Is It Starting Already? Bah Humbug!

by on December 9, 2016 · 20 comments

in Culture, Life Events, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

ob-post-officeBy Judi Curry

One of my least favorite places to go to at this time of the year is the United States Post Office.  And, more specifically, the Ocean Beach Post Office.  Those of you living in the area probably know what I mean without any explanation.  Because I am getting orders for my cookbook for holiday gifts, I seem to be spending a great deal of time at the OB Post Office.  And…I seem to be spending a great deal of time STANDING IN LINE at this same post office.

It doesn’t seem to matter what time of the day I go to mail my packages.  On Monday I went at 4:00pm.  I stood in line for 12 minutes waiting to see a postal employee.  Why did I stand in line for so long? Because, dear reader, there were 16 people in line and only two windows open.  And it seemed that everyone had a number of packages to be sent, or an extraordinary amount of money orders to be purchased.

On Tuesday I went to the post office at 2:00pm.  I only stood in line 11 minutes this time.  There were, again, only two window’s opened and only 9 people in line.  It was interesting to note that another employee opened up a window – don’t think “third” – because one of the other workers closed her window.  Break time?

On Wednesday I returned to the post office at 10:15am.  I won’t bore you with the facts, but the same situation prevailed – two windows and lots of people in line.  Fourteen minutes in line.

Thursday I did not have to go to the post office.  Hooray!

But today, Friday, I had another book to send.  I arrived there at 9:42am.  There were five people ahead of me; and guess what? There was only ONE window open.  (By the time I left at 10:06am – there were 14 people in line and one window still open.)

But here is another factor that has me disturbed. For the past few weeks I have been trying to buy Chanukah stamps.  I have always bought them for sending out Chanukah cards.  Guess what? The post office doesn’t have them YET.  They are still coming, I am told, and fortunately Chanukah doesn’t start until December 24th this year. But why are there other religious stamps available and not the Chanukah stamps? Hmmm.

And how about this?  I decided rather than go to the post office to put $2.61 cent stamps on my book every day,  I would buy dollar stamps and mail them myself.  But Dale, the postal employee I was working with, apologetically, told me they were out of $1.00 stamps.  In fact, they were also out of $1.15 stamps.

Bah Humbug! And the season is just starting!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Mickey December 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

I have always had friendly service and reasonable wait times at our OB Post Office. You may want to consider the OB PO as a small-town post office that is a great place to bump into neighbors and visit. It is a great way to give you a positive outlook during your wait.

Also, if you are doing a lot of shipping for your cookbook business, there are many more effecient, cost effective and convenient ways. The “if it fits, it ships” flat boxes seem like a perfect fit for cookbooks. They are easy and May be cheaper. I love You do everything at home and your postal carrier just pick it up for you. The cooooooolest thing is that you can design and print anything on your stamps!

Hopefully, these ideas can turn around your humbugs. :-)


judi December 10, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Thank you for the suggestions.


OBdude December 9, 2016 at 1:37 pm

You’re alive, the sun is still shining. 14 minutes at the post office isn’t going to kill you. Be thankful. :)


judi December 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Thankful for what? Inefficiency? Of course I am alive and the sun is shining – but not at this moment. But I am paying for a service, and if it were a restaurant I would not leave a tip. With windows available, and the help there – it isn’t asking too much to make sure that during this busy time everyone works efficiently. This is not being done.


OBDude December 11, 2016 at 10:36 am

It just makes the article come off as a little callous and ungrateful. You are comparing a public, federally funded utility that is subject to regulation (like required breaks) and has had funding cut time and time again to a private entity that can manipulate its funding as needed(a restaurant). As others have said, if you are supporting your own business through the post it makes more sense to go to a privately owned business like or mailboxes etc that can better meet your needs rather than using the starved local PO. I’m sure the local PO is doing the best they can and aren’t out to make your holidays miserable.


judi December 11, 2016 at 10:39 am

Geeze – this has nothing to do with my business and how I ship my books. This is about the inefficiency of the PUBLIC post office, during the busiest shipping time of the year.


OB Dude December 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

FYI, this OBDude is not related to my posts at OB Dude


OB Dude December 11, 2016 at 11:55 am

There is always room for improvement. Just because it’s government run does not mean it should be poorly managed. There are other Post Offices out there that have the proper supervision and work more efficiently. I am not saying OB is the worst but if they do not step up their game, they will go in the next round of closures. They should be willing to listen to suggestions and make changes. They are a good group of nice people and they work hard. Sometime they just need someone out in the lobby directing work and speeding things along.


Colin Purdy December 9, 2016 at 3:05 pm

The privatizers want to kill the USPS, so they find ways to degrade services so that the public agrees the only answer is privatization. Similar to trying to kill Medicare by disallowing it, the single largest customer, to negotiate drug prices. Now, you can go find links which deny all this, but I believe these below are far closer to this truth:


Gen December 9, 2016 at 3:17 pm

The clerks do their best, often with the manager standing there looking grim with a checklist in hand – what she is doing, I don’t know, but she doesn’t ever pitch in and open another cash register. It seems to me to be a tough place to work…maybe if we all speak up on those surveys they want us to complete…..about this, or about the lines?


Debbie December 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Report all your experiences on line at USPS so they can get a supervisor in there that is efficient and service improves.


judi December 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm

Thanks, Deb. I’ve filled out the evaluation 4 times this week!!!


Jan Hall December 9, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Hi Judi, I went to the post office last Wed. as our Rwandan Orphans Project is selling Xmas cards and I am fulfilling orders. Not only was there no one in line but 2 windows were open. This was around 11 AM. also, I noticed they have greatly increased their hours. I was pleasantly surprised. Just say’n.


judi December 9, 2016 at 8:49 pm

I’m going to go with you next time!


Frank Gormlie December 12, 2016 at 9:20 am

I’m sure Judi understands the difference between advocating for a privatized postal system – that would probably charge us $5 to send a letter – which she is not – and complaints about the inefficiency of a governmental agency. She also is aware that the clerks don’t set the schedules. It’s a management issue.

When I worked for the post office years ago, it was one of the most supervised jobs I’ve ever had; a retire navy co-worked told me that he’d never been more overly-supervised in his life.

And we need to understand that Republicans in Congress want to remove the Post Office as a public institution. And they have saddled it – the PO – with budgetary demands that they don’t make on any other federal agency – so it has to struggle financially. Let’s keep the post office public.

There are great people who work at the OB shop – and the lines come and go; I went in there Friday, early afternoon, and not one soul in line.


nostalgic December 12, 2016 at 10:26 am

Ocean Beach is lucky to have a post office. Many communities are not so lucky, having been hit by several rounds of local PO closures. Still, I side with Judi. What are these complex needs of our OB residents that take so long? You may be surprised that ebay sellers have a special rate from the USPS the rest of us don’t. The Post office isn’t for letters anymore.


retired botanist December 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Kudos to the OB Post Office! Sorry Judi seems to keep hitting it at busy times but, long line or not, they are the nicest staff I’ve ever encountered in a post office. Courteousness is a big deal in my book, whether you’re selling stamps, food, or any other item, and I am always greeted by staff who are pleasant and helpful. Always much appreciated. :-)


judi December 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm

I agree, RB. The staff is always helpful, friendly and always has a good word and smile for the patrons. It isn’t the working staff I am concerned about. Well, that’s not true, because the pressure that they must be under – particularly at this time – is enormous. It would just be helpful if the management realized that and planned a little better. The busier times are when they open; at lunch and before closing. So…my management skills tells me that that is the time you have all the windows opened. Remember – this is NOT about the staff.


Susie December 14, 2016 at 2:42 am

I have tried to call the OB PO many times in the past years, the phone is Never answered. Never. I have gone down there to ask the manager to call me, NO Call.
I go to the door with the door bell, no answer.
This has occurred many times.
I ask at the PO windows inside; the a answer is …. I will leave your message.
No return call, ever.

Finally, I see manager in hallway. Oh, she never got a message. WTF
It is such a farce.
Since 1997, my mail, has been lost, missing, not delivered umpteen times w Zero explanation.
Vacation holds: What is that? It will still get delivered.
I could go on and on.
Yes All are nice there but it’s worse there than DMV.
Need an effective manager who will answer phone.


judi December 14, 2016 at 6:48 am

Have to agree with you re: the phone calls. The phone is never answered. And again, the “window staff” are great people. It’s the everyday function of the running of the post office that needs improvement.


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