I work in a storage closet. Literally. This five by fifteen closet was emptied then filled with dusty racks, an old filing cabinet, grafitti-violated furniture, chairs, and a computer system that my school paid too much for, plus eight student workers, sometimes crammed by fours into the space.
Believe it or not, it is an improvement over our previous location. We used to work in the same area as the theater department’s scene shop, and all day, it was WHIRRRRR, BANG, KA-POW, and ACDC, always the same album, on repeat. Sometimes the ceiling leaked; plaster and water would rain down on us.
But we put up with such annoyances because our frequent down-time gives us busy students an opportunity to catch up on homework. Or the latest episode of Breaking Bad.
This is not to say that we don’t experience irritation. This is how our system works: First, the mail is brought into the distribution office. Our supervisors sort student mail from faculty mail. Then it is brought to us. One person, usually me, mans the computer. I am in charge of scanning the confirmation codes, entering the students’ information, and syncing the signing device. Another is in charge of labeling each package with the first three letters of the recipient’s last name. Sometimes a third helps put packages away in alphabetical order. When a student receives a notification from our system and comes to get their package, they provide their last name and package type (small, medium, large, letter, or envelope). We use that information to locate the package, they sign, and are on their way.
This does not always work. Sometimes students come down, claiming they have a package, and we can’t find it. The default question is, “Did you receive an email from us?” The default answer is, “No… but my mom said it was here/UPS said it was delivered/it should be here by now.” We send them away, reassuring them that they will know when it has arrived.
Then there are those who don’t know their package type.
“Hi, I have a package.”
“Last name and package type?”
“Ummm… I don’t know….*gets out phone and starts looking for the email*”
Outside the customer issue, there is always someone who mislabels a package or puts it in the wrong place. As someone with OCD, I like things neat and alphabetical, and regardless, packages should be arranged as such. I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve found a last name starting with “T” in the “A” section, or pulled an envelope from the letter drawer.
And we can’t forget about the technology. Rarely does the signing device sync on the first try. The computer crashes daily. The label machine freezes.
It really gives context to the phrase, “going postal.”