You do not have to read the papers to know that things are bad at the U.S. Post Office. Lines are ridiculously long. The one postal clerk at the service desk is trying desperately to ignore the line of fuming customers.  I have been to three different post offices in the last week trying to circumvent the issue.  It is the same everywhere.

I arrive with high hopes and one big box. Long line; ugh, inward groan, sigh, outward groan.  I notice two or three employees in the background and I am momentarily hopeful…maybe those people are going to come out and help? Five minutes later, I realize this is a futile wish; these employees are clearly doing something way more important than serving customers. The indifference is palpable. I count the ten people and twenty packages in front of me. I look at my watch.

Someone starts grumbling and soon the line is engaging in an outright conversation about the depressing state of the U.S. Post Office.  Having stood through two other conversations this week, I contribute way more than I would have imagined a week ago. The Post Office is closing half of their processing centers, canceling overnight service, and cutting back on close to 4,000 local post offices. Will this government-run institution be privatized? Should it be? And what is the story with the regulation requiring 75 years of prefunded retirement account payments? What would the original postmaster, Ben Franklin, have to say?

It’s a train wreck, a funeral parlor and a PR nightmare.  Can you imagine a line of YOUR customers in YOUR office having a discussion about your imminent demise? Further, can you imagine listening to this conversation and not saying something? It’s creepy, it’s eerie. I want out!

Good communicators recognize and acknowledge the elephant in the room. How about a sign that reads,”We know, we know, things are tough at the post office right now.”  Or some humorous quotes to pass the time. Something, anything, just let me know there are thinking brains and beating hearts on the other side. Until then, I am going to the UPS store.


Quotes about Waiting : “I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.” – Bob Hope

“It’s odd how people waiting for you stand out far less clearly than people you are waiting for. ” Jean Giraudoux

“No collection of people who are all waiting for the same thing are capable of holding a natural conversation. Even if the thing they are waiting for is only a taxi. ” Ben Elton