While I was in college there a post office I could walk to from where I worked. Almost everyday I would smile and chat with Luis, a postman I had become friends with. The workers always treated me with kindness even when I was standing in their line multiple times a day, asking for specific stamps, or being completely clueless about shipping. No matter what, I had a nice experience at the post office. Because of this, I’ve always said that I enjoyed going to the post office because when I went in with a positive attitude I liked to believe it made everyone’s day better.
Since moving to Austin, this has not the case. I’m finally getting all of the negative vibes adults have been complaining about for years: “The system is inefficient” and “the workers are rude” to name a few. It saddens me to think that sending or receiving mail is this bad of an experience.
STAY WITH ME THIS IS NOT A POST OFFICE RANT.
About a month ago I found these adorable From Me to You stamps that celebrate April as National Card and Letter Writing month. I started hunting them down when they were released on April 1. The first post office I tried didn’t carry them because they are a smaller neighborhood office. The second post office closed the line as soon as I walked in the door, which I’ll admit was my fault but the man was very rude. A few days later I waited in line in the third post office for twenty minutes before the man behind the counter told me they didn’t sell those stamps either. Even though I had struck out again, I smiled and thanked the him. My positive attitude didn’t waver.
I recently started listening to a wonderful podcast, Back to Work (more on this later) and one of the hosts, Dan Benjamin shared a story about going into a CVS to get a prescription filled when the pharmacy was about to close and how his attitude in the situation completely changed his experience. The women informed him that the pharmacy was closing and she couldn’t fill the prescription. Instead of getting mad at her or irritated, he thanked her and asked if there was another store close by he could go to before they closed (there wasn’t). But, after having a pleasant conversation with her, she ended up quickly filling the prescription for him even though they had just closed. She didn’t have to do this act of kindness, but because he was understanding and genuinely nice, she did. This resonated with me because I always strive to not take a negative attitude with anyone, especially customer service workers.
Once I was back in my car I tried calling another nearby post office and was immediately informed the stamps were in stock. By the time I reached the fourth, and final, post office I was so thankful for the stamps. I politely asked for another sheet on top of the three he had already grabbed for me, and thanked him greatly. He responded “you’re welcome, you’re the most welcome customer I’ve seen today”.
You can call me naive, but I truly believe that having a positive attitude can drastically change your everyday experiences. I could’ve given up after any number of those stops, or be incredibly frustrated about going to four different post offices, but it was never the fault of the worker behind the counter. It would have been unreasonable for me to get irritated about something out of my control, or theirs.
Try taking this friendly attitude into the post office next time. You may not get the speciality stamps the first trip, but you’ll appreciate every stamp you buy (mine totaling 80 stamps) when you feel good about the experience you had when buying them.
If you'd like to receive a letter from me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.