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When it rains..............

23 July 2004


Ever been in the middle of a tropical downpour? I have in Australia.
They are totally cool. It rains so hard that it simply becomes fun to
stand outside in the rain.
But England gets this too. Yesterday. The only thing missing was a
temperature of about 35C. Instead we had a tropical downpour at about
14C. Not hot but still cool.

In the middle of the afternoon, day turns in to night, thunder,
lightening, totally fantastic. Even better if you can be outside in that
rain. So when they were looking for a volunteer to get in the car and
take the mail to the post office, I volunteered. I drove in a tropical
downpour. Could not see further then my own windscreen and the streets
had become rivers. I even had to get out on the passenger side of the
car because getting out on the driver's side would have meant stepping
up to my ankles in the water.

With all the mail in a plastic bag, I braced myself and ran to the post
office. 30 minutes before closing time. I saw the door, stretched out my
hand to open it ..........and slammed right into a locked door. Closed.

Behind the locked door, 3 women looked at me, full of pity, gesturing
that they were indeed closed. I pointed at my watch, indicating it was
30 minutes before closing time. They simply gestured they were closed,
no explanation, nothing. By now, the water had reached my breasts,
through my padded bra no less. Needless to say I was getting a little
cold in the rain. So I yelled (had to yell as the rain was so loud I
could not even hear myself talk!!) that I had business mail that was
franked and paid for and needed to go out today. The women gestured that
they were closed.

Well, I understood that by then. I held up my bags with mail, yelling,
again, I had to get the mail out. The women offered NO suggestion,
nothing! Just, again, that the post office was closed...... By now there
was no dry thread on my body so I relaxed my muscles and decided I could
not get anymore wet so I might as well let it happen. Then one of the
women pointed at the letterbox in the door. I opened it and we had a
conversation through the letterbox!! Whilst I was outside in the rain
still. I yelled: if you let me in, we can talk without me drowning
here!! Once again she said she could not do that because they were
closed because they were stuck by lightening and the computer was down
and if she let me in, other people would want to get in as well. Other
people? There is nobody on the fucking street because they have all
managed to find shelter somewhere!!!

After 5 minutes of arguing through the letterbox, the woman took pity on
me and opened the door. Well, opened it just enough to signal for me to
hand her my plastic bag with mail through a tiny opening. Ha!! No way!!
I push the door open and stepped inside. I was dripping like a drowned
rat and said, in a loud, but not angry, voice: Good, now that I am
inside and in a dry place, sheltered from the rain like these other 3
customers inside this post office, tell me again why you can not take my
mail. What's up with the computers?

The lady did not apologise but instead gave me an angry look for wetting
her floor and tried to push the door shut on me. I strode up to the
counter and said: My mail is franked; all you need to do is sign for it
and put it in your mailbag. You do not need a computer to do that. The
cow behind the counter looked at me, sighed as if she was doing me a
huge favour and handed me a towel.

Ahhh....finally, a nice gesture. WRONG. She handed me the towel and
said: can you please dry the mail of a little bit, the envelopes are
wet. No apologies, nothing.

I dried off the mail, got my receipt and totally dignified walked back
into the rain, got in my car and drove off.

I got more and more angry when I drove back to work. Not because they
were closed, fair enough, computer failures happen. Not because they
locked the door in the first place. After all a post office is not a
shelter. But when someone knocks on the door, 30 minutes before closing
time in a tropical rainstorm with mail, you at least open the door to
invite them in and explain why you can not accept their mail. All
acceptable. But they let me stand outside in the rain or 5 minutes,
communicated through the letterbox, sent me away before they opened the
door wide enough to push the mail through. Like I was some kind of
criminal to be kept outside the building. And they acted like it was
totally normal behaviour. Saying things like; Oh, that is quite some
rain out there, you are completely soaked my love.........

The more I think about it, the more I feel like making an official
complaint. The Post Office HQ wants to close 28 post offices in the
Midlands. I know one they can close. Fire them all. Because the post
offices are run by middle aged women too stupid to know a computer from
a calculator.

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