Sunday, 24 February 2008

Failure to Post

I have limitless sympathy for those trapped in thankless, miserable jobs. Especially postal workers and bus drivers. I read somewhere that bus driver is the second most stressful job in existence. First was bomb disposal expert. As one who has done time in retail, I can qualify that the epithet 'The customer is always right' is utterly incorrect. In fact the reverse is true. The customer is almost always wrong. I once had a row with a customer who asked me if we kept their credit card receipt 'in the vault'
'In the where?'
'The vault. Surely its kept securely in the vault'
'We don't have a vault'
'No vault? There where is it kept?'
'In the till'
'Incredible. I would have thought you'd have a vault for such things'

Which has nothing to little to do with this next tale, which occurred last week. I had a letter to post, but the post office is fairly distant and usually packed. So, its avoidance had nothing to do with the quality of the staff, with whom I am in total solidarity. But there is a post box near by, so I intended to make that my destination.

However as I approached, I witnessed the unmistakable signs of kafuffle. The post-box appeared to be taped off. Nothing else was off limits. Just the post-box. There was a length of tape stretching from the wall, across the pavement, around the post-box and back to the wall. Pedestrians stepped out into the road to avoid this unexplained inconvenience.

I followed the line of tape, and tried to place my item of mail into the box. Someone in a uniform, previously unseen, made a sound of officialdom.
I stopped in mid-post.
'This box isn't in use. Don't you see the tape?' He said.
'But I can reach the slot' I tried.
'Sorry. It’s off limits'
'Why?' I asked. I looked up and around. I saw no unexplained packages or prospective leapers from the over-hanging ledge.
'I can't tell you' I was told.

It was then I noticed this uniformed figure wasn't a policeman. You'll find this hard to believe, but I swear he was a St Johns Ambulanceman. I tried to allow my expression to confirm this and register my unease. I think the gentleman knew further difficult questions were about to surface and moved away. I looked around, trying to find some like-minded types as confused and disgusted as I amongst my pedestrian brethren. But they were happy to take a small diversion around the post-box, possibly even enjoying this distraction. I really couldn't fathom it. If there was a suspect device or wounded mammal trapped in the box, surely the exclusion zone should have been larger or unnecessary, depending on the situation. And why was a stretcher-bearer in charge?

I attempted to give the St Johns Ambulanceman a withering glance as I retreated and was forced to traipse to the post office after all. Post offices workers are fine, as I have expressed. Over zealous first aid officials bearing tape are a pain in the arse.

1 comment:

wreck said...

What it is is that they didn't know what it was or what it was that was in it, so they took it and made sure that it was at least put to one side so that it could be left alone unknown and you just had to come along with your feet and your mind and your blog and try and spoil that mystery. You will sap all the fun from this life. Blast your eyes.