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Today’s Moron: The Lazy Delivery Idiot

November 17, 2008

Today’s Moron is a blast from the past.

I don’t like dealing with the post office, or couriers. I find it’s a real crap shoot: you might stand in line for half an hour to buy three stamps or post a parcel only to find it’s stand-around-and-chat time behind the counter. Or you might get one of those cheerful, happy people who makes your day. Sadly, it tends to be the former.

This has been an ongoing problem for someone whose blog I read regularly. And it made me think of a particularly stupid experience I once had.

One cold and stormy winter afternoon about five years ago, I was waiting for a package coming via Purolator. I was sitting at my desk at home and saw the truck pull up; the driver hopped out, put something in my mailbox, and drove away. I went down to check and found a little yellow slip of paper that said “You weren’t home, so you’ll have to pick up your delivery. Please pick it up by 5 p.m. at our station at XXX.”

So. First of all, I’m steaming. This guy — and I should note that in this city, Purolator subcontracted to a local delivery company, so this was not a Purolator employee — didn’t even bother knocking on my door. What a scam! He could bomb around town and get his deliveries done in just a couple of hours, then knock off to the pub or the bowling alley or whatever.

Second of all, now I had to go pick up the package, clear across town, with young kids in the house. So after school, I bundled them up, loaded up the minivan, and drove across the city in slippery, snowy weather to the Purolator depot. I hauled three young kids inside, got them settled, and went to the counter. This is one of those places where the heat is cranked up on high, which is fine when you’re working there but when you’re in line in a parka with three kids in snowsuits it starts to get hot very fast.

I waited my turn, then handed the card to the lady behind the counter. She glanced at it, turned to look at a stack of parcels on a dolly behind her, and said “You have to come back after 5.”

“This says to come by 5,” I said.

“That’s what I just said,” she told me. I thought about arguing the point, but I could see she didn’t, and wouldn’t see the difference. English is a second language in a lot of Northern Ontario cities.

I checked my watch. Quarter to five. I thought about loading the kids back in the carseats, going somewhere, coming back … not worth the time. So I unzipped their snowsuits, sat them down on a long bench, and we talked about snow and deliveries and big trucks and forklifts for a little bit. The kids got antsy and started jumping around, and the lady behind the counter looked very unhappy with the situation, but I didn’t give a shit at that point.

At exactly 5:01 I stood up and went back to the counter and handed the lady the card. She looked at it, turned, and took my package off the pile behind her, where it had apparently been sitting since the moron delivery man went off shift. She handed it to me. I signed it and turned to go.

But I had to say something. I stopped and said “You know, this is really terrible service. The delivery guy didn’t even ring my bell. He just skipped out and left me this card. And now I see my parcel’s been sitting there this whole time. I’m never using Purolator again.”

To which the lady replied: “You don’t get how busy those guys are.”

If I ever leave newspapering I think I’ll go work for them. I like the idea of a two-hour work day and built-in excuses for laziness.

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