At the Post Office – May I Borrow Your Pen?

Planning to use a priority mail package and the self-mailing kiosk inside, I pulled into the Summerville Post Office. I checked to make sure I had my iPhone in my purse as I have not memorized my little sister’s address. Although I am sure in the town the size she lives in, everyone in the post office knows her.

  1. Package must fit Priority Mail packaging
  2. Package must weigh less than 70 pounds
  3. Package will be weighed to determine the amount of postage needed & mail zone the package is going to
  4. Label may be generated onlinet or at the post office
  5. Carrier may pickup package with notice; Priority Mail package with posted paid label can be put directly in the kiosk or handed to the mail carrier
  6. Other services are available with Priority Mail e.g. tracking, insurance

Yes, iPhone in my purse, but no pen. In order to mail a box Priority Mail through the post office, certain rules must be followed. No way- a woman always has a pen in her purse. Nada- not, no pen. Must be one in my car- I then perform various contortions, looking under all the seats in search of the lone Bic… no luck. Surely I can borrow a pen from someone inside the Post Office – I mean, all we are talking about is a pen, right?

All works well at the Post Office kiosk- transaction goes smoothly and the label to “middle of nowhere” prints without a hitch. I put together the Priority Mail box- adhesive strip works like a charm- now all I need is a pen.

I stand in the alcove looking around, hoping someone will ask if I need some help. No such luck- everyone is scurrying in and out- with determined looks, destinations in mind. I tell myself I am not leaving this post office because I do not have a pen. I take a deep breath. The outside entry door opens, a nice looking lady walks in. I ask her if I could borrow a pen. She looks at me like I am a loon. I back away, ashamed. I repeat this scenario again with the same outcome.

I look inside the inner portion of the PO – the line to the front is 20 deep. I do not mind standing in the line. I just feel ridiculous standing in it only to ask if I could borrow a pen. Ah, I spot an older “friendly looking” man standing at the middle working counter writing something- WITH A PEN. My plan was to hold back, wait until he finished, then ask to borrow his pen for just a second. I waited, he wrote, I waited, he kept writing, and writing and writing- an endless speel of who knows what. I abandon this plan.

I look up- all the people in the line are looking at me- daring me to jump ahead in line. Talk about a crowd mentality. I take another deep breath, walk up to the counter, assertively asking the mail worker if I could borrow a pen. She smiled and handed me the treasured object. By then I was so anxious my handwriting was shaky- I wondered if the mail carrier could discern the numbers. I handed the pen back, thanking her profusely.

I left the post office inner alcove averting the eyes of the people in the line. I quickly opened the outer door and walked briskly to my car. Only after I was safely in my vehicle did I realize I still had the package with me! Ready to just forget it, I made myself get out of the vehicle.

I walked back into the post office to place the now fully labeled package in the mail kiosk. Clank! No surprise here. The kiosk is locked. This usually happens when it is full. What this means is I am going to have to walk into the inner post office area again to hand deliver the package to the front clerks.

I take another deep breath. With shoulders back, I walk into the inner alcove, striding to the front window. In doing so, my purse catches on the edge of a copy machine sitting in the corner. The paper feeder clatters to the floor, the sound magnifying inside the small office.

All eyes are on me. I desperately ask the PO matron to take my box. I turn, ready to run, only to find an older gentlemen repairing the aftermath of my wreck with the copy machine. He expresses his desire to help, as he could tell I was having a rough day! Bless his heart. Seems there’s always a good Samaritan out there.