Hello loyal readers -- stay tuned for a thorough update on my trip to Latin America (Colombia and Peru). I am back in the states, and have to share my experience of the past half hour. It is preposterous!
Many of you know that one of my favorite things to do is to write postcards to my friends while I travel. I use it to keep in touch- even though the space is limited, I still try to write small and cram lots in. I also use postcards as a friendly "reminder" that I also would like to hear from my friends.
I wrote the first set, about ten, in the airport in Bogota (Colombia), and mailed them once I got to Peru. Do you know that a postcard to the US from Peru costs 5.50 soles, which is about US$1.75. YIKES, thats expensive! So the last 13 cards that I wrote in Peru, I saved to mail once I returned to the US (which was today). So I borrowed Paw Paw's car (I had to go to the bank, etc. too), and after driving up and down Kildaire Farm Rd. 3 times, I finally found the post office nestled back way off the road.
When I arrived, I immediately went to the automated stamp dispenser-- seeing as thats what I needed: 13 postcard stamps. For those of you living abroad, and others who are still hungover from the new year, the US raised its postal rates effective Jan 8. Of course, the automated machine has not yet been updated, and still dispenses old $0.23 stamps, not the new $0.24 ones.
No worries, I'll just get into the 25-person line (no lie) and wait for the friendly counter clerk to dispense my stamps. Surprisingly, the line moved fast, and I only had to wait about 15 minutes. When I was called to the counter, I kindly informed the officer that I would like to purchase 13 postcard stamps. He curtly replied, "we don't have any." I asked "why not?" He says, "they have not been shipped yet." Puzzled, but not detered, I asked to buy 13 old stamps and 13 1-cent stamps. He replied, annoyed by my persistence, "we are out of those too." Out of options and upset at having wasted 20 minutes in the post office, I shot back "well you should put up signs to tell people so they do not wait." He grew colder and equally shot back "they are posted everywhere", to which I could think of nothing to say but, "oh, ok, bye then." On my way out, feeling pretty stupid for not seeing these ubitiquous signs, I glanced around, then stopped and looked around - at both sets of doors and the windows between - only to see one sign: Post Office Holiday Hours.
Ahh, the life of the USPS! Raise the rates but do not provide the proper stamps. And then humiliate your customers by posting invisible signs! Oh well, its only 30 minutes of my life, and it makes for a good story!