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Author Topic: Post Office politeness (or not)  (Read 11624 times)

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jaxsue

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2014, 09:25:12 AM »
So much of this could be resolved if the post offices would keep the forms where people could access them without asking for help! Next time I'm at my local PO, I might ask the clerk why that isn't the case. I'm quite curious now.

perpetua

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2014, 09:27:02 AM »
I liken it to being in a busy retail store when there's a line at the cashier. If you go to the front of the line and get the clerk's attention to ask, "where is the restroom?" no one seems to mind. You're not going to wait in a long line to ask that! And yes, it takes the clerk several seconds to describe the location. But really, is it that big of a deal for someone to just take up those few seconds?

Knitterly, I think the woman who got annoyed was wrong. If you're in such a huge hurry that you can't tolerate a delay of even a few seconds, maybe you should postpone that particular errand for another time.

For me, it's not about the delay. You're right - the actual delay is so small as to be insignificant. It's about the presumption. It's presumptuous on the part of the queue-jumper that I won't mind if they barge ahead of me 'just for a second' when I've queued up for my turn. Well yes, I do mind.

I also wouldn't barge in front of people in a queue to ask where the bathrooms were. I'd probably ask a member of staff who was stacking shelves or whatever.

Oh Joy

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2014, 09:28:39 AM »
I think that in a queued scenario like this, it's not impolite to ask ahead for the paperwork...if it will end up saving time for the people behind you in line.  But I wouldn't do it if there weren't people behind me, KWIM?

I'd phrase my request to the clerk like, 'Would you please grab me three ABC forms real quick?  I'll get them filled out now so (gesture behind) everyone doesn't have to wait.'  Not the most dignified phrasing, but the common language I'd probably use.   ;)

perpetua

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2014, 09:29:14 AM »
So much of this could be resolved if the post offices would keep the forms where people could access them without asking for help! Next time I'm at my local PO, I might ask the clerk why that isn't the case. I'm quite curious now.

They did used to, at least here. There used to be a wall of pigeon-holes with a pile of one form in each with the code number of the form on the bottom of the pigeonhole. I don't know why they stopped doing that - perhaps they were getting pinched.

gen xer

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2014, 09:55:33 AM »
 Well no good deed goes unpunished does it? 

OP was trying to expedite the process and I don't find her rude at all....although maybe it would be better to explain what you're about to do if only to spare yourself the righteous indignation of others.

Yes butting in line is rude and so is interrupting someone's turn....but I just can't put this in the same category as someone who interrupts because they think their time / question is more important.  It would have been rude if there was any chance that the request was something that could possibly engage the clerk long enough that she would be not attending to the customer and slowing them up....but a quick "Would you mind passing some forms back so I can start filling them out while I wait?  It will help speed up the line"  is nothing to get anyones' knickers in a twist about.

I think this an example of where we can be a little less rigid and not get bent out of shape just because "technically" OP was out of turn.

lowspark

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2014, 10:17:13 AM »
I liken it to being in a busy retail store when there's a line at the cashier. If you go to the front of the line and get the clerk's attention to ask, "where is the restroom?" no one seems to mind. You're not going to wait in a long line to ask that! And yes, it takes the clerk several seconds to describe the location. But really, is it that big of a deal for someone to just take up those few seconds?

Knitterly, I think the woman who got annoyed was wrong. If you're in such a huge hurry that you can't tolerate a delay of even a few seconds, maybe you should postpone that particular errand for another time.

For me, it's not about the delay. You're right - the actual delay is so small as to be insignificant. It's about the presumption. It's presumptuous on the part of the queue-jumper that I won't mind if they barge ahead of me 'just for a second' when I've queued up for my turn. Well yes, I do mind.

I also wouldn't barge in front of people in a queue to ask where the bathrooms were. I'd probably ask a member of staff who was stacking shelves or whatever.

Ok I'll concede that it's a matter of tolerance. It wouldn't (and doesn't) bother me in the least. As I said, it happens all the time in my own experience.

As for asking a member of staff who wasn't helping any customers in the retail/bathrooms scenario, well, that sounds nice but oftentimes doesn't exist. Case in point: Macy's on a Saturday in December. A clerk who is not helping customers in some form or fashion would be next to impossible to find.
Houston 
Texas 
USA 

ddawn23

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2014, 10:55:18 AM »
I did not see this until I moved to Europe and found it very ineffecient. Yes, when you finally get your turn you don't have to deal with someone askinging "a quick question" like you often do in the US, but the customer is also getting full attention while they think about their decisions, talk things over with each other, etc.  In the meantime, there can be a long line waiting for help while the clerk just stands there "waiting on the customer" ignoring the ever growing line. 
Where I live there's a chain of convenience stores where the cashiers service two lines, one on the right of the register and one to the left, alternating between the two.  If the customer on the right needs a minute gathering her things or finding the right change the cashier will go ahead and help the person on the left.  It's a little jarring when you first encounter it, but it works surprisingly well.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 12:52:21 PM by ddawn23 »

kategillian

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2014, 11:21:05 AM »
I think the OP was being very correct in trying to expedite the wait for the people behind her. In my PO, they ask you to step aside to finish forms, then you can go to the front of the line again. But standing there making everyone wait while you fill out multiple forms? That's a waste of everyone's time!

And it seems very SS to be upset that someone asks for directions to the restroom ahead of your transaction. This maybe a cultural thing, I'm not trying to insult anyone.

EllenS

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2014, 11:54:16 AM »
I have seen this (asking for forms or directions) done two ways, either politely or rudely. It is all a matter of timing and tone. Polite way - catching the worker's attention in between transactions (not actually interrupting), using "excuse me" and a polite tone.

I have also seen it done in a huffy, pushy, inconsiderate manner that would put anyone's back up.

For me, this comes down to style points and I give OP credit as an Ehell regular that she used good style, especially since she pointed out that she asked between transactions. This would not be considered rude or unusual at all where I live. (Which does not mean nobody would be snarky - you will always find snarkers somewhere).

In my experience, people who have to step out of line and then "cut" back in when they have filled out their forms - even when instructed to do so by the clerk - are subjected to just as much annoyance and resentment as those who ask a question (if not more so).  OP, I think unless the PO puts the forms out for general use, there is no sure-fire way to win this one.

jaxsue

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2014, 03:59:28 PM »
So much of this could be resolved if the post offices would keep the forms where people could access them without asking for help! Next time I'm at my local PO, I might ask the clerk why that isn't the case. I'm quite curious now.

They did used to, at least here. There used to be a wall of pigeon-holes with a pile of one form in each with the code number of the form on the bottom of the pigeonhole. I don't know why they stopped doing that - perhaps they were getting pinched.

You're probably correct.  :-[

Arila

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2014, 04:02:11 PM »
So much of this could be resolved if the post offices would keep the forms where people could access them without asking for help! Next time I'm at my local PO, I might ask the clerk why that isn't the case. I'm quite curious now.

They did used to, at least here. There used to be a wall of pigeon-holes with a pile of one form in each with the code number of the form on the bottom of the pigeonhole. I don't know why they stopped doing that - perhaps they were getting pinched.
More likely, (as I have done) someone thought they were supposed to fill out form XYZ, they pick one up and do that, before/while waiting in line, then they get to the window, and actually they needed form ABC, so now XYZ is thrown out, wasted, and they still have to fill in at/next to the window.

perpetua

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2014, 05:22:38 PM »
I guess you just can't please everyone.  If I were the lady being waited on, and the OP asked for forms, I would have thought that she was very thoughtful to not wait until the last minute and hold up the line after her so she could fill out the forms.

I think the first lady needs to think of someone besides herself once in awhile.

I don't think you're quite understanding what those of us who say the barging in is rude are getting at.

Nobody's saying she should have held up the line to fill out her forms. What we're saying is that she should have waited until it was her turn in the queue to ask for the forms in the first place.  *Then* she steps aside and fills them out and rejoins the queue when she's done them.

So, say she's third in the queue. She waits until the two people in front of her have had their turn, then goes to the counter and asks for the forms. She steps aside to fill them out while the fourth person in the queue is served. When the fourth person's transaction has finished, she is then served with her filled out forms.

In order to ask for the forms, you have to be at the counter. If it's not your turn in the queue, you have to go ahead of the person (or people) who are in the queue in front of you to get to the counter before they start their transaction, and that's rude. So the strictly polite thing to do is to wait your turn before you ask for the forms, then step aside.

EllenS

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2014, 05:31:42 PM »
I guess you just can't please everyone.  If I were the lady being waited on, and the OP asked for forms, I would have thought that she was very thoughtful to not wait until the last minute and hold up the line after her so she could fill out the forms.

I think the first lady needs to think of someone besides herself once in awhile.

I don't think you're quite understanding what those of us who say the barging in is rude are getting at.

Nobody's saying she should have held up the line to fill out her forms. What we're saying is that she should have waited until it was her turn in the queue to ask for the forms in the first place.  *Then* she steps aside and fills them out and rejoins the queue when she's done them.

So, say she's third in the queue. She waits until the two people in front of her have had their turn, then goes to the counter and asks for the forms. She steps aside to fill them out while the fourth person in the queue is served. When the fourth person's transaction has finished, she is then served with her filled out forms.

In order to ask for the forms, you have to be at the counter. If it's not your turn in the queue, you have to go ahead of the person (or people) who are in the queue in front of you to get to the counter before they start their transaction, and that's rude. So the strictly polite thing to do is to wait your turn before you ask for the forms, then step aside.

I think there is a lack of consensus on what the "strictly polite" thing to do actually is.  A failure of agreement is not always a failure of understanding.  Perhaps, like many things, it is regional expectations.

perpetua

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2014, 05:38:51 PM »
I guess you just can't please everyone.  If I were the lady being waited on, and the OP asked for forms, I would have thought that she was very thoughtful to not wait until the last minute and hold up the line after her so she could fill out the forms.

I think the first lady needs to think of someone besides herself once in awhile.

I don't think you're quite understanding what those of us who say the barging in is rude are getting at.

Nobody's saying she should have held up the line to fill out her forms. What we're saying is that she should have waited until it was her turn in the queue to ask for the forms in the first place.  *Then* she steps aside and fills them out and rejoins the queue when she's done them.

So, say she's third in the queue. She waits until the two people in front of her have had their turn, then goes to the counter and asks for the forms. She steps aside to fill them out while the fourth person in the queue is served. When the fourth person's transaction has finished, she is then served with her filled out forms.

In order to ask for the forms, you have to be at the counter. If it's not your turn in the queue, you have to go ahead of the person (or people) who are in the queue in front of you to get to the counter before they start their transaction, and that's rude. So the strictly polite thing to do is to wait your turn before you ask for the forms, then step aside.

I think there is a lack of consensus on what the "strictly polite" thing to do actually is.  A failure of agreement is not always a failure of understanding.  Perhaps, like many things, it is regional expectations.

I agree, but LadyJaneinMD seemed to be saying that I was implying that the OP should have held up the line while filling out the forms rather than butting in front of people to ask for them. That's not what I'm saying and never was. Queue, ask for the forms, step aside, fill, rejoin queue.

Delete My Account

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Re: Post Office politeness (or not)
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2014, 05:46:51 PM »
I think the first lady needs to think of someone besides herself once in awhile.

How do we know she doesn't based on one interaction? This sounds like an assumption.