I've come to realize that the post office is where I experience the most culture shock, whether it be in the Himalayas or in the bustling capital. I know I've written a lot about the post office experience, because every single time I go, it's just weird!
Yesterday was no exception. We had a couple of packages to mail off, and I thought I had the hang of mailing packages by now. I mean, no more white tailored packaging mistakes. I now know the correct post office to mail international parcels and everything! Well just like in the Himalayas, it seems all the impatient people like to go gather at the post office, and it takes a lot to stay in line. This time I had husband with me who can speak up to the men crowding around. Normally at that point I would have to find a strategic way to hold my parcel so I could "bump" and/or elbow into people who were trying to cut in front of me. Husband just told them, "The queue is that way." In a never before seen South Asian moment, there was actually an orderly line at the post office, thanks to husband! Several impatient folks tried to get around waiting in the queue, but husband reminded every one of them where they should go. haha! One man even said, "But I'm in a hurry!" Husband just reminded him that so was everyone else. I think I should petition for him to be the Official Post Office Errand Boy, don't you? Well the MBTC (man behind the counter) was very confused about our package. I'm not sure why, but he didn't like it for some reason. So we had to walk around the post office and go to his desk. When we got back there, we glanced over at the customers who were waiting, and saw that in the short amount of time it took for us to walk around, the line had dissipated. I'm sure they were all thinking, "Yes! Finally, those ruly Americans have left."
The MBTC argued with us for several moments about why our package was incorrect - the items were loose, the box was too flimsy, etc. We tried telling him that no worries, we had done this so many times we knew it would arrive. He finally agreed that it was okay as long as we wrote really big on the white cloth "No Commercial Value." See, every time I go, I learn something new.
So I started thinking, I bet I could really shock these postal workers with statements about the USPS, like:
"In America, the mail man delivers things from a truck! To a person's mailbox!"
"You know, the USPS never rifles through packages and picks out what they want before delivering it."
"On holidays, it is not customary for a mailman to go to people's houses asking for money."
"In the US, you don't need paste to stick on stamps. And, you can buy stamps at places other than the post office!"
And probably the most shocking...
"The postal workers actually don't read every post card that I've written right in front of me!"
I'm pretty sure every one of these statements would be met with a gasp, a shocked look, or a, "No, you must be joking."