Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mourning in America

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Comments Anybody?

Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.

Comments Anybody??? Especially any comments that come to mind after a quick scan of this for seeds of "the collective".

Hint... Who gets to decide what    " ....shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. ???

Mr. "Dude"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Goin Postal


About 10 o’clock this morning, I went to my local post office on Broadway Street in San Antonio, Texas. I am proud to report that in conformance with everybody’s expectations there was a line and only one clerk at the front taking care of customers.

From all appearances one could surmise that he really wanted to be there, for he went about his activities with about as much energy as the word apathy implies. Indeed, there was a tenable air of “I am going to be here 8 hours regardless of how many people I help and whether I help them cheerfully or not.” (In retrospect, the term passive-aggressive also comes to mind.)

As I stood there wondering why this employee did not call anybody to the front to help with the backlog - I mean it IS a customer service business isn’t it - an older gentleman finally made his way to the clerk, and handing him a sheet of stamps, stated that he would like to trade them in for a higher denomination and pay the difference. He said that these were sold to him by mistake and that he needed the higher ones for his packages.

Seems simple enough, right?  But I was ahead of the game, for I could see that there may be a problem and that this establishment, The Post Office, unlike a Home Depot, or some other for-profit venture, was a Government Entity, and would likely not be able to handle what I would term a “difference” transaction. I figured that instead they would want to refund the money to the customer, and then have him pay full price for the new sheet of stamps. (I have seen this happen in some establishments and indeed sometimes it is a better way to do things and it actually streamlines the transaction - but that is another story.)

The postal clerk, asked the man where he got the stamps, whereupon the man replied that he had gotten them at another Post Office. At this, the clerk told the man that he would have to got back to the other station to get his refund on the stamps from them!

The older gentleman, taken aback as was I, looked that the clerk, and after a moment of processing the incredulity of it all, remarked to the clerk “ What difference does it make? They are Stamps! What difference does it make where I got them, You sold them to me by mistake, and now I want the right ones (and pay the difference).”

Can you guess what the clerk them said? He said that the mistake was made at the other post office and that they are the ones to take care of their own mistake.

Now, I am sure that everybody in line was a dumbstruck by the stupidly of that remark, and dumbstruck at the rudeness and coldness of this encounter and how it was out of line with their experiences in other commercial transactions. Buy a loaf of stale bread from the local grocery store on the south side of town, return it to the one on the opposite side of town for an exchange or a refund.

Incredulously, that clerk, however, acted as if there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he has just said., and with what was, clear as day, a broken Post Office mechanism for doing something as simple as changing out a sheet of stamps. He acted as if the man was crazy in HIS incredulity that he was being told to drive 20 miles away to get a refund on a sheet of US Government Post office stamps, and, as he stood there behind that counter as would an "official" in a tin-horn banana republic, he acted smug in his knowledge that “We are the Post Office and there is nothing you can do about it”, glowering at the poor gentleman as that poor soul walked away ,shaking his head, and probably wondering what 3d world country he was living in.

As I stood there, my mind in shock, I thought to myself “and they wonder what makes people go postal”. Indeed, thinking about it some more, I understood that THAT kind of treatment, by a system out-of -touch (where have we heard that term before), and by the clerk that was representing the system, is EXACTLY the kind of thing that makes people go postal, and on thinking THAT , I started looking to see if that previous customer would be coming back in to even things up with another kind or transaction.

I also thought, as I stood there that I was trapped like a rabbit in a hole, and there was only one exit to the place, and that it would blocked by the guy that that arrogant and dismissive clerk had just pissed off. Indeed, I was getting pretty steamed myself that the arrogance and dismissiveness of the postal clerk may end up getting me killed.

A couple things here, and those are why I am relating this story.

First, the post office mechanisms are broken in more ways than just not being able to handle the requested transaction. Indeed, the inability to handle such a thing is just a symptom, another of which is the aggressive attitude of the clerk that “ We are the Post Office, and there is nothing you can do about it, and I can be as rude as I want to you - and do so in front of others.”

Second, the incident points out an example of what happens when the Government has a monopoly on things and points out what is in store for you if this Health Care Thing comes full bore, for once the government takes over, it will become just like the Post Office.

It has to. It is - The Government.