Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What will Santa think?

My Shuswap village is a small one with only 3,000 residents. In our little village there are few stores and inherently, they represent the centre of the universe to us.
On our Main Street there is a pharmacy which has an enormous amount of merchandise plus a Sears outlet, a floral department and a pick-up point for dry-cleaning as well as a printing machine for photos. There is an exceptional grocery store on Main Street. It is bigger and brighter than you would expect for a rural village of our size. We get this impressive store because our population doubles for two months every year and the extra 3000 guests buy lots of groceries for their houseboat, cabin and lakeside condo holidays.
The government liquor store on Main Street boasts very profitable earnings thanks to the same visitors as well as thirsty locals.
The other important Main Street service is the post office. This village is in a narrow valley which is overcast and grey for much of each year and all the routes out are treacherous in winter. Without a huge stretch of imagination you can guess that our Canada Post Office is an integral aspect of daily life here. It is perfectly normal to go to the post office just to see if there is anything in the box, even when nothing is expected. Folks waiting in line for rate information and such visit with one another because we always know one another. There are waves and greetings called out to friends coming to and going from their mailboxes located not far from the service area.
Since my arrival in this community in 1968 staff behind the counter have included a life-long friend -- as well as fellow community folk -- all have been professional, gracious and helpful.
I don't go to the post office as much as I used to because we pick up envelopes from a rural mailbox now and because I use e-mail.
Within the past month I have been into our little local post office often as I sent and received several parcels. Imagine my surprise at the discovery of no one I know working behind the counter. Then, imagine my discontent at being asked for my years old driver's license as ID three weeks in a row by the same employee. This person did not write the license number down. She just looked at the photo and I assume she compared the photo to the face standing in front of her. That'was pretty silly since the person on the license looked younger, blonde not grey-haired, displayed considerably fewer wrinkles and weight. Obviously the employee does not use the license as a source for name learning because she asked to see the license every time and never called me by name or acknowledged she'd seen me before.
Perhaps this woman's area of expertise is efficiency. Certainly, she is not a customer service queen.
I oppose the proposed calls for privatization of Canada Post. I contend that Canada Post is an integral aspect of Canadian identity. Small communities such as ours have historically been well served by Canada Post employees.  I want the good service and friendliness back.
I was once told at a workshop that the single most important thing we can do for the Canadian business place is not tolerate poor customer service.
So, am I going to contact the Office of the Ombudsman at Canada Post to make a complaint? No, I won't do that. But rest assured I will certainly send a letter to H0H 0H0 next December to make sure that said employee's conduct is duly registered with S.C. That'll fix her. See where her plea for forgiveness for less than perfect behavior gets her with the Big Guy.
What's more on my next visit to the post office I might do something to make myself more memorable to staff.
 No! No! No! I won't go "postal." I was thinking more along the lines of caustic remark or outrageous clothing or how about no clothing? That should do it. Darn near as scary a thought as going "postal."

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