Yesterday, I went to the post office to return the second, and also last, in a series of jackets ordered online that featured faux-pockets and annoying zippers, and to mail out some international anthology orders that have been sitting on my desk, waiting for me to fill out customs forms.
A very nice student was trying to navigate how to get her four thousand boxes of belongings that she was mailing home, into the post office, while I used seventy-five rolls of tape to sturdy the box that had been kickboxed to my door by the USPS on its way between the jacket's original point of origin and my porch.
While I taped, and the student wheeled, I heard the postal employee behind the counter tell four different people "It's just awful. They don't give us tape anymore because some people abused the tape. So now people have to buy tape. And they all go home and write their Yelp reviews about how awful we are for not giving them tape. It's not our fault. I would give them tape, but now we don't have tape to give. But Yelp says we're not giving them tape. It's not us. It's the people who should be giving us the tape to give to people. It's not right."
During her first version of the soliloquy, I picked up tape from the rack. I am perfectly happy to pay $3 for tape, as I have approximately a million more boxes to ship in the next month.
During soliloquy four, I was in line, with boxes in hand.
Postal Employee: "Sir? Sir, I am ready for you now. I'm sorry about the tape. It's just awful."
Me: "It's no problem, I have some things to tape at home, I don't mind buying tape here."
PE: "They don't give us tape anymore because some people abused the tape. So now people have to buy it. And all they do is complain on Yelp, like it's my fault they abused the tape. People are just awful. All day long people just complain to me. Not so much as a hello or how are you, just complain, complain, complain."
Me: "That must be awful."
PE: "It is! They go on Yelp, and they say things! I used to be a hairdresser, and let me tell you, everybody wants everything for free. They come to me with their hands out, looking for free haircuts. Do you believe that? I have bills to pay. I have needs. But, no, people just complain and demand free things. I had to close my salon because people were so awful. And now I'm here, and it's tape this, Yelp that, complain, complain, complain. People are just awful."
Me: "They sure are."
PE: "Where is this box going?"
PE: "You'll need to fill out a customs form."
Me: "It's right there."
PE: "You have nice handwriting. Not like most people. People come up here with their chicken scratch forms. I didn't go to school for handwriting. I'm not a doctor translator. I don't know what they wrote about half the time, but your handwriting is very nice. Where is this box going?"
PE: "Toronto where?"
Me: "Toronto, Ontario. Canada."
PE: "Ok. The top is coming off a bit. I'd tape it for you, but they don't give us tape anymore. People were abusing their--"
Me: "It's ok. I have tape. I'll tape it shut."
PE: "I can do it."
She takes my tape, seals the package, and then puts my tape on her computer. I mentally file this under Acceptable Losses.
PE: "Ok, it's sealed. Where is it going?"
PE: "That's right. Ok, and this other box is...oh, it's a return. It's free. You used to have to pay for returns. It was awful. You buy something, you pay for shipping, you don't like it, and then you have to pay to ship it back. Might as well keep it. But now places are starting to pay return shipping. You're very lucky."
PE: "You just need another piece of tape."
Jesus. Fucken. Christ.
PE: "We don't have free tape anymore. You have to pay for it now."
Me: "You have my tape over there on your computer."
PE: "Right. I forgot you already bought tape. You're not going to go on Yelp and complain about tape. You know how people abused it. If people would just pay a dollar, it would be fine. But no, everybody comes to the post office with their hands out and complains when everything isn't free. That's weird. This label won't scan."
PE: "It's fine. Nothing to complain about. It has the address and we'll send it. No need for Yelping. Thank goodness they didn't have Yelp when I owned my salon."
PE: "All those free haircut people complaining. Awful. I'll be right back with your receipt."
While she's in the back, I walk over to the line of other exasperated people.
Me: "If anyone needs tape, let me know. They don't give it to you for free anymore."
Random Person In Line: "That's awful. I'm going to Yelp about it."