A SHORT time ago I said some cruel things about Christmas cards.
Now I want to say some things about the people who have to deal with them, and with all the other bizarre stuff people hand over the counter before Christmas.
I don’t know where they find post office staff in Australia but they appear to have discovered a genetic pool of human beings for whom nothing is too much trouble. Maybe they implant it when they hire them.
Want a box that precisely fits the hexagonal bottle of perfume, the umbrella and the giant mango you’re posting to Auntie Mabel in Perth? No problem – let’s just wade through our entire stock of packaging and have a look.
Want help stapling it up? Need sticky tape? Just leave it to me. And I’ll listen to the details of Auntie Mabel’s bowel operation while I do it.
Are they real? Or is this some kind of joke I haven’t caught yet? Are they pretending to be helpful while their mates are hidden behind the sorting office doors, wetting themselves in hysterics over the comedy being enacted at the counter, which will probably end with a custard pie?
I don’t think so. Post office staff all appear to come with the same compulsion to be nice to the customers. They can’t help themselves. Maybe they clone them in some central post office laboratory.
It doesn’t matter where you go — they all possess this weird (and wonderful) affliction. Even when Townsville’s post office moved to Sturt Street from Flinders Mall it didn’t stop, despite the logistical nightmare the upheaval must have caused.
If you think I exaggerate the wonders of Australian post office staff I suggest you take your parcels and your Christmas cards to some other developed country in the known world and try to post them there.
If you asked in the USA if you could borrow the sticky tape the security grilles would slam shut cutting off all conversation — and possibly your hand — in mid-sentence.
If you asked in the UK they’d first say, “I beg your pardon?” in that uniquely English way which loosely translates into, “Look, you little pleb, my job is to give you stamps, take your money (if possible without touching it anywhere you’ve touched it) and get you out of here with as little human contact as possible, so shut up and get on with it.”
And they’d sell you the sticky tape.
If you persisted with something like: “But in Australia…” they’d withdraw into stunned indignation and say, “Oh, we don’t do that here!” in the kind of voice reserved for customers who ask for colonic irrigation.
Take my word for it, if we could clone post office staff into government service and the military, Australia could take over the world and nobody would mind.
So, Australia Post workers, this is my early Christmas card to you – one that doesn’t need stapling, weighing, sticking shut, a different sized envelope or a postcode: when Christmas finally arrives, have a good one — you earned it.