Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Salute to Postal Workers

I was at the post office today sending a package when I over heard a conversation between the postal worker at the desk, and an elderly Korean man. The postal worker said, "Which province is this going to?" The old man said, "Province? Why are you asking me this? I have been sending this every month, and you never asked me this before." The postal worker said, "I just need to know the name of the province." The old man became very irate and said, "I don't know what you mean by province! Why are you asking me this. I send this every month!" Remember how I always have this need to get involved? I called to the postal worker and said, "Ask him WHERE". So he said, "Where are you sending this?" The Korean man said, "I'm sending this to Seoul, and I send it every month! Why are you asking me questions!" (Actually, I am not even sure Korea has provinces)

This old man became more and more irate. The workers behind the desk asked him to calm down, and the one man said, "I"m not arguing with you, I'm just trying to find out where you are sending this." As things progressed, one certain postal worker came over and told him to calm down. I guess this man had helped him the last time he had come in. The old man insisted that this postal worker take over and finish the transaction. But that worker told him that the other man was doing fine, and that they would take care of him. But the old man kept getting irate.

About this time it was my turn to go up to the desk, right next to the old man. I said, "Do you speak Korean?" No answer. "Sir?" No answer. I turned to the postal worker and said, "I don't speak Korean, but I do speak chinese, and many Koreans can speak chinese. But evidently he doesn't want to engage in a conversation with me. " At this point, the man who had helped him before, told the other postal worker to let him finish the transaction. I left, but as I walked past that worker I said, "You have the patience of Job." He said, "These front desk assignments can be horrible!"

So I saw it with my own eyes. They DIDN'T go "postal", and they DID have extreme patience with an ornery customer.


Grannymar said...

The exchange about the "Province" brings to mind the difficulty I have when ordering online from American Websites. While finalising the transactions and giving an address, we are asked for a Zip Code.

We don't have Zip Codes and unfortunately the whole process stalls unless we inset something in that Zip Code box. In the UK we have Postal Codes a mixture of letters and numbers, but in The Republic of Ireland they have no postal codes at all. I am not the only customer from these shores to encounter the problem when online shopping from US.

I have learned eventually to insert a half dozen zeros and then we can move on. It is one of these things that we are expected to know instinctively without explanation.

Rummuser said...

You saw what happens between an American and a Korean. I see similar things in India between the local clerk and another Indian from a different part of the country not able to follow the language and both struggling to come to a solution with either Hindi or English or find a middleman like me! It is not easy being in front line jobs in a complex society.