Customer service is back
Do you feel like you’re a thousand years old and not welcome in the modern world? Well, I have a happy story that will make you feel better.
You know how everyone hates his job these days, and there’s no such thing as customer service because nobody cares if you are satisfied with the work or the product?
And you know how when you go to the post office, there’s never any parking and not enough clerks, and you have to stand in line forever while someone is trying to send something to the Philippines or complaining about mail delivered to the wrong address?
And you know how so many retail cashiers have been hired from zombie movies and don’t even look at you or say thank you and then, although you’re the customer and the one who should be thanked, you’re the one who does say thank you and then you’re cranky because you said it?
And you know how some trendy restaurants are so noisy you can’t hear the person sitting beside you even if you both shout, and when you suggest acoustical ceiling tiles to the maitre d’ she says, “Yeah, well, we’re not going to do that.” And so after two visits, you don’t care how good the food is, you just want to be able to talk with the people at your table and not vibrate like you’re sitting on the sound system at a rock concert?
And you know how all of this makes you feel like you’re a thousand years old and not welcome in the modern world?
Well, I have a happy story that will make you feel better about this, especially about the post office.
When I was in my neighborhood post office recently I saw the new Save Vanishing Species stamps, which have a close-up of a gorgeous Amur (Siberian) tiger cub. Of course, I had to have some in honor of my own cats, who all think they are ferocious tigers or scary lions. And then I learned that some of the proceeds from the stamp sales go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. How nice is that?
Since the tiger stamp was unveiled in 2011, 43 million stamps have been purchased, raising $4.6 million dollars to help protect some of the most iconic, beautiful animals on Earth. Double good! I get the stamps and animals get help.
I bought three sheets of tiger stamps, but got home with only two of them. What an obsessive fuss I’ve made, looking everywhere for that lost sheet of 20 stamps. It’s not just about the money, it’s about the principle, although it’s about the money, too. So, compulsively, I made another trip to the post office to buy more tiger stamps. And waited for a parking place. And stood in line.
When I reached the counter at last, the clerk asked me, “Did you get home with your tiger stamps?”
“No! I lost one sheet.”
“I thought so,” he said. “Right after you walked out, someone walked in with a sheet he found in the lobby. You must have dropped it. I’ve been waiting for you to come back.”
Returned stamps? Waiting for me to return? I love you, anonymous fellow post office customer, for your honesty. And I thought kindness was a lost art.
I love you, Postal Service, for caring outside the box and saving elephants, great apes, rhinoceroses, marine turtles and tigers. And I thought greed had become the prevailing philosophy.
I love you, post office employee, with your caring customer service. And I thought you were a species as endangered as the Amur tiger.