I wanted to call this post “Unsavory Samplings in Salem,” mostly because of the alliteration, but I decided it sounded too pretentious and too much like I’d eaten some bad chocolate.
I had the opportunity to listen in (i.e. eavesdrop) on a conversation today in my local post office. My husband and I live about a one minute drive from the Mail Depot, our local, small town post office. It is family owned and they are actually in the middle of a remodel. Because I’m selling books online and I like to buy stamps one at a time, I think the lady there is probably very tired of seeing me twice a week. But I digress.
The line wasn’t as awful as one might expect for the weekend before Christmas and I stepped right up and the line got very long behind me. I hadn’t turned around, but I knew by the voices that a man and a woman were behind me, just having a random conversation. I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention, just looking around at the random Christmas gifty items about the store.
The woman behind me didn’t seem to have any interest in having a private conversation, as her voice was relatively loud and animated. Her conversation had started off harmlessly enough as she talked about buying shoes on sale. I didn’t really start listening until she started complaining,
“They don’t take debit cards here? Well! Good thing I have cash. You’d think they would put a sign outside the door so you would be warned.”
I almost laughed. There is a sign. Right on the door. In plain view.
She continued, “Well that’s stupid! A debit card is just like a check—or better.”
The store owner told me one day the reason they don’t take cards is because the post office would have to pay a fee every time. Not like a check.
Then this lovely lady proceeded to complain about everything in sight. About how it cost more to ship something than the actual gift cost. About how long the line was. I’m thinking, “You ain’t seen nothing yet lady.” About how slow the line was moving.
“If people don’t have their packages ready, they [the workers] should make them get out of line.”
This really bothered me. The person she appeared to be referring to was definitely in earshot and was also a slow-moving gentleman who could have been someone’s grandpa. If you’re like me at all, the post office can be a confusing place to navigate. Not only that, but the workers had asked a couple people to step to the side already. I don’t think anything short of sending the “offenders” to the back of the line would have made this lady happy. This lady went on and on, pointing out every person who didn’t have their packages completely ready.
By the time it was my turn to step up to the counter, I wanted to get as far away as possible from that lady’s merciless complaining.
The words that come to mind are “thoughtlessly unkind.” It made me wonder too, how many times have I been lost in my own little world, discussing something with a friend, and careless to how it might sound to someone else?