Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


As the postmen have stopped striking and the (hellish pits of soul destruction also known as) post offices are open again, I decided to go and post a small parcel that's been sitting on the window sill waiting patiently for a few days.

Now, I've not always has great experiences with the Polish postal service, but I was determined to fight whatever came my way with a smile. 'I will not let those bastards get me down this early in the morning' I thought to myself as I pushed open the door.

Despite the post office only having been open for 11 and a half minutes, there were 18 people ahead of me in the queue. I took a deep breath and sat down, in the middle of a sea of old ladies in hats, moaning about various things... ailments, the weather and (rather bizarrely and surprisingly ecologically aware I thought) plastic bags.

I blocked out the discussions and focused on counting down the numbers. My turn arrived surprisingly quickly. 'So far, so good' I thought.

I walked purposefully up to the lady in her post office cubicle and said a cheery good morning. She was so surprised at my early morning cheeriness, she sneezed. 'Bless you' I said, and she eyed me suspiciously. Obviously my excessive kindness and enthusiam was not working in my favour so far.

I passed through the small package and told her it was priority, to England. She took it from me and placed it on the scales. '103 g' she muttered to herself as she turned to the chart with the prices.

She faced me solemnly, 'Pani has a parcel of 103 g.' I nodded encouragingly. 'If it had been less than 100g, Pani would have paid 4 zl, but as it's over, it's in the next category, up to 350g. That means Pani has to pay 10 zl.'

I took a deep breath. If this was all the post office had to throw at me today, I was going to get through relatively unscathed.

'Oh well!' I said with a big happy smile. 'Trudno! I'll just have to pay a bit more.'

She was surprised by my quick acceptance, and eyed me with a kind of wonder, presumably helped by the fact I hadn't shouted obscenities, or even asked her to pretend it was 3 g lighter than it really was.

'If Pani only pays 4 zl, they may not send it!' She said, looking at me worriedly.

'That's ok,' I repeated, 'I'll pay 10.'

'But that's 6 zl difference!' she protested, maybe thinking my maths wasn't up to scratch, 'can't Pani can take something out of the parcel, or even add something to make it closer to 350g?' I was still smiling, although my cheeks were getting rather tired of being held in the position. 'No, it's ok, I'll send it like that' I replied.

She shrugged and handed me the stamps. She'd obviously given up trying to persuade this crazed foreigner with a stuck-on grin, who seemed to have more money than sense, about how to get the most out of the Polish post office.

I don't blame her.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do love how her default assumption was that you would try to get her to classify the parcel in the lower cost bracket, even when you explictly told her you didn't mind paying more....

10:00 am  
Blogger Becca said...

They have a *special* way of thinking there - I think it must be part of the training...

10:07 am  
Blogger Gustav said...

You go girl!

12:10 pm  
Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Don't let the man (or woman in this case) get you down.

Ah, I remember the poczta polska. Not so fondly, but I do remember it. My best experience was getting bounced between three different post offices to pick up a package. In the end, the package was lost.

I sent some postcards from a post office here. They were worried that the ink would be wiped away by inclement weather, so they wrapped my postcards in clear tape. They protested when I told them it wasn't a big deal.

3:32 pm  

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