(This isn't, exactly, "classic" - it was posted on the main site yesterday. But, I did think it'd be an interesting discussion thread. So, I thought I'd post it here to get everyone's take on it.)
Down the street from my office there is a small postal store. On most days at most times there is only one person manning the counter there, and there is usually a line. Sometimes this goes quickly and other times not depending on the nature of the customer transactions. Most everyone who uses this little store knows this already and comes prepared to wait patiently. I have seen people come in with a book or magazine to read while in line while others entertain themselves with cell phone games, texting, or emails until it is their turn. The main post office is about a mile (or less) walk from here, and if you’re in a hurry your best bet is to go there or come back later.
Today I went in to mail something to a friend. It was lunch time and I expected the line to be long. I was not disappointed. I grab my packing materials and pack up and address my stuff as I wait. The two patrons in front of me that will figure into this story were a girl with a box and carrying a shopping bag with tissue paper…which tells me she just wrapped whatever she put into the box — and a man who was looking to send something overnight. As the line starts behind me, the Banshee gets into line directly behind me. I know her name, as she was dumb enough to answer her phone with it later, but see no reason to give it here. Banshee will suffice. We aren’t in line more than a few minutes before she starts up. Loud, heavy sighs about every 30 seconds. This turns into sighs combined with mumbling under her breath about how “this is ridiculous,” “jesus!” and varying other combinations of swear words. I keep my face forward, smirking, but that doesn’t last long as her whining is starting to become an annoyance. No one ever goes to the post office expecting to be in and out unless you’re just dropping something in the collection box. In the meantime, the poor, lone worker is doing her best to churn through this line.
At this point, the girl with the box, let’s call her BG for short, has her turn. Her box is not taped, her paperwork not filled out. The worker tells her to step to the side, tape up her box, fill out her paperwork, and then come back to the front of the line. As the worker tries to find the tape for BG, Banshee is getting irritated. As BG works on her stuff, the guy with the overnight stuff (OG) steps up to the counter. Due to a misunderstanding of how it works, OG grabbed the wrong envelope and is also shuffled off to the side to fix it. By now, BG is ready and returns to the window. She tells the postal worker that she wants to charge this package to a corporate account, and as the worker starts to do whatever it is she needs to do BG asks if she can tape more. This causes a ripple through the waiting line, mostly people silently rolling their eyes. But not the Banshee. No, the Banshee loudly exclaims, “How stupid are you?!” BG doesn’t turn around and works on making her box able to withstand a nuclear bomb via tape protection alone. She then realizes that her meter is running out and dashes off to top it up while the worker continues to get the mailing slips ready. I’m not sure why this process is taking this long but I’m assuming it has to do with the charging to a corporate account.
When BG returns, Banshee is furious. Her sighs and mutterings have not been acknowledged and this seems to irritate her. This is when things start to get really bad. Banshee whips out her cell phone and calls a friend.
“Can you believe I’m still at the post office? There’s only one f*****g person working the counter and this stupid Female Dog is holding up the line taping up her box and doing who the hell knows what. If this were Rockefeller Center they’d kick her out!”
All of this is loud enough for both the postal worker and BG to hear. BG handles this with grace, never turning around, but the rest of us are appalled. I am secretly hoping the postal worker will tell Banshee to leave immediately, but it doesn’t happen. Banshee hangs up smugly, as if her mission to publicly humiliate BG was complete and calling a friend was the perfect cover she needed to loudly express her feelings. BG decides she also needs stamps, and when her transaction is finally to the stage where you pay…she decides to write a check. Banshee explodes!
“She’s writing a f*****g check?! SERIOUSLY?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”
Another silent plea for the worker to boot her…nothing. dingdangity it. BG finishes and leaves, never looking back. Now OG finishes his transaction and she is displeased with how long it takes him even though he was only there less than 5 minutes finishing up. She is still Female Dog under her breath. My turn finally and I take less than 5 minutes from start to finish. As I leave I hear her stomp up to the counter and ask how much it was to send something via the different services, much to the irritation of those behind her as she was now holding THEM up. But of course it was okay that she was doing it. Don’t we all know how important she is?! I wanted to turn around and say something to her — such as congratulating her on her horrifying lack of manners and inability to behave properly in public and my condolences for being raised by wolves as she was insulting the noble bearing of a wolf — but I know that etiquette dictates that to be rude to someone who has been rude is just as bad as the original act. So I held my tongue because, unlike Banshee, I was raised with manners. 0328-11