Coming off my CVS high, I head to the post office. I need to send my mother, in New Jersey, a few eyebrow pencils.* I find a few that might work for her, throw them in a small, padded envelope, address it, and head to the post office.
I wait in line. Three of the four people in front of me are on their cell phones. One has to be called twice by the clerk before he moves. At no point does he interrupt the call.
When I am next on deck, I watch the free agent walk away from the counter. She disappears for a few minutes and comes back to find that all the customers have not magically disappeared. She goes away again. This time she reappears with a bin and strong-arms a rather sizable box into the bin. She then pushes it into the back of the visible area. She comes to the counter, looks around, and then turns and looks at the bin with the box, again. More people join the line. She decides this is a good time to take the bin with the box elsewhere. She disappears again.
Minutes pass while I note that two of the four people behind me are on, or messing with, a cell phone. I take out my cell phone.** The clerk comes back. She calls me forward.
Me: Hi. I just need postage for this.
Her, putting the extremely lightweight envelope onto the scale: Overnight, priority, two-day guaranteed, three-day guaranteed, --
Me: The cheapest is fine.
Her: Registered, express mail, receipt requested,--
Me: The cheapest.
Her: Certified, signature confirmation, insurance, ...
At this point, I figure she is like the poor McDonald's clerk that must ask "Would you like an apple pie?" regardless of the fact that the customer has just said "I hate apple pie!"***
So, I let her finish without further interruption. She goes on for so long that -- now, I couldn't swear to it -- but I may have heard something about "undercoating."
When she is done, I say, for the third time: The cheapest is fine.
Me, looking at the tiny, feather-weight package in bewilderment: To send this to New Jersey?
Me, confounded: That's the cheapest rate?
Her: You don't want the cheapest. That'll take forever! It won't get there for, maybe, seven days.
Me: That's exactly what I want. The cheapest.
Her, recalculating: $1.07.
I guess I should be glad she didn't shoot me.
* Gentlemen: An eyebrow pencil is one of the 4,327,228 things women use to get that "natural look." The "natural look" is why you tell us we look great without make-up, when, in reality, you would stab your eyes out if you ever saw us without make-up.
** I just want to fit in.
*** And what Mickey D's calls an apple pie is never an apple pie so much as an apple Hot Pocket. And that pales, literally and figuratively, in comparison to a real piece of apple pie or even a Pepperidge Farm Apple Turnover. And while we're on the subject of bogus apple pie, have you seen the infomercial where the woman puts a piece of white bread into the sandwich maker device and then puts in canned apple pie filling and hot presses it and calls it an apple pie? That is so not apple pie. Can I get a whoopwhoop?****
**** I always wanted a whoopwhoop.