out, I wasn't going to find any. Finally, the manager started looking with me and ten minutes later - viola. She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "oh, you found". The stores, the service, the customer care, it's all getting to me.

Tiningo said...

Hilarious post, Boni! I love this stuff.


Marianas Eye said...

Hilarious post, Boni! I love it.


(that was me on that last message. i was signed into my other gmail account)

Saipan Writer said...

Funny post. Really well written and, you didn't need to tell us it was true--that's so obvious. Nothing but the truth could be so hilarious.

I, on the other hand, love the post office. I like snail mail. I use it at every opportunity. I like to go the post office when it's open and buy my stamps at the counter. Stamps from machines seem so cold and impersonal! And obviously frustrating. Snail mail is a little bit out of date, granted--but I like seeing those neatly lettered envelopes shooting down the mail slot. And I like getting letters, too.

If I'd been there, Boni, I would have given you the stamps. (I carry them around in my purse.)

And Jeff, btw, you can get the same French bread as Carmen Safeway's at Ebisuya. Yum.

Boni said...

Thanks Jane:) Sometimes I prefer electronic mail because I don't have to face cold and impersonal humans.

Hope said...

Ha ha! Thats so funny! Mr. O is really funny. Good one.

Jeff said...

It's so much easier to say "nothing." I asked for something at Joeten once, something like "where's the spaghetti sauce," not exactly that but in that vein, and they just said they didn't know and walked off. I wonder why business is off.

Saipan Writer said...


Maybe it's a conspiracy against bald men!

I was at Joeten last night, asked for tootsie pops (for Halloween) and had the kid who as working there lead me to the place, show me several different versions of the candy that was available (minis, caramel), and when I asked for yet another (the traditional), had him tell me they didn't have them at Joeten but I could find them at Price Costco.

But yeah, friendly customer service does make a difference!

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Maybe send the payment next time with no stamp, COD.

Buy a sheet of 1 centers and cover the envelope./ Drive em crazy with their little stamp cancelling stamp pad. (:-))

Angie said...

You made my day! Everyone here at Oleai's is staring and my son moved away from me, but I enjoyed the story/truth by laughing out loud, because I could just visualize it! I think it is just another symptom of here-not having the right supplies, or very little of them.